By Cameron Hogwood
Overcoming the memories of last week’s Europa League final defeat promises to be a challenge for all affiliated with Liverpool Football Club but the focus must now be on moving forwards.
The upcoming months will be a true reflection of just how ruthless Jurgen Klopp can be as he decides who stays and who goes.
The form that earned Liverpool their second cup final of the season is somewhat an obstacle when it comes to the club trying to justify the sale of certain players.
Typically, most have stepped up their game since defeat in the Capital One Cup final in a manner that has evoked optimism surrounding this once highly questionable squad.
Bringing in winners is a priority. The inability for any one or two individuals to take responsibility and try and change the game in Basel is why Liverpool fell short.
God forbid Liverpool take inspiration from a Manchester United player but Wayne Rooney’s performance in the FA Cup final was an example of what the reds lack.
At times he did things alone and controlled or at least tried to control the game on his own. A big player rising to the big stage.
Where were the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Emre Can, Roberto Firmino and even James Milner during Liverpool’s Europa League final collapse? Klopp’s very best were nowhere to be seen.
A mixture of young talent and winners is what Klopp must bring to the squad.
For Liverpool to continue moving forward, Daniel Sturridge has to be at the club. He has gone some way towards proving his fitness and there is no reason to sell arguably England’s most technically gifted striker.
Fighting off interest in Coutinho is also a must. The introduction of another big name player for him to work with will help him not only develop his game but also his character. Helping him become a winner will take him to the next level.
Will Mario Gotze join? The prospect of the move happening has faltered in the past week but with Klopp at the summit there is of course still a chance. If not Gotze, then someone of his stature.
The manager has to bring in a winner.
Klopp finally finds himself at a stage where can begin to put his own mark on personnel and it is important he refrains from holding back when it comes to directing the passengers of the squad to the exit door.
It is no surprise Alberto Moreno’s name continues to pop up when it comes to discussing outgoings.
The Spaniard endured a torrid game against his former employers Seville. His mentality going into such a big occasion against his old club seems to have bypassed most, though.
Little can be said to excuse his very characteristic errors that night but it is worth considering just how distracted he might have been heading into the game.
Moreno’s future at Anfield looks bleak if Klopp manages to lure a top left back to the club.
Using him as an option from the bench remains a possibility but it will take an awful lot for him to regain trust from the fans and it is pointless for a player of his young age to lose even more confidence and experience by watching on from the side-lines.
Martin Skrtel’s time at Liverpool looks to be well and truly over.
He needs a new challenge and the club must see his departure through in order to make room for new arrivals and the beginning of serious competition for a place at the heart of the defence.
The arrival of a new goalkeeper so early on in this transfer window is music to the ears of fans.
Mainz shot stopper Loris Karius will join the club in a £4.7m move that will immediately pose questions over the future of Simon Mignolet.
The former Sunderland man has been unconvincing all season, including during Liverpool’s strongest period of the campaign. A team will win nothing without a world class keeper.
He may not be sold this summer but it is time for Klopp to experiment with Karius as number one straight away.
Fellow Belgian Christian Benteke is verging on being a certainty to leave the club.
If Klopp feels the striker is unable to fit his plans and is better off elsewhere as a result, then so be it. It is these kind of decisions that will help Liverpool progress with zero uncertainty.
Danny Ings’ return from injury has increased the incline of the former Villa man’s uphill battle on Merseyside. There has just not been enough to suggest he will ever be a success there.
Klopp also has a big task on his hands when it comes to deciding how to handle several academy prospects and less experienced members of the first team squad.
Jordan Ibe and Sheyi Ojo, in particular, will have to impress in pre-season in order to stand a chance of breaking back into the first team line up.
The pair have a lot to offer and are under the best manager to unlock their potential.
Patience will be key but both should certainly remain at the club.
The focus on strengthening the left back position puts Brad Smith’s place into doubt. Both he and midfielder Kevin Stewart would benefit from going out on loan for another season, preferably to Premier League clubs.
Klopp has to shape a squad that fans do not have to question. Entering the next campaign with a balanced and reliable set of players that he is confident with is key. No more passengers.
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