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Three Liverpool players who must step-up next season

Jurgen Klopp labelled the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision to overturn Manchester City’s two-year ban from the Champions League by stating “I don’t think it was a good day for football.”

The Liverpool manager hasn’t taken the decision lightly to hold back his comments on a sensitive subject as Klopp will be fully aware of the implications that the situation can oppose the Premier League champions next season.

FSG were stunned by the decision having believed that City had broken the rules and would be punished accordingly.

Rather than the club potentially having to cope with trying to keep key personnel at the club following the loss of Champions League football, City and Guardiola are now expected to begin a major spending spree to reduce the chasm between themselves and Liverpool next season.

It isn’t ideal preparation for Liverpool when looking ahead to next season as Klopp has made it clear that the club will just not have the funds to make major signings due to the current climate and effects of the global pandemic.

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Klopp recently told The Guardian, that he is looking to find internal solutions to ensure that Liverpool are in an adequate position to defend their PL crown next season.

With this in mind, we have selected three Liverpool stars that will have to be at their best next season if the Reds are to compete with City and their exuberant spending habits.

NORWICH, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 15: Naby Keita of Liverpool celebrates their 1st goal during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool FC at Carrow Road on February 15, 2020 in Norwich, United Kingdom. (Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Naby Keita

Keita has looked a new man since Project Restart took full effect and this could be hugely beneficial with next season not too far around the corner.

The pandemic-enforced break enabled him to get fully fit after niggling muscle issues that have plagued his season and prevented him playing more than a cameo role in Liverpool’s march to title glory.

His sharpness was the talk of the dressing room after the squad resumed full training and with a sustained run in the team, there is no limit to just how good Keita can be for Liverpool.

Against Brighton and Aston Villa, the 25-year-old was outstanding consistently hounding down opposition whilst possession a devastating cutting edge in attack. It was Keita’s incisive pass which enabled Sadio Mane to break the deadlock against Villa with 20 minutes to go.

The following performance in the south coast saw Keita dominate the individual statistics. Despite making only his seventh league start of the season, he made four key passes, two tackles and an interception, won 75 per cent of his duels, had a passing accuracy of 86 per cent and gained possession on seven separate occasions.

With the player about to enter his third full season for the Reds, if Keita can stay fit and continue to reach the standards he’s set since the resumption, the English champions really will have a new dimension next season without the need to splash the cash.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 04: Divock Origi of Liverpool looks on during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC at Anfield on December 04, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images)

Divock Origi

It’s staggering that Origi’s impact on the Reds can still be questioned considering the fact that he has scored some of the club’s most iconic goals in it’s 127-year history, yet the current chasm between the Liverpool’s front-three and the rest of the attacking options has been quite stark.

Origi has started just once since the return of football and his audition against Aston Villa was far from convincing. Having lacked any real influence in the game, the 25-year-old was hooked off after the hour mark before Liverpool went on to win the match 2-0.

He is yet to score in the league since December and has started just four league matches all season.

The impact of the pandemic has meant that Liverpool had to pull the plug on any possibilities of the club hoping to pursue £54 million deal for Timo Werner, who subsequently joined Chelsea.

Liverpool felt it just wasn’t justifiable in the outlay in the current climate for a player who would not initially have commanded a place in their starting XI.

This puts more pressure and a greater need for Origi to step up if Liverpool are to compete on all fronts again next season.

Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Curtis Jones

Having recently signed a contract extension with the club, Jones has been identified by Klopp as the natural successor to Adam Lallana who is to leave the club at the end of the season.

Jones, 19, was recently handed his first PL start for the Reds at the weekend and he certainly didn’t shy away following a hugely encouraging audition against Burnley.

His swagger and eagerness to get on the ball is something that clearly delights his manager and with the club expected to avoid dipping into the transfer market, there will be little to nothing standing in the way of Jones’ development and pursuit to become a first-team regular next season.

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