Speaking on BT Sport ahead of Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Manchester City on Wednesday night, Ferdinand was asked by ex-Liverpool man Steve McManaman how many players he would move on if he was in the German's shoes.
“The whole lot,” was the former England captain’s sharp response, per James Whaling of the Daily Mirror. “You could potentially do them all if you wanted to. Nathaniel Clyne has been fairly consistent, [Jordan] Henderson is the captain so you wouldn't see him changing.”
Ferdinand had previously stated that this Liverpool side does not strike fear into opponents, like some of the squads he faced during his heyday.
“I would have loved to come here and play against this Liverpool team," he said. "I don't see a threat. I don't look at that team and think, he can hurt me. There is nothing to put you on the back foot at all.”
While the Reds were on the end of some harsh criticism pre-match, with memories of their loss to City in the League Cup final on penalties still fresh in the mind, they turned in a fine performance on the night. Goals from Adam Lallana, James Milner and Roberto Firmino gave them a comfortable win against their abject opponents.
However, as useful as players like Milner and Lallana are, they’re not footballers who, as Ferdinand notes, will intimidate opposition sides when they head to Merseyside.
“The two most dangerous players are [Daniel] Sturridge and [Philippe] Coutinho, by a long shot, and I think they'll be here next year,” said another former United man Paul Scholes, also on BT Sport. “They need to build around those two.”
There is definitely some more talent worth mentioning, too. Emre Can seems a lot more settled at the base of the team’s midfield, for starters, while Mamadou Sakho is a very handy centre-back when fit.
At the sharp end of the pitch, Roberto Firmino is also beginning to look more and more like the player so many anticipated he would be when signing for big money from Hoffenheim last summer; he’s been a menace in the attacking third of the field as of late, per OptaJoe:
3 - Roberto Firmino has both scored and assisted in three of his last five Premier League appearances. Influence.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 2, 2016
Still, while criticism from United icons will grate a little more abrasively on some Liverpool supporters, there are salient points made. Anfield doesn’t possess the same aura anymore, and that is, in part, down to the standard of players on the field. It leaves Klopp with some work to do this summer in a few crucial areas.
Spanish football expert Rafael Hernandez has sympathy for the German and has offered him some encouragement regarding where to begin this rebuilding job:
I feel bad for Klopp, but this isn’t his team yet. Rebuilding the squad at Liverpool starts between the posts.— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) February 28, 2016
Do Liverpool need a major overhaul in the summer?
Saying the whole squad should be overhauled is a little sensationalist, as there is undeniable quality at Klopp’s disposal. Additionally, having seen massive shifts in personnel during the previous two pre-season windows, another summer of significant upheaval would leave the Reds having to start again from square one.
So expect the German to keep faith in a substantial core of these players, ensure the aforementioned quality options go nowhere and make sure the Reds address some weaknesses by drafting in quality.