Liverpool will definitely look back on the the 2015/16 season as a missed opportunity to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
An inspired start under Klopp saw the red half of Merseyside register emphatic victories at Stamford Bridge and the Etihad along with a crushing 6-1 victory in the League Cup against Southampton. The feel-good-factor was beginning to reverberate across the city following the extroverted displays of enthusiasm associated with the likeable German.
The Reds went into December just six points off the top having already come through their seven most difficult away fixtures. This was far from the predications of football pundits such as BetHut never considered them a chance of a top 4 finish after Brendon Rodgers departure. With no outstanding candidate at this point threatening to run away with the title, belief certainly began to grow around Anfield. However, their lack of quality and continual injury difficulties facing their main goal-getter Daniel Sturridge has deeply exposed their shortcomings.
A fully-fit Sturridge provides Klopp with an exciting array of attacking options fuelled by the creativity of Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firminho. There will be many players linked with Liverpool between now and the summer with a need for natural wingers and warriors in the centre of defence the key areas where Liverpool need to bolster their resources.
Mamadou Sakho faces a lengthy ban following the alleged anti-doping violation. This conundrum has already been targeted by Klopp with the signing of Joel Matip from Schalke – a reliable defender with European experience and an ideal recruit in Klopp’s revolution.
It should be no surprise that Klopp planned a foray into the German market following his successful spell at Borussia Dortmund and I suspect he may use his knowledge to persuade more Bundesliga stars to ply their trade at Anfield.
The prospect of enticing Mario Gotze to Anfield is also a distinct possibility. Gotze and Klopp enjoyed a fantastic relationship at the Westfalenstadion and Gotze has failed to nail down a regular spot at Bayern Munich since signing in 2013. The silky German can provide both star quality and versatility in the Liverpool midfield as well as having an instant familiarity with Klopp’s footballing philosophy.
Providing Simon Mignolet with competition for his place should also be a priority ahead of next season. According to talkSPORT, the Anfield club are lining up an approach for highly-rated German goalkeeper Timo Horn. Horn has kept eight clean sheets in 32 games for FC Koln this term and is being heralded as the next German number one.
However, convincing these stars to join this fascinating transformation may well rest on whether Anfield can bring Champions League action to its hallowed turf. A few more of those famous European nights starting tomorrow will be the catalyst needed to establish Liverpool as a major force once again.