Defeat to Southampton reveals extent of Liverpool's need for defensive reinforcements

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If there is one game Jurgen Klopp will have learned the size of task ahead of him at Liverpool this summer, it was during Sunday's 3-2 defeat to Southampton.

The German has endured a steady start to life at Anfield, losing the Capital One Cup final to Manchester City on penalties before being drawn against former club Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League quarter-finals following victory over Manchester United.

But while he will have already identified changes and improvements he must make this summer, the 48-year-old will have learned a lot in defeat to the Saints.


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Daniel Sturridge once again showcased his importance to the Reds and despite various injury setbacks this campaign, he has been invaluable and Klopp must ensure he stays put.

Rumours suggest the former Chelsea man could leave this summer following criticism for his injuries, but the England striker insists he is happy on Merseyside.

He was lively against Southampton and were it not for a lack of game time this season, Sturridge might have done better with one or two other chances during the 90 minutes. He's proved more valuable than his £32.5 million teammate, Christian Benteke, too.

The Belgian is another who Klopp will have consider what to do with this summer. Ironically, the German wanted Benteke at the Westfalenstadion during his time with Dortmund, but is now deciding whether to offload the big-money flop at the end of the season.

While Sturridge's fitness is something for Klopp to mull over, helping the Belgium international striker find form is just as important or else risk having to sell him at the end of the season.

There were glimpses on Sunday of why Liverpool paid so much for him, but the simple fact is the goals aren't flowing like they once were at former club Aston Villa.

Elsewhere, striker Divock Origi is a raw talent and whilst he hasn't yet lived up to his £10 million price tag, everyone at Anfield knows what the 20-year-old is capable of on his day.


The capture of Philippe Coutinho in 2013 is arguably, along with Sturridge, Liverpool's best piece of business in recent memory and it's vital Klopp ensures he stays on Merseyside for the foreseeable future.

His skill, pace, goalscoring and free-kicks offer the Reds all they need going forward and Klopp needs to keep him from the grasp of Barcelona - or any other big Champions League side - this summer.

However, while Klopp has a job on his hands to keep hold of his best talents, he will also be considering the futures of players too, especially in defence.

Simon Mignolet, who made a great save to deny Sadio Mane from the penalty spot on Sunday, undid his good work with a costly blunder, his hoof falling kindly for the Senegal international to net the Saints' winner.


It's difficult to understand how Mignolet has earned a new five-year deal given his many costly mistakes this season, and whilst he plays well from time to time, his departure would arguably benefit the club.

Meanwhile, Sakho's poor performance at Southampton highlighted the vast changes Klopp must make to his back line. The Frenchman has been the best of a bad bunch alongside Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren and Klopp must, therefore, identify summer targets to improve Liverpool's defence if they're to challenge for the Premier League title.

Perhaps most importantly this summer, the eccentric 48-year-old must continue focusing on implementing his high-pressing, high-intensity football that proved so successful at Dortmund.

Liverpool have dropped 15 points from winning positions this campaign and the reason for that was highlighted against Southampton: the Reds were magnificent in the first-half but fell short in the second, their high-pressing football eventually catching up with their fitness.

Defeat to the Saints would have well and truly taught Klopp about the good and bad aspects of his Liverpool side, and while the result was not the one they needed to provoke a late surge for a Champions League place, he can now start putting together his plans for the Reds this summer.

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