Liverpool are on the verge of sealing qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League. Jurgen Klopp’s side are sitting on the 3rd place in the Premier League right now, 3 points ahead of Manchester City, who occupies the 4th position in the table with a game in hand.
The Reds started the current campaign with brilliant form and were tipped as favourites to win the title in the early stages of the season. However, things went weary since the turn of the year due to series of injury to top players, knocking them out of the title race. But with Champions League football very much in view, bringing in new additions to the squad will be of paramount importance in the summer transfer window.
To that end, we look at three players from Premier League clubs without Champions League football, who can aid Liverpool in their bid to perform well on the continental stages next season.
After a somewhat impressive season last time, leading Leicester City to the Premier League title, Riyad Mahrez has dropped off a little this season, which has played a part in his side’s poor season.
Despite that, the 26-year-old has managed to seen the net to scored 9 goals and set 7 goals up from 44 appearances across all competition. 4 of these goals have come in the Champions League where the Foxes did fare quite well, making to the quarter-finals of the competition. This indicates his ability to perform on the biggest stage.
In absence of Sadio Mane and Phillippe Coutinho earlier this year, Liverpool struggled to get going forward. The lack of quality options on the right flank, apart from Mane, is something that they will need to address in the summer. With Mahrez in their squad, they have someone who will fit in perfectly in the scheme of things. He would certainly bring great quality to Anfield.
Virgil van Dijk
The Southampton defender has heavily linked with a £50million exit from the Saints to Anfield in recent times, but Chelsea have served as a tough competition to the defender’s signing. One of the main reasons for the Reds’ title being shattered this season has been due to poor defending. Jurgen Klopp hasn’t been able to field a settled centre-back pairing this season which has caused several problems for them at the back. Joel Matip has been in good form but with Dejan Lovren’s prone to injury and Ragnar Klavan’s lack of quality, the Reds have struggled and have the worst defensive record among the top six teams.
The signing of Virgil van Dijk can bring a little solution to their problem. The Dutchman has easily been one of the most consistent defenders in England in the past two seasons and has emerged as a leader on the field – this is something Jurgen Klopp’s side have lacked this season. He could make a huge difference, especially in the European ties where having a strong presence on the pitch becomes very important.
Another defender who has been a subject of massive interest from Liverpool, Burnley’s Michael Keane is one of the most sought-after centre-half by the top Premier League clubs with Manchester United also chasing their academy graduate.
Keane has excelled in the past two years at Turf Moor and has grown into one of the most promising defenders in England and recently broke into the England national set-up as well. The 24-year old was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award as well, based on his excellent displays this season.
With Liverpool’s defensive woes there for all to see, bringing in someone like Keane will go a long way in plugging the holes at the back, while also allowing Klopp the opportunity to rotate his squad with other options available.