It may sound strange to ask the question, but is there any way that this Liverpool FC team can improve? The Reds are on course to win the Premier League title in 2020, ending a 30-year wait to be crowned as the best team in England. And they are set to do it in style.
At the time of writing, Liverpool are an astonishing 22 points clear of Manchester City having played 25 Premier League games. If they keep up their current pace, they will set a new Premier League points record, one season after they recorded the third highest Premier League points tally of all time; the same season in which they were crowned Champions of Europe.
This time round most Premier League fans were expecting another close battle between Jurgen Klopp’s side and last season’s champions Manchester City. But Liverpool have improved to a new level, catching most pundits and bookmakers off guard. In fact, many big brands like the William Hill betting markets have been affected by the team’s superior form and the Premier League, the most competitive domestic tournament in European football, has been turned into a procession.
In these circumstances, talking about an improvement from the soon-to-be-champions seems absurd. But in top flight football, no-one can afford to stand still, and Klopp’s relentless drive to produce the best possible team will ensure that Liverpool will leave no stone unturned as they aim to continue their dominance of English football, and maybe even to replicate their 1970s and 1980s legacy.
So how can this be achieved? Before any talk of strengthening or improving, there is the priority of ensuring that the big names stay at the club. Keeping their stars is a priority as there are plenty of clubs in Europe who would like to snatch the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane, not to mention rising stars such as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson.
Most of the big name players are signed up until 2023 or 2024, but that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t be persuaded by the prospect of a new challenge, even if it does limit the number of clubs who could potentially afford to buy out their contracts. They will have contract decisions to make on about the likes of Adam Lallana, Georginio Wijnaldum and Adrian, whose current deals run out this summer or in 2021, but they could conceivably be replaced by better options.
So, what might those options be? Liverpool have a good reputation for transfer dealings and the club usually does good business by signing players from relegated clubs but there are very few players out there who would add something new to the existing line-up, particularly up front.
One of those players is Kylian Mbappe. The World Cup winner, rated as the world’s most exciting attacking talent, would easily slot into the Liverpool front three, either as a replacement for Mane or Salah, and Mbappe has been public in his praise for the Liverpool way of playing. But Mbappe is unlikely to be a target unless either Mane or Salah are on the way out as none of the trio would be prepared to play second fiddle.
That’s why it is more likely that any additional recruitment will focus on adding elements that the team currently lacks. An out and out goalscoring centre forward such as Timo Werner, the Leipzig and Germany striker, would be an interesting option, either as a replacement or an alternate for Roberto Firmino. An even more intriguing signing would be the former Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho, who left Anfield early in Klopp’s tenure, and who has ended up Bayern Munich via Barcelona.
Of the three, Werner remains the most likely addition, but there is also room for strengthening the engine-room of the team, in midfield, where a dash more creativity and ball retention could help add a new dimension to the team, particularly in European competition. Talented young midfielder Kai Havertz one possibility, along with Bournemouth’s Harry Wilson and Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu are all viable targets as Klopp aims to continue his team’s evolution and domination.