How do you improve on perfection?
This will be the dilemma facing Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp in the summer.
The Reds are currently the best team in Europe. They will win the Premier League title and it wouldn’t be a shock if they retain the Champions League.
It’s often said that it’s vitally important for teams to strengthen when they’re on top – but bringing in players to improve Liverpool’s starting XI will be extremely tough.
The Independent’s Melissa Reddy is one of the most well-connected journalists when it comes to Liverpool and she’s published a detailed article about the club’s summer transfer plans.
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So, what are the main points?
Well, for starters, the most powerful people at the club – Jurgen Klopp, sporting director Michael Edwards and Fenway Sports Group president Mike Gordon – are all acutely aware that it’s essential to stick by the principles that got the club to this point.
They will not make any decisions that jeopardise what’s been built over the past couple of seasons.
Reddy reveals that the Premier League leaders do have an interest in several high-profile players.
Kylian Mbappe, Jadon Sancho and Kai Havertz are all players that Liverpool like – although, for various reasons, none of them are expected to end up at Anfield this summer.
Despite the fact that Liverpool have plenty of money to spend on reinforcements, they will not pay over the odds for any player.
For example, Havertz is valued at upwards of £80 million by Bayer Leverkusen, which is nearly double what Liverpool believe the Germany international is worth.
So while they like the player, the deal won’t be happening because of the price.
Mbappe and Sancho have even bigger price tags on their head. And the only way Liverpool would consider splashing out a record fee for one of these players is if one of their world-class front three decides to quit Anfield.
Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino are all expected to still be Liverpool players at the start of next season.
The report also adds that Liverpool are also ‘big admirers’ of Tottenham’s Heung-min Son and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, although Klopp and his colleagues know they have no chance of signing either forward.
So, it looks like we can rule out a Blockbuster signing for the Reds this summer, which might disappoint some fans.
But why rock the boat by bringing in a big-money signing who may not even play every week?
Liverpool’s priority this summer is to hand new long-term contracts to both Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker. The two players are understood to be keen to extend their current deals.
There are no plans to bring in a new left-back or right-back as cover for Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, respectively.
James Milner and Joe Gomez can play as full-backs, while the club has faith in youngsters Yasser Larouci and Neco Williams to provide further back-up.
As for outgoings, Liverpool only expect to lose Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne as things stand.
Although if they do find themselves in a situation where a big player suddenly decides he wants to leave – as was the case with Philippe Coutinho two years ago – then they have the financial power to bring in a top-level replacement thanks to their ‘no-wastage policy’.
But Reddy adds that the Merseyside outfit are succession planning – looking at players with ‘high ceilings that are eager to develop further’ – and are keen to avoid a rebuilding phase at the club.
Klopp and his staff will also make decisions on the club’s young players over the next two months, including Curtis Jones, Harry Wilson and Rhian Brewster.
But underpinning everything is the determination to stick to the principles that put Liverpool back on top of English and European football.
And that, surely, can only be a positive thing for the club’s fans to hear – even if it means that #Mbappe2020 is almost certainly out of the question.