It’s only April, but Liverpool’s season is perilously close to being over. They’ve not been serious contenders for the Premier League title since December, they’re out of the FA Cup, they’re not involved in the final of the EFL Cup, and now they’re out of the Champions League as well. It’s still possible for them to scrape 4th place in the Premier League and qualify for next season’s Champions League at a push, but they need other results to go their way. After the success of the past two or three seasons, this simply isn’t good enough for the Anfield team.
There has been some talk that Jurgen Klopp might be tempted to call it a day and go looking for another job. He’s been with Liverpool since 2015 and might feel that by winning the Premier League and the Champions League within his six-year tenure, he’s achieved all he can. Joachim Low will step down as Germany manager after this summer’s Euro international tournament, and Klopp is seen as a leading contender. Even if the popular coach doesn’t end up in that job, there might be a domino effect that ends with him leaving. Bayern Munich coach Hans-Dieter Flick is also in the frame for his country’s most senior managerial role. That would leave the Bayern Munich job open, and Klopp could be persuaded to take that. The man himself insists that he’s not going anywhere, but we all know what promises are worth in football.
If we take him at face value and believe that he’s staying, Klopp probably faces a reshaping and rebuilding operation this summer. From their performances this season, it’s clear that many of his title-winning players have reached their peak and now appear to be in decline. There are also imbalances and holes in the squad, as evidenced by the way the team’s once-impenetrable back line almost completely fell apart after Virgil van Dyke suffered a serious injury against Everton in October. The inadequacies exposed by that injury have made a few things clear about the players that Klopp has relied upon at the bac in the past. One is that Joe Gomez can’t lead the line himself. Joel Matip’s fitness cannot be relied upon, and Fabinho isn’t a natural defender. Neither Rhys Williams nor Nathaniel Phillips appear to be of the quality required to stay at the top level, and January signing Ozan Kabak doesn’t appear to be the answer either. More support will be needed in defence even when van Dijk returns, and that ought to be a priority for Klopp this summer.
Midfield has also been one of Liverpool’s strengths in recent years, but not in 2021. The first conclusion we should reach when we look at the club’s options there is that James Milner is not a player for the future. His versatility has kept him around for longer than most players would survive at the highest level, but at 35, he’s slowing down. Jordan Henderson has had troubling moments this season but is worth keeping around. There are questions about the long-term future of Georginio Wijnaldum, who’s yet to agree on a new contract. Injuries have derailed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s career, and it doesn’t look like he’ll get the chance to re-attach it to the rails at Anfield. Naby Keita is worth keeping around, but the biggest problem might be what to do with Thiago Alcantara. The Spaniard was Liverpool’s marquee summer signing but has looked off the pace all season.
Once Klopp is finished dealing with his misfiring midfield, he’ll reluctantly have to turn his attention to his strikers. Every club in the world was afraid of Liverpool’s forward line two years ago. That isn’t the case anymore. Mo Salah has scored 19 goals in the Premier League this season and is worth keeping if he’s motivated, but there are strong rumours he has his eyes on a summer move to Real Madrid. Behind him, there’s a changing of the guard. Diogo Jota has been a revelation since he came from Wolves, and by rights, he ought to be ahead of both Sadio Mane and Roberto Firminho in the pecking order. One or both of Mane and Firminho may be told to go and find a new club. Mane has struggled badly for form this season, and Firminho has provided us with ample reminders that while he might possess eye-catching flair and tricks, he’s not an elite-level finisher. Salah and Jota might work as a strike partnership if both stick around, but they’ll need support. Mane, Firminho, and forgotten man Divock Origi may no longer fit the bill.
The boldest way to respond to this disappointing season would be for Klopp to replace three or four “key men” and send a statement of intent by doing so. That would probably be a gamble, but as every good online slots player knows, you’ll win nothing if you don’t take any risks. Liverpool should know that better than any other club. They’re the only professional football team in the world to have their own official game at online slots websites! The irony in that is that many players who’ve played the Liverpool slot at Rose Slots IE will have won more from it than Liverpool have won this season. Perhaps that fact only serves as confirmation that it pays to gamble sometimes. We don’t advocate spending more than you can afford to lose playing online slots, but we’d happily advocate Klopp going back to the drawing board with his struggling Liverpool team and making some difficult but necessary decisions about who stays and who goes.
It was Klopp who raised expectations as high as they are. Five years ago, a couple of cup runs and a respectable Premier League finish would be enough to keep Liverpool fans satisfied. That isn’t the case anymore. Klopp has brought trophies to Anfield, and now the club’s fans have rediscovered their taste for them. If he wants to stick around – which he says he does – he has to find a way to keep the silverware flowing. If that means sacrificing a former title-winning hero or two, so be it.