Before I write this, I would like to point out that I am poolside in Portugal, three Estrella deep, so I’d like to use that as that as my get out of jail free card for any vague predictions that I may make in the following article about the season ahead 🙂
So now that’s in writing and out of the way here goes….
Ahead of the new season lots of fans will be making bold predictions as to what they feel should be the aims for the campaign ahead and given the fact we’ve come off the back of a successful season in which we achieved our objective of finishing inside the top four, you get the sense the summer months ahead will be huge in terms of defining what type of campaign the reds will have next season.
Let’s look objectively at where we are as a club on paper – we managed to secure a top four finish on what I believe was a shoestring bugdget given the money we had received in transfer fees. I think the club and manager made a calculated gamble on getting top four without breaking the bank, and it’s a gamble that luckily, paid off.
Football is a results business but I take great pleasure in the fact that we achieved top four status playing in a style that for many over the first half of the season, was the best football being played in the league. Injuries dictated a change in style during the latter stages of the season in which we had to learn to dig out scrappy wins which for anyone that’s followed the club over the years, is something that’s often eluded us.
We are lucky to have a top class manager at the helm who has a clear vision and expectation as to what he wants from the club and in particular his players. So with Klopp, Champions League football, a new and improved Anfield, plus, a new training complex on the way, Liverpool all of a sudden have become a very attractive option for the top talent around Europe. Which if we’re honest, we haven’t been able to say for awhile.
So on paper, we’re in a good spot. Which only makes what happens over the next few months even more important.
For us to make the next leap, of course the goal is always winning the league but more realistically, we need to establish ourselves as a regular Champions League side. We need to secure a top four place, in the next 2,3,4 seasons with the additonal push for some silverware from one of the cup competitions. For me, the objective for next season has to be minimum of 4th. I firmly believe we can get higher but that has to be the baseline.
We also have to make a big push to firstly qualify and then get out the group in Champions League. We need our name back alongside the European greats again, not to just roll over like we did last time we qualified, like an excitable competition winner who was just pleased to take part. On top of that, we exist to win trophies. We should go big on winning a trophy. We’ve come close under Klopp but close isn’t good enough for Liverpool Football Club.
So how do we do the above? It’s not that easy given the quality we have in the top 6 sides in the league, plus, the demands it takes on a squad in order to compete on multiple fronts.
If we are to establish ourselves as a top side again we require the board and the manager to show ambition off the pitch. We have a very strong base to build from but with the addition of ready made, starting quality players we can really compete on all fronts.
For me, the key areas in which we need to strengthen are at centre back, centre midfield, left back and centre forward, in that order. With the likely outgoings of Sakho, Moreno, Markovic plus, the increased TV revenues, we find ourselves in a position where we can compete financially.
That means, if the manager wants a player. Get him.
If a player will come in and make a big impact right away, get him.
We’ve been cautions for far too long in the transfer market. If we feel Van Dyk, is the player that plugs our leaky back four and can become the leader we’ve so desperately craved, pay the £70 million and move onto the next target. If the club find themselves at the end of the window having secured their top targets in Salah, Van Dyk and Keita, I would then expect us to bring in a left back of the quality of a Robertson from Hull or Creswell from West Ham. The purchase of a striker would for me depend on the sale of Daniel Sturridge but personally I would be happy going into the season with Firmino, Mane, Salah and Sturridge as out attacking options, with Origi and Solanke as back up.
The other target mentioned is Oxlaide-Chamberlain. I really like him as player. On paper he is a Klopp player. Young, aggressive, quick and versatile. I’d be happy with him coming in, as long as it’s to compliment another top signing in central midfield. I’d feel a little short changed if not.
As one of the more positive DayTrippers, I’m quietly confident that if club can manage to bring in enough quality, we have the manager to take us back to where we belong.
I hope I can look back on this article at the end of next season, with a a league challenge, top four finish and some silverware in the cabinet. We have all the tools to kick on and become a force again!
With a little bit of bravery from the board I think we can be excited about what’s ahead for Klopp and his mighty reds.
Now for another beer….