Liverpool are now on their victory lap, and it’s quite an extended one given how early they sealed their first Premier League title in 30 years. There are still records to be made, games to be won, goals to be scored and yet more memories made to apply the glossiest possible finish to this already golden Premier League season.
For manager Jürgen Klopp, you can bet that he’ll already be thinking of next season, identifying areas where the Reds can strengthen to ensure that they go into next season as hot favourites in the odds on the English Premier League title winners. It’s a difficult task to find faults in a side that has been so dominant in the league this season, but Klopp has consistently pushed the mantra that there is always room for improvement.
Perhaps one area Klopp could look at is Liverpool’s midfield. It’s hard to see any clear weak point in Liverpool’s squad, but perhaps their midfield options represent an area where the Reds could improve. Liverpool’s first-choice midfield trio of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum have excelled over the last couple of seasons, but with Wijnaldum 29 years old and Henderson 30, fresh blood may be needed if Liverpool are to go from strength to strength.
Of course, there are younger midfield options in Liverpool’s squad, but the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita have struggled to impose themselves fully on Liverpool’s first team, due in large part to injuries. Adam Lallana is another player who has been a fantastic servant to the club, but with his contract expiring he looks certain to be moving on in the summer transfer window.
There have been rumours linking Liverpool with a move for Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcântara, a silky deep-lying playmaker who would improve any top side, but it remains to be seen whether Liverpool pursue a deal or not. Bayern are said to be willing to let the Spanish international leave, with a £32 million price tag seeming to represent good value for money.
Then again, Klopp has stated that there will be minimal transfer upheaval at Anfield this summer, with the club keen to conserve cash following the financial hit taken during the coronavirus pandemic. Already, Liverpool have chosen not to move for RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner, with the German international sealing a move to Chelsea instead.
With the club being tentative in the transfer window, perhaps Liverpool will need to look to their own youth system and reserves for fresh midfield talent. Marko Grujić is still thought to be liked by Klopp, and after another loan spell, this time with Hertha Berlin, perhaps next season will be the time for the Serb to step up and make his mark on the first team. Klopp will also have seen many of Liverpool’s youth squad in first-team action in the League Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa and the FA Cup replay against Shrewsbury, and this may inform his thinking as to which players may be ready to make the step up.
Of course, Liverpool’s current midfield is still a well-oiled machine, but you can be sure Klopp will be lining up which talents he would like to take on the mantle as the years go on. The German has made it clear that he doesn’t want this title to be a one-time success, but that when his time at Anfield comes to an end he wants to look back on multiple titles won. He’s made a good start towards fulfilling that ambition, but a coach of such high standards will always be looking at ways to improve.