Jack Hallows looks at Jürgen Klopp’s recently “confirmed” shopping list and assesses how the players linked could improve this Liverpool side.
There’s still one game left this season but Jürgen Klopp is reportedly already getting started on his summer shopping spree with the German said to be very confident going into this weekend’s crunch clash with Middlesbrough.
While this was already out in the open courtesy of comments from Klopp himself in various press conferences, Miguel Delaney of The Independent has gone one step further by “confirming’ the Reds top five“ transfer targets this summer.
Take this with a pinch of salt, of course, as none of these names are revelations and have been linked to the Reds for weeks – if not months. However, if this is indeed the Reds’ main shopping list, let’s have a look at what they would bring to this side.
Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham) – The left-sided Trent Alexander-Arnold
Essentially he’ll be exactly what I’ve billed him as in the subheading. The 17-year old left back has been enjoying a stellar breakout season for Fulham, helping them to sixth in the Championship and scoring five league goals and assisting a further three in the process.
Standing at 178cm tall, Sessegnon has a physical presence about him that not many left-backs can claim and despite not being fully developed physically, has won 27/49 tackles in the Championship and has won a third of his aerial duels with 13/37. He’s also composed on the ball, completing 19 take ones, boasting an 83% pass accuracy and creating 13 chances for teammates.
While not of the level just yet to waltz into the Reds starting XI, he would certainly provide a superb second choice option to blood for the future and Klopp would be crazy not to bring him to Merseyside.
Andrew Robertson (Hull) – The wildcard
Onto what seems to actually be Klopp’s first-choice for a left-back solution. The 23-year-old Scotsman hasn’t been a popular link among many fans on Twitter but here’s why it’s not all bad.
At only 23 years of age, Robertson has been one of few bright sparks in a torrid campaign for Hull and despite suffering relegation, can come out of this campaign with his head held high. The left-back made 89 clearances this season, 15 blocks and 58 interceptions, registering an average of 5 defensive actions per game. The Scotsman managed to win 45% of his attempted tackles (36/80), 50% of his headed duels (10/20) and has completed an impressive 26 take ones.
Despite constantly being very busy in and around his own box, Robertson also managed to create 19 chances for teammates up the other end of the field, which is the second most by any Hull player in the league this campaign. He has registered two assists and also made the most of an opportunity against West Ham to register his one and only goal of the season.
Okay, so he’s not exactly Marcelo or Alex Sandro but at 23, there’s plenty of time for his game to still be improved and developed. Given the chance to work under a much-improved coaching staff while being surrounded by better quality players could do wonders for his game and see him evolve into a solid left back option.
He’s left-footed, he can defend, he’s decently quick, he can cross a ball and more importantly, he’s a natural left back. It’s certainly more promising than what we have at the moment!
Virgil Van Dijk (Southampton) – The wall
I’m not going to bore you with all the stats here, you all know how big a signing this would be if Klopp can pull it off.
The Dutchman has been sidelined since January with an injury but prior to that he was in imperious form for Southampton and it’s no secret that their defence just isn’t the same without him.
He’s composed on the ball, brilliant in the air, quick, strong, tall, capable of playing left or right-sided centre-back and leadership comes as naturally to him as swimming does to dolphins. I don’t really care what Liverpool have to pay to bring him to Merseyside. I simply just want them to do it.
Naby Keita (RB Leipzig) – The Bundesliga Kante
Another man on the shopping list whose price tag should be irrelevant as long as we secure his signature is Naby Keita. Standing at just 5’7, Keita isn’t exactly your bulldozing midfielder in the mould of someone like Emre Can but what he lacks in height, he makes up in well, practically everything else.
In fact, if you took N’Golo Kante, gave him license to push forward and combined him with the forward thinking ability of someone like Kevin De Bruyne, you’d end up with this guy.
Eight league goals, seven assists, 40 chances created, 42 successful tackles, 72 successful take ons, 74 interceptions, an 81% pass accuracy. The list of ridiculous statistics just goes on and on.
Add to that his ability to operate as a 6, an 8 and a 10 all with the same effectiveness and you’re looking at the closest thing to a complete midfielder available to the Reds. We’ve been crying out for another creative midfield player all season when the likes of Lallana and Coutinho have been injured or underperforming and Keita fits the bill perfectly.
Getting him to come to Liverpool won’t be easy. He’s a humble guy who evidently enjoys his football at Leipzig and the German club have made it clear they hope to retain their best players but everyone has a price. Time to pay up for this one Kloppo.
Timo Werner (RB Leipzig) – The energetic goalscorer
Along with Keita, Delaney claims that Klopp is after the signature of his team mate Timo Werner. In fairness, it’s easy to see why.
Similarly to Keita, Werner is enjoying a fantastic season and is currently Leipzig’s top goalscorer with 19 league strikes – 12 more than their next highest – and has managed to tee up an extra four for team mates.
His pace and movement have made him a nightmare for Bundesliga defenders to pick up all season and his stellar conversion rate of a goal every three shots proves his deadliness when afforded space to get shots away. It’s also encouraging to see that he’s managed 11 goals right footed, four left footed and four headed proving his ability to finish off moves in a variety of ways.
At only 21 years of age, he’s only going to get better and at a club like Liverpool whose style of play he suits perfectly it’s hard to see any negatives. His willingness to run in behind and exchange positions with a front 3/4 would see him work wonders alongside the likes of Mané, Firmino and Coutinho while also providing the Reds with an extra threat on the break.
He’s also constantly right in the danger area of the opposition box and seems to have a natural knack of picking up intelligent, goal scoring positions. All 19 of his goals have come inside the box this season while over half of the chances he’s created have been in and around the opposition area.
With Daniel Sturridge likely to move on in the summer and the Reds in desperate need of more pace and new attacking dimensions, Werner would be a superb acquisition.
Let us know down below, what you think of Jürgen Klopp’s supposed shopping list? What would you change and who are you hopeful to see in a Reds shirt next season?