In a record-breaking summer transfer window for Premier League clubs, Liverpool made a decent contribution to the enormous outlay, spending £61.9 million of a grand total of over £1 billion splashed on incoming players. While Sadio Mane has won over the travelling support instantly, given Liverpool’s first league game at Anfield this season is against Leicester City this week, the likes of Georginio Wijnaldum and Ragnar Klavan have left a lot to be desired for the remainder of the campaign.
It wouldn’t be foolish to ascertain the Merseyside club ought to have explored options elsewhere, considering the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea made significant improvements to their respective squads. This doesn’t necessarily render the incomers a waste of money and space but many pundits and fans feel their approach in the transfer window could have been a bit bolder. Whether it’s down to a financial crunch or a target profile set by Jürgen Klopp remains to be seen, but Liverpool and its enormous fanbase would have been a lot more satisfied had they purchased players exhibiting better numbers than the ones they managed to rope in.
All that said and done, here is a list of players Liverpool ought to have chased more vehemently-
1. Henrikh Mkhitaryan:
The Armenian talisman enjoyed a stellar season at Borussia Dortmund under Thomas Tuchel last year, accumulating 23 goals and 32 assists in all competitions. While the 27-year-old did not hit the same heights with Jürgen Klopp at the helm of the German club, his endearing qualities made him indispensable for them. Mkhitaryan was praised for his intelligence both on and off the ball and was crowned Bundesliga’s Player of the Year, thereby beating the likes of Robert Lewandowski and fellow teammates, Marco Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Many cited Mkhitaryan and Mane to be players occupying the same position on the pitch but given Wijnaldum’s ability to play at the tip of a midfield trio, it is certain Mkhitaryan would have been a major upgrade on the Dutchman. The flamboyant attacking midfielder now plies his trade with Manchester United and many will view him as a missed opportunity at Anfield.
2. Shkodran Mustafi:
Jürgen Klopp had plenty of defensive issues to deal with last season and following the departures of Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure, there was a growing need for the German to recruit a top centre-half to bolster his rearguard. While Joel Matip was acquired on a free transfer and Estonia captain Ragnar Klavan was brought in from Augsburg, many feel that the former Valencia and current Arsenal centre-half Shkodran Mustafi would have fit the bill for Klopp and Liverpool. At 24, Mustafi is a player that has grown from strength to strength and possesses all the required skills to play in the Premier League. The German giant reads the game well and was one of Valencia’s best players last season, having made numerous interceptions and tackles. With Klavan having made a less than impressive start to life in England, it is argued
At 24, Mustafi is a player that has grown from strength to strength and possesses all the required skills to play in the Premier League. The German giant reads the game well and was one of Valencia’s best players last season, having made numerous interceptions and tackles. With Klavan having made a less than impressive start to life in England, it is argued Mustafi would have marshalled Liverpool’s defence a whole lot better. Age is on his side too and now that he has picked Arsenal as the destination for his next challenge, some may feel Klopp could have turned to a fellow countryman to add a good blend of experience and guile to the squad.
3. Joe Hart:
Now, this may be perceived differently by the Liverpool faithful, given they had already signed Austrian goalkeeper Alex Manninger on a free transfer. Hart’s ill-fated situation at Manchester City unravelled only when the season began and in hindsight, Klopp may have opted against pursuing the English shot-stopper. The inconsistency of Simon Mignolet in goal though has been a frustrating factor for Liverpool ever since he swapped the Stadium of Light for Anfield and with that viewpoint in mind, a move for Joe Hart may have yet been sensible. The 29-year-old will spend a year on loan in Italy with Torino, although it is unlikely he will ever play for Manchester City again, following the capture of Claudio Bravo. Hart would have been a valuable purchase for Liverpool, given his Premier League pedigree and some might suggest Klopp missed a trick there.