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Premier League: Do Runaway Leaders Need to Strengthen?

As the team which has dominated the 2019/20 Premier League campaign – regardless or not of whether the season resumes or matters concluded – there would be an argument for saying runaway leaders Liverpool do not need to strengthen this summer.

After all, they didn’t really last summer either and that hasn’t stopped Jurgen Klopp’s men from enjoying a fine season at home and abroad until recently being brought back down to earth.

However, the logic of football’s greatest has always been to build from a position of strength so surely that is what the Merseysiders should do this summer if they are to continue to go from strength to strength; if they are to continue to create more of the Premier League highlights they have contributed this term.

On saying that, with so many of their squad in their prime, do they need to?

That won’t stop them being linked with a whole host of new arrivals and departures, of course.

The obvious ones are the likes of midfielders Adam Lallana and Xherdan Shaqiri who have both been no more than bit-part players during this term, even if they have made important contributions over the past 18 months.

If they are happy to remain at the club on those terms then Liverpool would be wise to keep them but, then again, the club may prefer to sell them and gain an upgrade.

The main incoming link to date has been with a striker, RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner who would, according to this SBOTOP observer, be a first-class signing.

The 24 year-old has made headlines for his goalscoring exploits and, as with many bright stars in the Bundesliga Bayern Munich have been tipped as a potential destination, he is also being linked with a Premier League switch.

Werner has scored 27 goals in 36 games across all competitions this season: 21 of those have come in 25 Bundesliga appearances, with only Robert Lewandowski managing more in the German top-flight.

The player has even publicly admitted Liverpool’s style of play would suit him.

Surprisingly, the club has been rumoured to be considered selling one of their front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino which would certainly make way for Werner.

Yet any side seriously considering challenging for all major trophies could do with four top class strikers and Werner would turn a formidable trio into a feared quartet.

Liverpool are also reported to be chasing Valencia’s 20-year-old winger Ferran Torres. The right-footed attacker is said to be attracting the attention of a number of other clubs too, including Manchester City, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona. Torres has made 35 appearances in all competitions, producing six goals and seven assists in the process.

Premier League News: Liverpool join the race with Manchester City, Atletico and Barcelona to sign Ferran Torres
Ferran Torres during their 2nd leg match against Atalanta in Champions League

In particular, his performances in the Champions League have raised the player’s profile. He’s scored two goals in the competition this season against Lille and Atalanta, as well as providing two assists, one versus the Italian side and one against last season’s semi-finalists Ajax.

There is a suggestion Torres may have an £81 million release clause in his deal, and Valencia are trying to get him tied down to an extension.

He is out of contract in 2021, meaning Valencia will be under pressure to sell between now and January next year.

Back to the Bundesliga, in midfield Kai Havertz is one of the most promising young players in Europe and Liverpool have been linked with the Bayer Leverkusen star.

The Germany international – who can operate as an attacking midfielder or as a winger – has scored six goals and provided five assists in 22 Bundesliga matches, and has scored three goals and provided two assists in three Europa League games for Bayer so far this season.

Bayer manager Peter Bosz has already admitted the German club will sell the 20-year-old this summer. But where to?

Of course, it’s easy to forget Liverpool already strengthened their squad in January

There will be an expectation that fans will see far more of Takumi Minamino next season after the Japanese forward left Salzburg in Austria for Anfield.

And then there’s former favourite Philippe Coutinho.

Speculation has been rife for some time that the attacking midfielder may one day return. He is currently on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona, but the German giants are not said to be interested in making the move permanent following Coutinho’s largely underwhelming season.

On saying that, he has shone more for Bayern than he has for Barca.

Could he actually return to Liverpool two and a half years on?

Unlikely, but it can’t be ruled out of the equation.
 

 

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