Ex-Red Jason McAteer believes that Liverpool could challenge for the Premier League title in 2017/18 if they land two of Klopp’s main targets.
Could the 28-year wait for a Premier League title come to an end in May 2018?
That’s the view of ex-Red Jason McAteer – if Klopp gets all of his first choice targets.
Despite Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United all spending – or preparing to spend – big in the transfer market this summer, McAteer believes that the signing of Mohamed Salah, plus two more key additions could be enough to see Klopp’s men launch an all-out assault on the title.
The additions in question? Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keïta.
Both players have been linked heavily with the Reds and while Southampton are refusing to sell their Dutch defensive lynchpin and Leipzig are trying the same with the Guinean, every player eventually finds his price.
“Initially, I was thinking Liverpool should be targeting a cup, a decent run in the Champions League and a top-three finish next season,” McAteer said.
“But if Jurgen Klopp can nail down his three major transfer targets then, with the attacking options he’s got in the squad, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be pushing to win the title.
“He would have unbelievable strength if he gets his three targets because that trio would all start and then you have guys like Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Adam Lallana, Sadio Mane, Jordan Henderson and Emre Can to fit round them. Liverpool finished last season strongly with eight wins in their last 12 games so the team is moving forward. They have the basis of a tremendous side.
“I watch a lot of the Bundesliga and Keïta is a terrific player. He’s in the mould of N’Golo Kante and Claude Makelele – he’s full of energy, always breaking play up and getting his team on the front foot. If Klopp manages to get him out of Leipzig it would be fantastic and allow Can to play a more forward role which would suit him better.”
McAteer believes that Klopp’s men will learn from their brief title challenge last campaign but warns the fans against getting too carried away if we do manage to shoot out of the blocks in the same manner this season.
“Mane went to the Africa Cup of Nations, Coutinho was out, the team won only one of their nine games in January and players looked tired. They just ran out of steam and the confidence they’d built up just drained away. Once you lose momentum it’s very hard to recover, especially as Chelsea just kept winning their games.
“The January transfer window wasn’t a good one for Liverpool either and Jurgen got caught out a little bit because his squad just wasn’t strong enough. So the window this time is an important one for him and he needs to get it right if Liverpool are going to be contenders.
Finally, McAteer believes there will be one more piece of key business for the Reds to do this summer. Keeping Phliippe Coutinho in a Liverpool shirt.
“That would send a message around football that the players believe Liverpool are growing something special. Securing the Champions League was a must for Liverpool in keeping the hounds from the door for Coutinho. Liverpool needed a new superstar after losing Steven Gerrard, and Coutinho has filled that role.
“I do some ambassador work for Liverpool and everywhere I go, when you speak to fans about their favourite player, every time it’s Coutinho. So sometimes the best business you do in a summer window is keeping your star player like Everton did with Romelu Lukaku last season.”
Do you agree with McAteer? Will Liverpool challenge for the title if they manage to sign Naby Keïta and Virgil van Dijk?