There’s no denying the fact that Jurgen Klopp made a massive impact upon arriving at Liverpool last season. Whether he’s got enough of ‘it’ to mount a title challenge against a resurgent Jose Mourinho, a newly arrived Pep Guardiola, an even-more-confident-than-last-year Mauricio Pochettino and whoever comes forward to fill the surprising newcomers slot now that we all know how good Leicester are, remains to be seen. What is beyond doubt, however, is that the Liverpool team which will take to the pitch at the start of the season will be Jürgen’s and all Jürgen’s, something which couldn’t really be said last season. The players deemed surplus to requirements will be unceremoniously shipped out (Jordan Ibe), whilst new names thought to be custom made to deal with the high pressing game favoured by Klopp will be wooed, tempted and seduced with tales of glorious European nights at Anfield and, last but by no means least, offered lots of money to make the move from wherever in the world they’re currently plying their trade, to Merseyside.
To that end it’s worth rounding up a few of the names which, it’s claimed, have caught Klopp’s eye during the close season:
Julian Draxler – lest anyone think that Klopp might want to sign Wolfsburg playmaker Draxler just to stop himself feeling so homesick, it should be noted that the 22 year old was a linchpin of the German side which made it all the way to the Euro 2016 semi-final. Wolfsburg sporting director Klaus Allofs hasn’t exactly been shy about admitting Draxler may be on his way elsewhere, stating:
“It is clear that Wolfsburg is not the end of his dreams – neither was Schalke. There are clubs like Real Madrid, FC Barcelona or one or other club from England.” All of which translates from the German more or less as ‘We’ll be expecting a cheque for something like £52m.’
Alex Manninger – having played slightly more than 60 times during a five year spell at Arsenal, the 39 year old Austrian goalkeeper presumably won’t be too put out to be chosen as the third choice keeper at Liverpool, behind Mignolet and Loris Karius. The fact that he’s currently a free agent means that Klopp will presumably only have to point out just how lovely and comfy the Liverpool dug-out is.
Mahmoud Dahoud – the German Under 21 international resembles a player who has been assembled in a laboratory to Jurgen Klopp’s precise specifications. He’s young, energetic, works hard, never stops moving and knows how to tackle and pass. The not such good news is that his club Borussia Monchengladbach have signed him up until 2018 and insist he’s going nowhere, pinging the fifty yard cross field ball firmly back into Liverpool’s court ( if you’ll pardon the slightly mangled metaphor).
Moussa Sissoko – The 26 year old Newcastle man was excellent in the Euro 2016 final, something which doubtless warmed the hearts of Magpies fans everywhere. In the past, Sissoko has insisted he wants to leave Newcastle for a team in the Champions League, although the prospect of staying in the Championship instead may take the edge off his ambition. Whether Liverpool, having already signed Sadio Mane from Southampton, will be willing to meet the rumoured £35m price tag remains to be seen.