One of my earliest football memories and I risk exposing how young I am, is Liverpool’s 5-1 drubbing of Newcastle in 2008. Rafa Benitez, Newcastle’s brand new manager, was still in charge of Liverpool back then. That game was the reason I started supporting Liverpool. Steven Gerrard in his prime banging in goals against a side that had Michael Owen and Damien Duff – both far from their best.
That side was full of characters that could carry the team in times of need. Xabi Alonso, Sami, Hypiia, Jamie Carragher. Pepe Reina, Javier Mascherano, Daniel Agger and of course, Steven Gerrard.
Even Liverpool’s team that had a near-miss with the Premier League in 2013/14 had game changers in Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling and of course, Steven Gerrard.
The biggest challenge for Jürgen Klopp is to bring in players that can all make a difference on their own or as a collective play teams off the park. This season there have been glimpses of that quality in games against both Manchester clubs and Chelsea. This is more due to the quality of a few players than a collective pedigree that can be compared to Benitez’ side of 2008.
Klopp has a spine of players around which he will look to build his team. These players are the ones who have instigated Liverpool’s most impressive victories like the 6-1 rout at St Mary’s stadium against Southampton.
Players like Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Emre Can are the future of Liverpool and Klopp will be looking to bring in players who can compliment them and also raise the level of quality simultaneously.
Liverpool need more leaders that will step up in times of strife. Right now, there are very few leaders in the team that have the quality that is necessary to take the club where it needs to go.
Despite not having a side with world-class players across the board, Liverpool are doing alright. Jürgen Klopp’s men sit seventh in the league with a game in hand and 7 points behind 4th placed Manchester City who just dropped two points against Norwich. Liverpool have also a strong shout of progressing to the quarter-finals of the Europa League after beating Manchester United 2-0 in the first leg at Anfield.
It is very important for Klopp to get Champions League qualification this season. It will go a long way to help convincing new signings to join. If Klopp is to attract the type of player that will help win league title and cups, playing in Europe’s elite is almost a pre-requisite.
In the days that Liverpool were signing the likes of Fernando Torres and Xabi Alonso they were able to boast the chance to play in both the Champions League and the Premier League. This holds a lot of appeal for foreign players as England’s top division is widely regarded as the best league in the world.
While it’s fairly certain that Liverpool won’t have Steven Gerrard in the team or anyone like him for many years there can still be a lot done when one is careful in the transfer market. Klopp has signed a player by the name of Marko Grujić. There have been many saying that he is Gerrard’s heir as far as box-to-box midfielders go. Even if he isn’t Liverpool already have a gem in Emre Can.
Klopp has also managed to sign Joel Matip on pre-contract agreement stipulating that he will join Liverpool in the summer when his contract expires. Both these players are above 6 foot two. Already Klopp has identified that there is a lack of height in the team.
Rumours have also circulated that Mario Götze could join Liverpool at the end of the season. His playing time at Bayern Munich has been minimal. Klopp has worked with him before during their time at Borussia Dortmund. Liverpool could certainly do with the experience of a player who has scored the winning goal in the World Cup.
My advice to Liverpool fans is to relax and have faith In Klopp and let him rebuild the team. When the German arrived on Merseyside he said that his goal was to get fans to dream and to believe again. I believe he has already done that. This season, with it’s glimpses of brilliance, show that the future under Jürgen Klopp is very bright especially with the backing of FSG in the transfer market.