Liverpool’s main task this summer will be to put the 2020/21 campaign firmly in their rear-view mirror.
From start-to-present it has felt like setback after setback isn’t too far around the corner for Jurgen Klopp’s Reds.
The title has gone and the prospect of a top-four finish is slowly diminishing with it. Yes, Liverpool are still in the Champions League, but going the distance in Europe on our current stretch of form just doesn’t seem likely.
So, how do Liverpool close the gap on Manchester City next season?
Well, one way to do this is by making the squad deeper and stronger, and going about their transfer targets.
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Liverpool have had mixed success here before, beating City to Thiago Alcantara and Virgil van Dijk – both of whom are considered amongst the best in their position across Europe.
However, one player who has seemingly gone under the radar of Pep Guardiola who could be of benefit to Liverpool next season is Sporting Lisbon starlet Pedro Gonçalves.
The former Wolves man is considered one of Europe’s most sought after players following a breakout campaign in Primeira Liga this term.
Portuguese publication Record report that Liverpool and Manchester United have already made contact.
Liverpool could benefit from Gonçalves
Gonçalves could be a viable option for Liverpool to add more goalscoring quality to their squad next season.
The 22-year-old directly replaced Bruno Fernandes as Sporting’s creative hub, after all, in terms of goals and assists last year.
In 19 Portuguese top-flight appearances, Pote has clocked up a whopping 14 goals and two assists this term.
When you watch Liverpool’s recent home games against Chelsea, Everton, Manchester City, Brighton and Burnley, it’s clear the Reds lack another alternative route to finding the back of the net.
In fact, it’s been over 10 hours since Liverpool scored from open play at their once fortress home ground.
On the contrary, Gonçalves has clocked up 14 league goals in 19 matches this term – all from open play. Not even Mohamed Salah can match those numbers.
While Liverpool do have Diogo Jota back in the first team picture, his fellow contryman, Gonçalves, could represent another shrewd addition for the future.
At 22, he guarantees Liverpool value in terms of longevity, plus the stats indicate his numbers are only going to improve as he gets older.
Gonçalves recently broke into the Portuguese national squad, too, and could could be one of the breakout stars of Euro 2021.
Record tip Gonçalves’ asking price at £53 million, with a release clause that comes into effect this summer.
Should be a priority
Yes, Liverpool have other pressing areas of the squad that would benefit from a shape-up. But finding another alternative route to goals when the chips are down has become an immediate priority for Klopp.
If the Reds aren’t able to sign someone of Erling Haaland or Kylian Mbappe’s calibre then other options must be explored too.
Rivals such as United are targeting Gonçalves for a reason, and Liverpool should take notice.
He is a player who can change the team’s style for the better and help reduce the reliance on our current pedigreed front-three.
With Jota added to the picture, Liverpool could have five viable attacking options to take the league to Pep Guardiola and City again next season.