Liverpool correspondent – and constant source of reliable information – James Pearce took part in a live Q&A this afternoon live on the Liverpool Echo blog.
James Pearce, Liverpool’s correspondent for the Liverpool ECHO, answered fans questions on transfers and other things in a live Q&A this afternoon, there was definitely some interesting things that we can take away from the session!
It’s quite clear that Liverpool need to strengthen over the summer. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.
Yes, we’ve got to the Champions League final and have finished in the top four for the second season running, but in the last few weeks of the league season, Liverpool have lacked squad depth and nearly paid dearly for it.
We need to add strength and depth to the side so it’s no surprise that Pearce answered questions on the situation.
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Everyone will be pleased to know that James has confirmed that we can expect Klopp to strengthen the spine of the team this summer.
Firstly, he talks about Liverpool’s attacking options: “He (Klopp) has already stated that he will be in the market for an attacker as he needs to replace Coutinho.”
The attacking front three have been nothing short of phenomenal this season, but we can’t expect them to play every week, they need back-ups and as it stands there isn’t really anything for us to go to when Mané and Salah need a rest. There’s no like-for-like replacement or anyone who can help break a team down, thankfully, it seems that Klopp will address that this summer and will add depth to the attacking lineup.
Then Pearce proceeded to comment on Liverpool’s midfield options by stating: “with Can expected to leave and Oxlade-Chamberlain missing the start of the season he needs more than Keita in terms of midfield arrivals.”
I must stress that this is only the reporter’s opinions, he isn’t stating that Liverpool will add more than Kieta, but if you believe everything you read, then reports over the past few months have all suggested that Liverpool will look at an attacking midfielder as well as a holding midfielder. Names such as Nabil Fekir, Jorginho, Wilfried Ndidi and Ruben Neves have all been thrown around.
Moving on to the defence, he again states his opinion when it comes to another centre-back by stating: “I’d say he still needs another centre-back”, but his quotes on the goalkeeping situation are interesting. Pearce says that he doesn’t expect Simon Mignolet to stick around and play back-up: “so recruiting another keeper will be on the agenda regardless.”
Spending money and business hours
Year after year we get told Liverpool have the largest transfer kitty the club has ever seen and that immediately causes a massive hype on who we will sign only for us to be disappointed come the end of the window.
Like James Pearce says, if you combine the total of Salah, Robertson, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keita then last summers total was around £134 million mark. If you add Van Dijk’s £75 million then we are looking at north of £200 million for the whole season.
Usually we would just take it with a pinch of salt due to the disappointment we’ve had in previous seasons, but we can take it seriously this time and Liverpool’s trusted reporter himself has said: “I’d certainly be surprised if Klopp didn’t spend big because clearly the money is there and he has acknowledged that the squad needs greater depth.”
With the World Cup coming up it’s going to be hard for Klopp to get deals done throughout June or July so you’d expect us to get things done when the transfer window opened this week. However, it is expected that Klopp won’t want “any side-shows before the Champions League final” so it’s hard to see when we are going to get the business done.
Pearce himself thinks it could be early June, but he does say that it would only be his “guess when things start to happen”, so we may just have to be very patient with deals this summer.
Karius, Alisson and Jack Butland
One name we have been consistently linked with over the course of the season is Brazilian keeper Alisson so it’s no surprise that Pearce was asked and answered a question about the whole situation.
The feeling throughout the fanbase is that Karius has improved throughout the season and Pearce also agrees that “he’s proved he’s a much better keeper than the one who badly struggled last season.”
The Liverpool correspondent admits that “Liverpool like Alisson” but like many other reporters he also says that “trying to negotiate a deal would be problematic due to the sky-high asking price.”
As it stands nobody seems to know whether the Brazilian will arrive on Merseyside this summer, but it will definitely be a deal to keep an eye on as Liverpool will have a lot of money to play with this summer.
Now Pearce did say to expect a new goalkeeper to come through the door this summer and one name thrown about is Jack Butland and the journalist was asked about this.
In fact, he wasn’t really asked about signing him, he was asked to “please kill the Jack Butland rumours.” Pearce claims “earlier in the season I was told that talk of LFC signing Butland was nonsense and I’m not aware of that position changing.”
There is no doubt that this will please many fans as Pearce is usually well informed, however, the fact he only says “I’m not aware of that position changing” may just change over the summer.
There has been a lot of hype around the possibility of signing the Frenchman this summer. Social media accounts have been buzzing at the thought of Fekir sitting behind that formidable front three of Mané, Firmino and record-breaker Mohamed Salah.
Pearce gave a mixed response when asked: “what are the chances of Fekir joining LFC this summer?”
The well-respected journalist claimed that he was “a player Liverpool have watched” but then also states: “I’m not aware of any negotiations have taken place so far. It’s certainly not the case that a deal has been agreed.”
After last summer’s whole tapping up of Vigil Van Dijk fiasco, Pearce’s answer really isn’t a surprise, even if a deal was close, he wouldn’t say anything as Liverpool won’t want another drama ridden deal like last summer.