As the 2017/18 Premier League season nears, there are still plenty of issues to be resolved at Liverpool in the coming weeks.
It’s less than three weeks until the Reds make the trip to Watford, kicking off what we hope will be a memorable season.
Jurgen Klopp‘s side are now halfway through their pre-season schedule with four matches still to come.
Whether it be transfers or on-pitch issues, Liverpool have lots to sort before the summer is over – here are six things that stand out.
High-profile deals sorted one way or another
Whatever happens in the next few weeks, this summer will forever be remembered as the one that saw Liverpool endlessly trying to sign Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keita.
The Reds are reportedly willing to spend approximately £150 million on the highly-rated pair – signings which would be enormous statements of intent.
This week is expected to be pivotal in terms of Liverpool either making the signings or looking elsewhere – whatever happens, the situation needs to be clear sooner rather than later.
In an ideal world, both Van Dijk and Keita will join the Reds, with Southampton and RB Leipzig finally buckling, but it sounds too good to be true right now.
Alternatives must be lined up, should the transfers not come to fruition.
Players moved on
Liverpool may be looking to splash the cash this summer, but they should also receive some hefty sums of money for unwanted squad members.
Mamadou Sakho is the one who stands out the most in that respect, with Klopp making it clear the Frenchman is no part of his future plans.
Lazar Markovic is another who must move on to pastures new, while Alberto Moreno and Jon Flanagan are also be deemed surplus to requirements.
Sheyi Ojo, Connor Randall and Adam Bogdan are others who are expected to depart either on loan or permanently.
Klopp’s squad is shaping up nicely, but making some good money for those not needed will further fine-tune matters.
First-choice gaolkeeper decided
Klopp has stated that Simon Mignolet, Loris Karius and Danny Ward are essentially auditioning for the role of first-choice goalkeeper this summer.
Supporters are divided on the matter, with Mignolet impressing greatly towards the end of last season, Karius an exciting prospect and Ward full of confidence after a promotion-winning season at Huddersfield Town.
It is vital that Klopp makes his decision with time to spare ahead of the opening weekend, allowing the chosen individual time to prepare fully for the role.
Mignolet appears to be the frontrunner, given his impressive spring form, but Klopp’s decision will rest on what he has seen, and will continue to see, in pre-season.
Philippe Coutinho remaining a Red
If supporters were in any doubt about the brilliance of Philippe Coutinho, you just had to watch him in Saturday’s friendly against Leicester City.
The 25-year-old was magnificent against the Foxes, and looks like a player coming into his prime – his influence will be unrivalled for Liverpool next season.
Barcelona continue to express their interest in Coutinho, however, and losing him now would be a devastating blow to Klopp and everyone involved with the club.
The Liverpool manager has publicly stated that his star man is going nowhere, though, so we should be witnessing more magic from the Brazilian for another season, at least.
Keeping Coutinho is just as important as bringing in Van Dijk and Keita.
New contract for Emre Can
It doesn’t feel like long ago that calls were being made for Emre Can to be sold this summer, but he outlined his importance with some excellent performances late last season.
The 23-year-old’s current Anfield deal expires next summer, and it is crucial he is awarded a new contract this summer. Klopp has said he is “confident” about his compatriot extending his stay on Merseyside.
Can may still lack consistency and maturity, but he is a player of great potential who can go on to become one of the Premier League‘s best midfielders.
It would be a huge shame to lose a player of such quality, especially if it meant him moving on a free transfer in a year’s time. Liverpool cannot afford to sell key men if they want to return to the summit of English football.
New centre-back imperative
Van Dijk is undoubtedly the dream centre-back signing for Liverpool, but if that move fails to materialise, it would be a travesty if Klopp trusts in what he has.
Joel Matip is the only player of real quality in that position – even certain doubts have crept in about just how good the Cameroonian is – with Dejan Lovren too erratic, Ragnar Klavan nothing more than a solid back-up and Joe Gomez still maturing.
The Reds have struggled at centre-back since the peak years of Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyypia, and if a top class defender doesn’t arrive, success will continue to evade them.
Goalkeepers, full-backs, midfield and attack all look strong enough, but the heart of the back-line is desperately in need of a major addition.