Jurgen Klopp needs to make bold, fast decisions this summer to avoid more stagnation or worse, the club going backwards like it did in 2022/23.
From competing for the quadruple the season previous, Liverpool ended up dropping meekly out of all cup competitions and finishing fifth in the Premier League, enduring one particular spell where it was probable the Reds were the worst team in the top flight for a month or so.
Why did it happen? The reasons are tenfold. Physically exhausted from playing every single possible game in 2021/22. Multiple injuries to important first-teamers. The mental anguish of missing out on the two biggest trophies the term previous and the one that’s probably most hard to determine, that the same players who’d fought and won everything for Klopp had just gone a bit stale under his instruction.
They didn’t press like they once did. They didn’t care as much about the defensive side of the game. There was very often no fight in them.
The conclusion that they’d all been flogged on too many an occasion was matched with an accusation that the manager himself had been too loyal to stalwarts who were past their best.
Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Fabinho were still regularly starting matches in midfield after no business was done in this area in the summer of 2022. A bizarre decision that Klopp defended at the time – but the evidence loudly suggests he got that one wrong.
Many fans want him to be ruthless this summer to avoid players being here for too long. It’s crazy that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita both saw out their contracts – for example – having both been surplus to requirements for some time.
So why the sense of anger and frustration that Liverpool want to offload Fabio Carvalho, either on-loan or permanently?
Yes, the Portuguese is young, talented and didn’t get many minutes in 2022/23, but do we not think Klopp is the best person to judge whether the former Championship star has a future with us?
He’s lightweight. Technically skilled, yes, but without exceptional pace and no power whatsoever. Carvalho reminds me a little of players we’ve had in the past like Suso or Dani Pacheco. Skilful technicians without that little bit of extra bite and physical attributes to become one of the world’s best attackers – which is required to play as an offensive player for Liverpool.
Carvalho could still become a very good footballer. Someone like… Luis Alberto. He left Liverpool and did great things for Lazio. But would he have got near our side under Klopp during its pomp? Absolutely not.
It’s a cold, sharp, quick decision from Klopp to put Carvalho up for sale and I like it. What’s the point in keeping him here for a few more seasons when there are multiple better options on the left? Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez will all start ahead of him. His value and prospects would simply decrease. Cashing in now on a player who cost us peanuts anyway is smart. Good luck to Carvalho wherever he ends up, and if Liverpool really are petrified of what he could be become down the road, insert a buy-back clause. Easy.
Who’s coming to Anfield instead?
While Carvalho is lightweight, the midfielders we’ve been linked to recently are anything but.
Kephren Thuram from Nice is 21-years-old, 6ft. 4′ and according to French outlet RMC, could be bought for less than €40m. He’s a real powerhouse who can surge past people in midfield, break up play and play passes to forward runners.
It’s a really exciting link and shows Klopp wants to fill his squad and especially his midfield with the legs, energy and youth it’s lacked.
Manu Kone from Borussia Monchengladbach is also a big target, as EOTK found out via a knowledgable German reporter. The Frenchman is actually great friends with Thuram and similarly provides energy, defensive nous and most importantly physicality.
Carvalho never provided this and in the Premier League nowadays, that costs you. Buying fit, strong, hungry players is exactly what we need.
Alexis Mac Allister is all but done, too. Fabrizio Romano says the deal will be less than £70m and that it could be wrapped up as early as next week.
The Argentine has technical ability in spades and while not famed for his pace and power, has Gini Wijnaldum-like qualities in that he is extremely difficult to get off the ball and is comfortable in tight spaces.
If we secure these three, we need a new right-back to allow Trent a full-time move into midfield and a new centre-back with Joel Matip and Joe Gomez no longer up to scratch.