Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has insisted he will not be tempted into over-paying for players in the summer, although he has conceded the offseason will be a significant time for his side's development.
The German has been spared criticism after an inconsistent beginning to life at Anfield, mainly due to the fact this group of players was assembled by his predecessor, Brendan Rodgers.
Many are expecting Klopp to put his mark on the club at the end of the season with new signings, but he’s also talked up the class of his current crop, per Liam Spence of the Daily Express:
Of course, the summer is important and there are several things we need to develop - one is transfers, the other's time. But we showed in the January window we will not be trying to sign players just for the sake of it, and just because we have money.
We won't get drawn into a bidding war, because we have a very good squad already.
The pursuit of former Shakhtar Donetsk star Alex Teixeira is testament to that fact, as the club held firm in their pursuit. As reported by Sky Sports News, the Reds decided not to meet the Ukrainian side’s £35 million valuation for the player, having bid £25 million for his services; he has since joined Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning.
In the summer, you suspect these are the types of players Liverpool will be targeting; the club’s former left-back John Arne Riise feels only then will we be able to make a fair judgement on Klopp:
Expecting big changes in the summer. Klopp will have time to get the right players for his system and have his own pre season as well— John Arne Riise (@JARiiseOfficial) February 3, 2016
Indeed, the current squad doesn’t seem capable of playing the kind of style the German craves nor possess the quality needed to push the Reds up the table.
One of Klopp’s biggest strengths at Borussia Dortmund was recruitment and subsequent enhancement of players. The likes of Robert Lewandowski, Ilkay Gundogan, Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic all made huge strides under his guidance, and with Liverpool unable to match the transfer market’s big players, expect Klopp to follow a similar path at Anfield.
There is some talent in the Liverpool squad, with Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Emre Can the standout players. If Klopp can supplement their qualities with some shrewd summer additions, we may begin to see a Reds side that is a more accurate representation of the manager.
Mario Balotelli Set For Liverpool Return
According to Calciomercato.com, Milan are already eyeing up a replacement for Mario Balotelli, who will reportedly head back to Liverpool at the end of the campaign.
The Italy international joined the Serie A side on loan this term after falling out of favour under Rodgers. However, his second stint at the San Siro has been punctured by injury problems, and the club are reportedly interested in Genoa's Leonardo Pavoletti to take Balotelli’s place in the squad next season.
As noted by beIN Sports’ Matteo Bonetti, despite his clear affinity for Milan, Balotelli isn’t the most popular figure at the San Siro, even among club icons:
Ex-Milan legend Costacurta weighs in on Balotelli: "He would've never played in my Milan or even have been able to get into locker room."— Matteo Bonetti (@TheCalcioGuy) February 5, 2016
Does Balotelli have a long-term future at Liverpool?
It’ll be interesting to see what’s next for the intriguing forward, should the Serie A giants decide not to sign Balotelli.
There’s obvious talent when it comes to the 25-year-old, but having failed to settle at Inter Milan, Manchester City, Liverpool and AC Milan, it seems unlikely another elite European club will take a gamble on him.
Klopp, a revered motivator, could potentially get the best from the Italian. Still, even with Balotelli playing at his best, he doesn’t possess the tenacity or work rate to lead the line for this team. Therefore, it’d be a big surprise if the Italian had any kind of long-term future on Merseyside.