Liverpool look like a completely different and rejuvenated side since the clubs hierarchy took the decision to swap in Jurgen Klopp for Brendan Rodgers in late October. The German manager has breathed fresh confidence into his players since his arrival on Merseyside and has reaped the rewards, watching his Liverpool side progressing in the Europa League whilst also reaching the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup thanks to the 6-1 dismantling of Southampton at St Mary’s in early December.
Where to improve?
Now this is a very tricky question. Let’s start with wingers. Ever since I was a young boy Liverpool have been a very attacking outfit but recently they’ve lost their way a bit going forward. Don’t get me wrong Liverpool still possess the players capable of playing the opposition off the park and yes, we’ve seen that this year with the 4-1 win away at Manchester City among other results but at the same time, the Merseysiders have also become a team that have become prone to lower the odd game to ‘lesser’ Premier League sides. For me Jurgen Klopp needs to bring a couple of quality flying wingers to excite the Anfield crowd again. Players like Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino are fantastic but when deployed in a wide position, as Rodgers often did, they are not effective enough. The main problem for me with Brendan Rodgers tactics last season and the start of this were that he flooded the centre of the park with Can, Lallana, Coutinho, Allen and Lucas Leiva to name a few in a defensive manner, the sort of play Liverpool fans don’t want, they prefer the old days of ‘we’ll score one more than you’, of free-flowing attacking football. Maybe Marco Reus is an unrealistic transfer target at this early stage of Klopp’s tenure but I’d personally love to see someone like Lorenzo Insigne of Napoli or Andriy Yarmolenko of Dynamo Kiev bossing the wings at
Anfield. A new goalkeeper could be a good option for Jurgen Klopp to take as well as Simon Mingolet has little competition over the starting spot at Anfield this year as rumours circulate linking German shot stoppers Timo Horn and Bernd Leno with a move to Merseyside in January.
Manchester City have had a very indifferent start to the season. With the demise of Chelsea, the Premier League trophy should be heading back to the Etihad Stadium according to most pundits and football fans alike but the blues, despite been top of the league, have somewhat stuttered recently in the league. It would be unfair however to not state that Manuel Pellegrini’s men have not had their fair share of injuries up until this point of the season. Star players like Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and David Silva have very rarely started matches together this term but despite this Manchester City have put in some impressive performances both as a team and on an individual level. The capture of Kevin De Bruyne from Wolfsburg in the summer has been key as he’s proving a lot of people wrong who claimed his transfer sum to the Citizens was far too large with the attacker banging in the goals and creating plenty at the same time. Other players have further shone this season so far with the likes of Raheem Sterling impressing out wide. We also have to make the point that City have already progressed through to the next round of the Champions League, a feat that should be applauded as the team overcame a difficult group which included Italian giants Juventus, Sevilla and Borussia Monchengladbach as well as reaching the semi-finals of the Capital One cup where they next face Everton.
Where to improve?
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure that Manchester City have to make any signings in the January transfer window. Manuel Pellegrini’s side have plenty of strength in depth which is fundamentally the main reason as to why City already top the Premier League table heading into the Christmas period. The return of key players from injury will only strengthen the clubs title ambitions and I don’t see any reason as to why Manchester City won’t be Premier League champions come May despite shaking performances in the league thus far. If the newspapers are to be believed Spanish playmaker Isco could be heading to Manchester from Real Madrid but is this what City need? The blues already have David Silva, who on his day has the ability to be the best players in the Premier League, the Manchester side also have new signing Kevin De Bruyne who has adapted well on his Premier League return and
Raheem Sterling who has been deployed through the middle this season on numerous occasions to great effect. Manuel Pellegrini should instead be looking at his back four as both full backs in Clichy and Zabaleta are ageing and will soon need to be replaced as the full-back rule in modern day football is very demanding in turns of getting up and down the wing at pace. A new centre back could also be a good addition for Manchester City as Vincent Kompany has really struggled with his fitness this campaign meaning the side has been weaker at the back as Mangala has again struggled with his form so far this term.