In the wake of the Reds’ surprise 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest at the weekend, the challenges facing Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp appear to be in sharper focus than ever before.
Porous at the back and facing an injury crisis in attack (Luis Diaz and Diego Jota are now long-term absentees), Liverpool also look imbalanced in the middle of the park and continue to lack defensive cover for their more attack-minded players.
Make no mistake; the midfield remains a key area in which Liverpool need to strengthen, with several targets having been identified ahead of the January transfer window. These include:
#1. Konrad Laimer, RB Leipzig
When Ralf Rangnick was interim manager at Old Trafford last season, he identified RB Leipzig’s holding midfielder Konrad Laimer as a player who could help revamp United’s misfiring engine room.
The 25-year-old has certainly attracted the attention of Europe’s major clubs, having made more than 160 Bundesliga appearances and performed with distinction since leaving Leipzig’s feeder club Red Bull Salzburg in 2017.
Energetic and technically skilled in equal measure, Laimer also boasts the type of physicality that the Reds have lacked in recent times, especially since the departure of Georginio Wijnaldum and given the surprising lack of form of Fabinho.
Interestingly, Laimer (who has also attracted Bayern Munich recently) is out of contract in June, enabling him to negotiate with potential suitors from January onwards.
In addition to being a capable defensive midfielder, Laimer can also operate at right back when required, while he’s open to embarking on a new adventure next summer.
#2. Douglas Luiz, Aston Villa
All action Brazilian midfielder Douglas Luiz is another who would add strength and physicality to the Reds’ midfield, while 24-year-old was also the subject of three separate bids from Arsenal during the summer.
However, Villa rebuffed these approaches, instead convincing Luiz to sign a contract extension before the summer window closed.
This has done little to quell speculation about the midfielder’s future, however, especially with Villa languishing in the bottom four and having recently sacked their manager Steven Gerrard.
Both Arsenal and Liverpool could well make a move for Luiz in January, with the player likely to be available for around £50 million. He would definitely fit seamlessly into Klopp’s system and style of play, and would offer a readymade solution to the Reds’ midfield woes.
#3. Nicolo Barella, Inter Milan
For all the talk of aggressive and physical midfield players, Liverpool remain in a significant period of transition that has seen Klopp invest in more technically gifted players in the middle of the park.
This is just one of the reasons why Liverpool’s title odds have drifted since the beginning of the season, encouraging some punters to use the latest Linebet promo code and back the Reds to ultimately challenge for the EPL crown at extended prices.
If Klopp continue to pursue technically gifted midfielders, however, Inter Milan’s Nicolo Barella may be a potential target. The Reds were one of several clubs linked with the gifted star of Euro 2020 last summer, with Inter apparently needing to sell players to boost their ailing coffers.
Barella may also be available at a slightly discounted price, while the 25-year-old would definitely a new dimension to the Reds’ struggling midfield.