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3 Issues Jurgen Klopp Must Address to Retain the League Title Next Season

It takes a gargantuan effort to win the Premier League, but it takes a lot more to retain it.

 

While Jurgen Klopp and his men are bathing in their victorious sunshine, a few tiny cracks in the team have become apparent. Will these weak areas be exposed next season, or will the problems be addressed before the new campaign kicks off?

 

The Issues.

 

No team is perfect and the team that covers their weakness best usually takes the silverware home. While Liverpool might have a perceived weakness or two, they did run way with the Premier League last season. 

 

Despite this, most football betting sites have Manchester City as favourites for the title. That seems crazy considering Pep Guardiola's men lost nine times in the league last year are creaking like a rusty barn door. 

 

Liverpool's starting eleven is as good as anything out there, so presumably it's the lack of depth in certain areas that has the bookmakers favouring City?

 

Here are some of the issues Klopp needs to address this summer to ensure his team has the best chance possible to retain the title.

 

Reduce the drop off with replacements

 

The Reds have had injuries in recent season but they have generally been in positions where there is adequate cover. The most important players have stayed injury free.

 

What would happen if Sadio Mané or - God forbid - Virgil Van Dijk were to be missing for an extended period of time? There are issues that need addressing.

 

The exit from Europe at the hands of Atletico Madrid was largely due to Alisson Becker being unavailable. With the big Brazilian between the sticks, that result would never have happened. Adrian held down the fort well earlier in the season but the more he was asked to play the more his limitations were exposed. 

 

The front three play most games but when one or more of them is missing the level of replacement is not up to the job. Take Salah or Mané out and there is no natural replacement and Klopp often tries to fit a square peg into a round hole. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain isn't a suitable replacement for Mané and Takumi Minamino is no Mo Salah. 

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Van Dijk seems pretty indestructible but both Joe Gomez and (especially) Joel Matip have been hit by injuries, while Dejan Lovren has moved on. Fabinho is an option, but is there enough depth at the position?

 

Increase midfield flair

 

It's something that has often been said about the Reds midfield. Not enough creativity, too workmanlike, inferior to Manchester City. It's unfair and lazy. Liverpool's midfield has functioned exactly how Klopp has wanted it too.

 

That might change though. Klopp has evolved the way the team plays each season and we might see another stage in the evolution this summer, perhaps involving the midfield. The links to Thiago suggest this might be the case, but even if that doesn't pan out expect to see the Reds midfield being more progressive this season.

 

Much will depend on the progress of Naby Keita, who ended the last season in exciting form following two years of inconsistency. It's fair to say that Keita is yet to show his true potential but the signs are promising at last.  

 

Faith in Youth Needs to be Rewarded

 

Liverpool aren't going to be splashing the cash this summer. For one thing, they don't have it, but even if they did Klopp has already shown that he is a manager who will only spend when it's necessary. He paid big money for Alisson, Van Dijk and Fabinho, but all three filled a glaring need in the team.

 

Klopp won't spend big on squad players, preferring instead to promote talented youngsters into the squad and looking for the next Trent Alexander-Arnold.

 

Neco Williams, Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones are all regular members of the matchday squad but this year they will be looking to take the next step to becoming semi regular starters. None will become first choice any time soon, but it's vital that they are able to come in and play at the required level when opportunities arrive.

 

The policy of promoting youth rather than spending big on players to sit on the bench is an admirable one, but it is only viable if the kids perform well enough to justify their place. 

 

The Bottom Line?

 

The Reds have every chance of retaining the title even without any further transfer activity. They won the league by a whopping 18 points from City, while third placed Manchester United were 33 points back! That's a huge gap to claw back for the chasing clubs, even if Liverpool were to take a significant step back this year for whatever reason.

 

If, however, Klopp is able to address the areas in which there are question marks, then it's difficult to see anyone being able to stop Liverpool once again.


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