Jurgen Klopp is expected to overhaul his midfield in the summer, but Tuesday night’s match against Real Madrid highlighted that Liverpool could also need defensive reinforcements.
Liverpool’s disastrous season slumped to a new low on Tuesday night as their Champions League hopes were all but extinguished by Real Madrid.
The reigning European champions emphatically dispatched Jurgen Klopp’s side at Anfield, with the Reds now needing to overturn a 5-2 deficit in next month’s return leg to advance to the quarter-finals of the competition.
Liverpool’s defence came in for some scathing criticism from Jamie Carragher after the match, with the Reds icon lambasting the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez. Much has been made of Liverpool’s need to overhaul their midfield in the summer – but Carragher is adamant that they need to sign defenders, too.
After criticising Liverpool’s performance against Real Madrid, Carragher assessed the campaign as a whole after analysing Tuesday night’s match for CBS Sport. He said: “It’s not acceptable what we’re watching this season. We keep looking for reasons and excuses, but no, it’s nowhere near good enough defensively right now.
“What makes me laugh, and I’m not that horrible, Virgil van Dijk said I wouldn’t get in that back four about two months ago. I think I’d take his place at the moment.
“Some of the players there… I mean, Joe Gomez tonight – listen we’ve all had bad nights as players – and maybe I shouldn’t kick someone when they’re down because I’m sure he’ll feel terrible right now. But we keep talking about midfield players who Liverpool need and I think that’s right, but I think Liverpool need defenders as well because when they get exposed they can’t defend.”
Tuesday night’s heavy loss comes just days after Fenway Sports Group chief John Henry ruled out a full sale of the club. The American group, who purchased the club back in 2013, had released a statement earlier in the season outlining their aims to attract fresh investment, however, they did also appear to be open to selling up.
Many fans had hoped that a takeover would provide Klopp with the funds to overhaul his squad in the summer. But the latest update from FSG has now sparked fears that the Reds will not be as active in the summer transfer window as some had thought.
After rebuilding their front line over the past two transfer windows, Liverpool’s focus is believed to be primarily on revamping their midfield – particularly as they were so strong defensively last term. Midfield reinforcements are unlikely to be cheap – especially players of the calibre of Jude Bellingham, who is believed to be one of the Reds’ top summer transfer targets.
It remains to be seen if FSG, even with new investors, would have the necessary financial clout to strengthen elsewhere too – and that could pose a real problem.