Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
As Liverpool approach the final throes of what has been a catastrophic Premier League campaign and limp title defence, thoughts have already turned towards the transfer market and a possible summer recruitment drive.
While the Reds’ squad has been hampered by numerous injuries this season, a busy treatment room is only partly to blame for their remarkable regression this term, and Jurgen Klopp’s team looks as though it needs freshening up in a number of departments.
Ahead of what promises to be a busy transfer window at Anfield, we look at some of the positions and areas Jurgen Klopp and Sporting Director Michael Edwards may look to strengthen this summer:
Centre-back crisis to ease when injured stars return
Liverpool’s injury crisis at centre-half this season has been well documented, though strengthening that position further in the summer could be relatively low down on the club’s list of priorities.
Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip should be back fit and firing in time to start the 2021/22 campaign, while January signing Ben Davies and homegrown pair Rhys Williams and Nathaniel Phillips should offer ample cover – if everyone is available for selection.
The return of the aforementioned high-profile trio would also negate the need to turn Ozan Kabak’s loan move from Schalke into a permanent one, though few supporters would be clamouring for his full-time signature after his early performances in Red.
Matviyenko and Lamptey for fullback fallback
Liverpool could be keener to add more depth at fullback however, where quality competition for Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson is thin on the ground.
Left back Konstantinos Tsimikas, who was drafted in from Olympiakos last year, has only played five minutes of Premier League football this season, while Klopp has also been reluctant to deploy 19-year-old Neco Williams on the opposite flank.
Highly-rated Shakhtar Donetsk defender Mykola Matviyenko was linked with Liverpool in January, and the left-footed fullback would certainly be a step up in class from Tsimikas, while Norwich City’s Max Aarons and impressive Brighton starlet Tariq Lamptey are also rumoured to be under consideration as options to challenge Alexander-Arnold.
Neuhaus, Zakaria and Goncalves to freshen up the midfield?
With contract rebel Gini Wijnaldum expected to leave the club, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain perpetually injured, Naby Keita failing to impress and James Milner way past his peak, Liverpool’s options in midfield could do with enhancing.
There have been whispers suggesting that Klopp could even be keen to offload both Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain in the summer, and if both underperformers are cut loose, the Reds’ will almost certainly be in the market for replacements.
Marauding Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Florian Neuhaus is rumoured to be one of Liverpool’s top targets for that position. The 23-year-old box-to-box runner looks an ideal fit for Klopp’s high-energy style of play, though the Merseysiders could face stiff opposition from Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich for his signature.
Liverpool have also been linked with a move for Neuhaus’ Gladbach teammate Denis Zakaria, as well as prolific Sporting CP schemer Pedro Goncalves – who could add some much-needed goals from deep positions.
Goncalves has picked up the mantle as Sporting’s creative conduit following the departure of Bruno Fernandes, and the 22-year-old has already bagged 15 goals in 22 league appearances for the Portuguese champions elect.
Daka and Silva to add goalscoring touch
Liverpool’s attacking trident of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah have looked uncharacteristically out of sync this season, and the lack of genuine competition for the Reds’ star forwards seems to have sparked a drop off in performance levels.
Diogo Jota, acquired from Wolves in 2020, had threatened to upset the frontline’s established order before the Portuguese winger’s injury, though Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi have never really staked a claim for a starting berth in Klopp’s attack.
Another recent purchase, Takumi Minamino, was allowed to leave Anfield to join Southampton on loan, though that is expected to be the first of two feet out the door after the 26-year-old’s short, unimpressive spell on Merseyside.
Robert Firmino, who has scored just six goals this season, is the player Liverpool supporters seem keen to replace, though the club’s chances of signing PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe seem extremely slim, despite the fervent discussions on fan forums about a possible deal.
Eintracht Frankfurt hitman Andre Silva or up-and-coming Benfica hotshot Darwin Nunez could offer Liverpool an alternative at a more realistic price however, while RB Salzburg sensation Patson Daka would also be a more financially palatable option.
Daka, who has notched 18 goals in just 12 Austrian Bundesliga starts this season, claims he is a life-long Liverpool supporter, strengthening the club’s chances of pipping a lengthy list of other suitors to a deal for the 22-year-old.
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