Football

New goalkeeper, left-back and winger needed at Liverpool this January

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With the January transfer window looming, Jurgen Klopp will likely have an idea of what areas of his Liverpool squad he wants to bulk up.

The German has inherited a team primarily built by Brendan Rodgers and, although it would be wrong to completely destroy the Northern Irishman’s work, Klopp will want to bring in some of his own players who he is familiar with.

Each and every place in Liverpool’s starting XI is still up for grabs given the ex-Borussia Dortmund manager is yet to discover his best team.

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With that in mind, here’s three positions that could be made stronger in the New Year.

GOALKEEPER

Since moving to the Reds from Sunderland, Simon Mignolet is yet to show his true colours.

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The Belgian has performed admirably in some games under Klopp - his heroics away against Tottenham Hotspur rescued his side a valuable point - and has made some top-class saves in other fixtures.

However, Mignolet has proved unconvincing when he comes off his line. He looks nervous collecting crosses and can often cause confusion with his back four due to the distinct lack of communication.

If silly mistakes are to be cut out in defence, it helps to have a strong goalkeeper who is decisive and ready to commit himself within a split second.

And as it happens, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen has been rumoured to be on Klopp's shopping list.

The Germany international has struggled to secure a regular spot at Barcelona since moving from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2014, often playing second fiddle to Claudio Bravo, who started every match but one in the league last season and is first choice once again this term.

Although Ter Stegen still has the whole of his career ahead of him, the temptation of regular first-team football may be enough to lure him away from the Camp Nou, as well as the chance to play under his compatriot.

Despite being just 23-years-old, Ter Stegen is a mature shot-stopper who oozes confidence. One of his key attributes is coming off the line and always commits himself to making decisions.

LEFT-BACK

It’s been a while since Liverpool had a regular, reliable player on the left-hand side of defence.

From John Arne Riise to Jose Enrique, left-back has often been the Reds’ weak point and teams of past and present have taken full advantage of the opportunity and attacked down that flank.

Alberto Moreno is currently Klopp’s number one in the role and still has plenty to prove following his £12 million move from Sevilla last summer.

When he first moved to Anfield, Moreno was rivalling Jordi Alba for a place in the Spanish team and Kopites finally believed they had found a suitable recruit, especially following his superb solo goal against Tottenham in his second game.

However, Moreno has displayed defensive frailties of late. Going forward, he is a joy to watch at times, but he gets caught out far too often when the opposition are on the attack.

He allows attackers too much room on the ball, with evidence of this Romelu Lukaku's goal in the Merseyside derby from Gerard Deulofeu's cross. The Spaniard was caught ball watching and didn't react quick enough.

Klopp will want to tighten up his rear-guard and cut out soft goals, and a new face may be his answer.

It will be tough to attract a top-class left-back, but Inter Milan’s Yuto Nagatomo could well be the man Liverpool require.


Although he is 29, he has at least another three seasons left playing at the top level and would add much-needed solidarity to the Reds’ defence.

He’s been arguably one of the most underrated footballers in Europe for the past five seasons and never received the credit he deserves. The Japan international is renowned for his relentless engine and gives his all from the first to the final minute.

Nagatomo’s qualities would certainly allow him to settle quickly and adapt to Klopp’s 'gegenpressing' with minimal fuss.

Since Roberto Mancini took the reins for a second stint at Inter, Nagatomo hasn’t had the playing time he did previously under Walter Mazzarri and will likely be desperate to get regular action again.

His contract ends in June 2016 and Liverpool could snap Nagatomo up for a cut price.

WINGER

What Liverpool are alarmingly short of this term is width - and Klopp will certainly want to change that.

There is just one natural wide man available in Jordon Ibe and, to get the best out of Christian Benteke, utilising the flanks needs to be much more prominent.

With Lazar Markovic unable to be recalled early from his season-long loan spell at Fenerbahce, Klopp may be forced to bring in a fresh wide-man.

It may be difficult for the German to negotiate a deal with a winger of the highest order in January given Liverpool’s position in the league, but given the lack of depth at Anfield, whoever comes in will be in a good position to stake a claim for a regular starting place.

The likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United have been linked with Sofiane Feghouli, who is out of contract at Valencia at the end of the season.

Competition for places is stiff at the three aforementioned teams, whereas a place at the Reds is there for the taking.

If Feghoulhi wants to play football, as opposed to moving somewhere primarily for money, he would certainly have the perfect opportunity at Anfield.

He’s blessed with raw pace and can score goals - which Liverpool desperately need - having netted six times for Valencia last term.

It’s still unclear whether Klopp will be given a decent war chest in January, but with Feghouli’s contract running out very soon, Valencia may be forced to cash in on the winger and Liverpool could get him at a decent price.

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Topics:
Premier League
Liverpool
Football

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