Virgil van Dijk sends Liverpool transfer demand as Jürgen Klopp issues fifth Darwin Núñez verdict
Liverpool's 6-2 aggregate loss against Real Madrid in the Champions League may be looked at as a pivotal moment in Jürgen Klopp's reign. It is clear that there will be a lot of changes made this summer and, perhaps, we gained some insight into the manager's assessment of things during the game itself.
There is no doubt that this season has been a mixed campaign for the Reds with inconsistent form leading many to conclude that Klopp's first great team may now be in need of a revamp. Certain areas such as midfield and the center of defense are probably the most problematic at the moment with Liverpool appearing pretty well stocked in attack with the signings of Darwin Núñez and Cody Gakpo in the past couple of transfer windows now starting to bear fruit.
That said, Liverpool very much looked like a team in the midst of a transition against Madrid and one action from Klopp probably gave a good indication of the point he feels the evolution of his team is at currently. After the game, one Reds stalwart hinted that significant business will be done in the transfer market this summer and, in truth, the performance in the Spanish capital provided compelling evidence that this is now a requirement.
There is no doubt that the next six months will likely be pivotal if Liverpool is to arrest the slide. Here are the two Liverpool.com stories from today that you shouldn't miss.
In many ways, the 1-0 defeat against Real Madrid this week was a pretty wounding experience for supporters, given the limp nature of the loss. It was one of those nights where nothing seemed to come off for Liverpool and it is clear that stark improvements will be needed if the Reds are to reach previous heights.
One disappointment at the Santiago Bernabéu was Darwin Núñez who struggled to impact the game and looked to shrink, in contrast to his usual gutsy demeanor. In fact, it may have been lost on some observers that it was the 15th time that the forward had been withdrawn by Klopp during his first season at Liverpool.
Among these instances were times when the forward was injured and other times where his manager afforded him a standing ovation by bringing him off just before the final whistle but there is no getting away from the fact that he has been hauled off numerous times with Liverpool still chasing a goal. In the key moments, it appears that the Uruguayan is still to earn the complete trust of Klopp
There is no doubt that this summer will be a period of great change at Anfield with a number of established stars set to depart and several additions likely to follow. In the wake of the loss against Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16, it appears that one existing star is desperate for the Reds to stop the rot by making some key signings.
One cannot fault the brazen ambition of Virgil van Dijk ahead of next season but, frankly, he is probably within his rights to want to maximize his chances of tasting success again at Liverpool after a trophy-laden spell on Merseyside.
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Despite previous success at Anfield under Klopp, it is clear that a lot of work is now needed to ensure that the club can compete with the biggest and best both domestically and on the continent in the coming years.
The Dutchman has now called on Liverpool chiefs to invest in 'quality imports' this summer, especially with several names set to exit ahead of next season. The Liverpool center-back has earned a reputation for being uncompromising in his defending and it seems his mentality off the pitch isn't too dissimilar with the Kop hero adding that he feels it is 'obvious' that new reinforcements are needed.