Where Will Klopp Look to Fix First

By Jürgen_Klopp_Saisonstart_01.jpg:Christopher Neundorf derivative work: César [Attribution], from Wikimedia Commons
By Jürgen_Klopp_Saisonstart_01.jpg:Christopher Neundorf derivative work: César [Attribution], from Wikimedia Commons /

In the aftermath of Liverpool’s 2-0 loss away to Newcastle on Sunday afternoon Liverpool fans were rightly in a state of shock. While the Reds have not won away at Tyneside for several years they went into the match supremely confident.

What elapsed however was the most tepid performance their team put in for quite some time – and that includes the darkest days of the Brendan Rodgers. As is the most natural port of call for football fans in the midst of defeat, thoughts soon veered toward the upcoming transfer window, and how and where it could be used to aid the Red’s ills..

The defeat for Liverpool was particularly significant for Liverpool: their players, management staff, and indeed fans, would have been allowed to think big following their past three matches.

Liverpool had hit Man City for four at their own patch, battled past Swansea in the type of game they’d likely have failed to score under Brendan Rodgers, and trashed Southampton in the Capital One Cup last weekend with a weakened side.

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Ask a Liverpool fans then what was needed to improve the squad and they’d likely to struggle for a definitive position, ask them now and you’ll receive a myriad of answers. The fact of it is this: Liverpool still have a fine squad, and need an injection of quality in a few areas rather than quantity.

However, having misplaced 124 passes on Sunday – a five year low for the Reds – midfield is surely the first port of call for Jurgen Klopp’s men. Lucas Leiva had been the picture of a man revived in recent weeks, but was truly abysmal against the Geordies.

James Milner meanwhile remains a player without any fixed role. His job description seems to be the most disciplined utility player ever. Putting out fires everywhere while contributing very little offensively, the former Man City man is yet to impress on Merseyside.

Jordan Henderson, Liverpool’s captain, is yet to start a match under Jurgen Klopp as he continues to rebuild fitness. Emre Can has arguably been the best Liverpool midfield this season, certainly under the new manager. Another player of note in the middle is Jordan Rossiter. A Merseyside native, Rossiter is yet to play under Klopp, having suffered a hamstring injury a month ago.

The pull of Klopp remains high in Germany, with Liverpool fans hoping that could play a part this January, with eyes fixated on Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan. Gundogan has been a mainstay for the high-flying Dortmund this season, but has only registered one assist in the Bundesliga and is yet to score.

Perhaps the understated nature of his season could allow the Reds to nab the 25 year-old, and add some much-needed guile into the Reds’ central-midfield. The other touted player the Reds may look to this January is Nevin Subotic. Subotic, who left Mainz for Dortmund when Klopp made the switch himself, is an obvious move.

Speaking recently to Bild Gundogan would not be drawn over a reunion with former boss Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, except to say : “They have a good team, a great coach.”

"The German manager has stated that there is no agreement in place that would prevent him from raiding his former club for the players that he took to two Bundesliga titles and the Champions League final."

Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel has played in red for eight seasons, and remains as inconsistent as ever. Subotic meanwhile has had to battle for his place with Sokratis latterly, which again could open up some opportunity for Liverpool to pounce this January.

BVB sporting director Michael Zorc acknowledged last week that Subotic was unhappy with his lack of match action under new coach Thomas Tuchel, and the Serb told reporters after this weekend’s game that he had little reason to believe his prospects have improved.

“It’s not like one match catapults you from the bottom to the top,” he told reporters.

“I’d like that, but the reality looks different.

“I would love to play, and I fight all the time. I can’t do anything more.” – Neven Subotic

The Reds remain light in full-back, but the recent cameos of youngsters Brad Smith and Connor Randall mean Klopp may hold tight there until the summer. With a barrage of number 10’s and attackers it isn’t clear whether they’ll look to improve upon their forward line, despite it yet to really click on a consistent level there.

Above all it seems inevitable the Reds will dip their toe in the market for first January since they bought Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll. They will, of course, hope it works out in the same manner as the former rather than the latter..