Liverpool supporters in the Transfer Tavern have been using the last few days to look back at their team’s mightily impressive season to date, and indeed what could still be in store for their side between now and the end of the campaign.
Jurgen Klopp’s men look set to secure a second successive season of Champions League football given they are third in the Premier League, with their 2-2 draw with West Brom on Saturday moving them eight points clear of fifth place Chelsea with just three matches remaining. And with the Merseyside giants currently embroiled in a Champions League semi-final with Italian heavyweights Roma, there could yet still be more success to come for our resident Liverpudlians before the end of the season.
Subsequently, there are many happy Reds fans in the Tavern at present, several of whom are growing in confidence that Klopp is building a side capable of challenging for the Premier League title next season, as they seek to bridge the gap to runaway winners Manchester City.
In the meantime though, there has been much for our resident Liverpool fans to get their teeth into, not least recent reports suggesting that City are considering cashing on defender John Stones this summer.
And given Liverpool’s own defensive concerns during the campaign, they should seek to land the £45 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) this summer, as doing so could turn them into Premier League title contenders.
Ultimately, the Reds saw their title challenge come to an end before it properly begun back in October after heavy defeats at the hands of City and Tottenham, results which left Klopp’s side ninth in the table.
And their defensive vulnerabilities certainly played a key part in their struggles earlier in the season, and while Virgil van Dijk’s arrival has without doubt had a positive impact on the backline, it remains to be seen whether the likes of Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren, and Ragnar Klavan are able to perform at the level required over the course of the season.
And that is where Stones comes in.
Yes, the England international is still prone to the odd mistake, but there’s little doubting that the 23-year-old has developed hugely as a player under Guardiola this term, and is arguably a slightly more all-round defender given he has improved that aspect of his game.
And alongside the towering and authoritative figure of van Dijk, the two could strike up a formidable central defensive partnership – the sort of partnership that lays the foundation for title assaults.
Between the duo, they would have everything required in a centre-back pairing to be successful, be it aerial strength and industry in van Dijk, or Stones’ calmness on the ball and ability to launch attacks from the centre of defence.
As such, if Liverpool are to challenge Guardiola’s City next season, they need consistently high-level displays from their defensive unit, which means that Klopp must find a more reliable centre-back partner for van Dijk.
And City’s Stones could well be that man, and with the 23-year-old reportedly available for transfer, it’s a move the Merseysiders must make this summer.
Liverpool fans… what do you think? Let us know!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!