While the season may have ended in disappointment for Liverpool, there’s no denying it was a successful campaign for the Reds.
They’ve closed a 25 gap from Manchester City and reached a Champions League final as well. Given their recent history, that constitutes success for Liverpool.
Across the board, they impressed. They put in top performances and adapted throughout to ensure they competed until the final day. It was similar for their players as well. It’s hard to look at this current Liverpool squad and find a player who didn’t perform at their utmost this season.
Alisson was the best goalkeeper in the league and Virgil van Dijk took defending to a whole new level. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson set new standards for full-backs, and Fabinho proved why they needed a defensive midfielder.
Up front, Mohamed Salah had another superb campaign. Sadio Mane, meanwhile, hit world-class levels at times. Those pair scored 44 goals between them. They were the deadliest duo in the league and joint winners of the Golden Boot with Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang. Even the squad players played vital roles at times.
No resting on laurels
The temptation for Liverpool’s owners, and perhaps even Jurgen Klopp, is to rest on their laurels. That will only increase should they win the Champions League. They will look at their achievements this season, consider the state of the current squad and believe that they don’t need to do much this summer. After all, look how good they have it. They would be foolish to do that, though. If they are to maintain the levels achieve this season, Liverpool need to keep spending this summer.
The principal reason is that Manchester City are only going to keep on improving. Their title celebrations are over, and already talk is rife of the work they will do in the transfer window. The rumours suggest they could spend another small fortune adding to their squad this summer.
Pep Guardiola will look for a replacement for Fernandinho. That’s a priority. He also wants to find a more reliable full-back than Benjamin Mendy and may even add at centre-back. He will also want to add another midfielder should Ilkay Gundogan leave, and will likely look at a striker with the future of Gabriel Jesus looking uncertain.
It will mean this already imperious City side will only be better next season. They are not going to stop improving, and it will take money to keep up with them.
The rest of the teams around them are likely to improve as well. Tottenham will spend money to improve their squad, to keep Mauricio Pochettino more than anything. Arsenal don’t have vast finances but will get better, and Manchester United are set for a complete overhaul under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The rest of the top six will be pushing hard to break the newly formed duopoly next season.
Then Liverpool have to consider the strength of their own squad as well. While their first team is strong enough, Klopp doesn’t have great options beyond that. They need another centre back given Dejan Lovren is wholly unreliable and could do will back up at either full back position.
Their midfield lacks a creative, goalscoring midfielder while it’s debatable how much longer James Milner can continue to offer an excellent back-up option in midfield. Although, both of those will depend on whether Naby Keita can improve on a disappointing first season.
There there’s the front three. There are no viable, like for like replacements for any of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah or Roberto Firmino. The latter is the biggest issue, with nobody in the current squad capable of playing that false nine role as successfully as Firmino does. Origi and Sturridge offer occasional goals but not enough overall. Across the board, there is plenty of improvement to be made.
And for that reason alone Liverpool to spend money this summer. Factor in that City and their rivals will spend as well, and it makes it a complete necessity. It remains to be seen if Liverpool’s owners, who are famously quite cautious with their money, deem it prudent to do so also.