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Jurgen Klopp's recruitment policy not as good as some think

Thursday 28th September 2017
After four complete transfer windows under Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool FC have more creativity but less solidity than under Brendan Rodgers.

For all the time Jurgen Klopp has had to retool his team, this Liverpool side is 3 players away from challenging for the title. They need a solid goalkeeper, a strong centre back, and a more resilient striker. Not to mention, that whatever Guillem Balague may write, Kopites are still fretting over the possibility Barcelona may force them to find another number ten.

Since taking over, Jurgen Klopp has brought in 11 players and spent over £150 million. Despite it being early days for his four newest recruits, only three in total look like hits. The rest are either questionable or for the future. With regards to the holes in his squad, here is where the German has failed.

Between the sticks

The answer to improving on Simone Mignolet wasn't to buy a questionable young keeper like Loris Karius. The Austrian performs like a younger, less experienced version of Mignolet. At best, he is average, neither the greatest ball players nor shot-stoppers and is only saved by the Reds' potent attack at the opposite end. Klopp needs to revisit the issue.

In their own box

Believe it or not, Mamadou Sakho was bought from Paris Saint-Germain in an attempt to revive his career. He was a regular in his first season and a top centre back on his day. Although he wasn't consistent at Liverpool, it was clear to see he was the club's best centre-half. Despite his awkward gait, he won balls and could pick out a killer pass.

PED suspension or not--remember, in the end, he was cleared--his sale was mind-boggling. Especially considering the Reds' remaining central defenders were Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan. It isn't exactly Queen without Freddie Mercury but it's close.
Among the Premier League top 6, the Reds certainly have the weakest back line, even counting Arsenal. Leicester demonstrated this past weekend that any forwards who get into a 2-on-2 against 'Pool's centre backs will find chances. With the opportunities Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki had, the Foxes could really have won that game in the end.

No support for the stuttering Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge hit 21 in 29 during Liverpool's last title push under Brendan Rodgers. However, the Manchester-born striker has been unable to kick on from there, mainly due to injury. His recent record of 16 in 48 doesn't look nearly as good.

Among the Northern Irishman's last purchases was Danny Ings. The former Burnley forward has made only 12 appearances in 3 years for the Reds and has a worse injury record than Sturridge. Quite a trick, but not the one fans wanted to see.

It was an eyebrow raiser when Rodgers signed Ings in the summer of 2015. The Winchester-born striker only hit 11 goals in the previous year. Since then, however, he's been so invisible, it's often forgotten he's still a Liverpool player. His signing can't be laid at Klopp's feet but the ensuing failure to correct the problem certainly can.
Six strikers and £70 million later, Liverpool are no closer to filling the gap left by Luis Suarez. In the meantime, the Uruguayan has gone on to win a Pichichi, outscoring Messi and Ronaldo, La Liga, Copa del Rey, and Champions League titles. Meanwhile, Liverpool have been skint when it comes to silverware.

What must Klopp do?

His first step should be to buy a proper goalkeeper, namely Jack Butland. The 24-year old English stopper should cost in the region of £20 million, but, thanks to Mamadou Sakho's old club, could exceed £35 million next summer. It might be an idea to add one of his current keepers to sweeten the deal.

A centre back is a must, although not necessarily the obvious choice: Virgil Van Dijk. Another option is Bayer Leverkusen's Jonathan Tah. The Hamburg native, whose mother is Ivorian, is tall, quick, and reads the game exceedingly well. He's already capped by Germany and, at 21, is bound to improve. If done behind the scenes as opposed to during a transfer window, he could cost less than his €22 million transfer value.

Klopp has gotten things right in the middle. Nothing need be done there. Liverpool's central midfield is positively stacked, featuring Jordan Henderson, Emre Can, and Georginio Wijnaldum. In addition, they have James Milner, deadline-day purchase Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Naby Keita, who's due to join next summer. Keita is among Europe's hottest properties. The Guinean looks a snip at £48 million. Based on initial impressions, it's very possible the three Englishmen could be warming the bench next season. For attacking mids, only the two Manchester clubs boast more creative potential than the quartet of Phillipe Coutinho. Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane.
Considering most top or up-and-coming strikers are settled at their clubs, it's a difficult challenge for Klopp to land a world class number nine. There is Edinson Cavani. The Uruguayan's little spat with Neymar could still blow up, although Unai Emery has stated otherwise. An ironic opportunity could be knocking for another top striker from Uruguay to lead the Anfield line. Save last season and his first, the Uruguayan has had to play second fiddle in the Parc des Princes. With Kylian Mbappe's arrival, he's been moved to third fiddle, rather than being given the opportunity to build on last season's success. Maybe it's time for him to jump ship? And if he does, will Klopp be there to throw him a lifeline?
Tyrone Chambers

I know most people either love them or hate them but I a massive fan of Manchester United. I'm not afraid to speak the truth. Writing it as it is, bold enough to say it in the way no manager or player could say in public. I write about all things football but I love music as well, both listening and playing, keen drummer.

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