Where should Liverpool strengthen in the transfer window?

Jurgen Klopp looks relieved!

Liverpool are currently sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League table but Manchester City are sure to run them close and challenge all the way. This is, undoubtedly, the best opportunity Liverpool have had to secure their first top flight title since 1989-90.

So the burning question is: do the Reds need to dip into the transfer market as their last roll of the dice, in order to bring the illustrious title back to Merseyside?

The short answer…

…is yes, and for reasons of necessity, rather than improvement. Trent Alexander-Arnold’s injury, and Nathan Clyne’s departure to Bournemouth has left Liverpool looking extremely light in the right back position. Liverpool remain favourites in the Premier League outrights that exist within the thousands of football markets around, but no team has ever held out to win the title without good balance on both wings. Mathematically, there is still a danger that the Reds may yet learn this the hard way, healthy though their present lead undoubtedly is.

Joe Gomez’ prior experience in the right-back role is well-documented, as is that of James Milner. Yet, with Joel Matip approaching a return to action, the differential options still exist for Jurgen Klopp. Connor Randall’s recall from a loan spell at Rochdale may also have provided a clue as to Klopp’s plans for the immediate future, but one more dive into the transfer market would certainly not go amiss

Versatility key to success?

In the week before Liverpool’s Anfield clash with Crystal Palace, Schalke’s Weston McKennie emerged as a name in the rumour mill. Not unlike Milner, McKennie is able to fill a variety of roles, but whatever experience he may lack at right-back, he more than makes up for with sheer drive and pace.

He habitually plays with the exact energetic style that Klopp consistently demands from his players, and with Liverpool’s defence currently the most settled in the league, he would have license to play with fluidity, rather than lend too much thought to his defensive duties at right-back. With a £20m price tag for such a promising talent, Liverpool could do much worse than escalate what are – for now – mere rumours.

Klopp could also do worse than to add to his options in the final third, even though Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge are back in action, and proving to be much more than mere understudies to Roberto Firmino. However, this is not necessarily the season for them to spearhead an ambitious league and European double.

On the attack

As every English football fan knows, January is a horrendous time to shop for a striker, but Liverpool are just thirteen Premier League wins away from commanding the unconditional respect of the football world. Klopp’s dream is effortless to sell, and in that regard, Leipzig’s £36m-rated Timo Werner certainly seems like a fair shout. German kinship could give Klopp a potential competitive edge in any ‘race’ that may emerge over the coming days.

For the time being, Klopp is likeliest to simply plan for the future, and sign shrewdly rather than reactively. As is traditional for January, new links to ‘hot prospects’ are emerging every day, and as usual, they range from the logical to the idiotic. Yet, with Liverpool apparently competing with Tottenham and AC Milan for the services of Arnaut Groeneveld, current links to the Brugge youngster seem to hold weight.

Rated at up to £10m by some publications, the winger has recently defied his tender years with a series of decent performances in the Champions League. Finding himself in a team sharing a group with Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, Groeneveld did not look out of place, but he still remains under the radar, meaning whichever club takes the initiative sooner – rather than later – will almost certainly get the best deal for him.