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Klopp can bring best out of Keita but Liverpool have big transfer decision

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Liverpool are nearly back in Premier League action, but this week marks a year since the Champions League final in Madrid. What are your memories of that night and the celebrations that followed?

What a night that was and, to be honest, I can’t believe a year has gone already. I can remember it like it was yesterday. I was lucky enough to be in the Wanda Metropolitano and the sea of red before kick-off is one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.



As for the final itself, plenty of people say it was a boring final but, trust me, when you’re involved like the majority of the 60,000 plus crowd were inside the stadium, it was nerve-wracking from start to finish.



The game came after a three-week break for both sides as well and you could tell. It was a really slow game at times but one that you felt could erupt at any minute.



That’s why the emotion released when Divock Origi scored was as much of relief as it was a complete and utter celebration. I was stood with the perfect angle to watch his shot arrow into the bottom corner past Hugo Lloris and I’ll never get tired of seeing it.

Afterwards, there was no way anyone in that Liverpool end was leaving the Wanda until they got told to. We were in there until midnight at the earliest with the whole squad taking it in turns to parade the trophy with their families.

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I took inspiration from Alisson to FaceTime my family which was as emotional as it gets, but when I did eventually leave, it was unfortunately straight back to a coach for me instead of the bars of the city centre - otherwise I’d have been stranded on the outskirts of Madrid.

A 31-hour journey back to Liverpool followed so unfortunately, we weren’t back for the parades but we watched them on our phones and took it all in.

Seeing over 750,000 people lining the streets of the city really hit home just what this team had achieved and how far it’d come since Klopp’s first game in 2015.

When the Reds do come back, Everton away will be their first game. What are you expecting? Will things just slot straight back into gear?

It will be very different, but ultimately, I think the quality of the players will shine through.

I’m a fan of the Bundesliga anyway so I’ve watched a lot of it since it’s come back and it’s been to a very high standard in difficult circumstances.

There has been talk about the lack of home wins and the success of away teams so far in Germany after the restart but there haven’t been that many results that have genuinely shocked me. Not yet anyway.

Of course, having no fans inside the ground will take some getting used to for several players and coaches and even for us watching the games at home.

We’re used to the crowd almost dictating games at times and I think having no crowd will be a bigger issue for teams fighting relegation than for the teams in the top half fighting for European qualification.

With regards to the game itself, I’m expecting Liverpool to win and move within one step of history, unless Arsenal have already helped us out on the Wednesday at the Etihad.

Liverpool’s record in the derby speaks for itself and the whole squad will want to take it out on the Blues after the 0-0 at Goodison last season that you could argue was the turning point in the title race.

Two wins and make history. That’s what my message would be before the restart. Plain and simple yet effective.

Most of the team picks itself, but in midfield is where Jurgen Klopp has most options and tends to make the most changes. Who are the Reds' current best trio?

Jordan Henderson and Fabinho are my two certainties when I’m choosing my best Liverpool midfield three. They provide a fantastic balance and dictate the midfield leaving the forwards to cause the damage in the final third.

Like Andy Robertson, he took a bit of time to get used to the swing of things which is fine, not every signing hits the ground running.

Since then, before his injury this season, he’s been absolutely outstanding and is rightly being talked about as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world.

That tackle on Luis Suarez at Anfield last season was one of the best I’ve ever seen. I'll never understand why it was a yellow card.

The biggest compliment I can pay Henderson is how much he was missed even in that brief absence throughout February and March.

Henderson has evolved into such a key figure for Liverpool in so many ways and he has to be in the first-choice midfielder three, not just because he wears the armband.

His leadership and determination inspire those around him. He’s not Steven Gerrard but he was never going to be. He’s Jordan Henderson and he’s finally getting the praise he deserves.

As for my third pick, it’s very tough to choose and I feel it largely depends on the opponent. I’m a big, big fan of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, especially when he collects the ball and bursts forward with purpose.

Gini Wijnaldum is big-game player, not least for his performance as a sub against Barcelona. He’s so strong in terms of holding the ball up and finding those pockets of space. Hopefully he agrees a new deal soon because he’s still got so much to give this side.

Then there’s James Milner. Mr Consistent. You know what you’re going to get from him. Hard work, professionalism and a cool head from 12 yards.

There’s also the likes of Naby Keita and Adam Lallana who I haven’t even mentioned yet and it makes you realise just how great Liverpool’s depth in midfield is.

Timo Werner continues to be linked with a transfer move. Jadon Sancho scored a hat-trick at the weekend. Who do you want Liverpool to go for, if anyone, in the summer?

The problem for me with Liverpool at times when it comes to transfers is that you are looking for a very specific kind of player – one that has the quality to start games when needed but accepts that they won’t be first choice every week.

There are of course far worse problems to have in football and life in general at the moment but I do believe that can sometimes be an issue when it comes to signing players good enough to perform for Liverpool.

I’m a big fan of Werner. I wasn’t convinced when I saw him at Stuttgart as a youngster but he’s been fantastic for RB Leipzig ever since joining them and it appears clear that he would relish the chance to come to Anfield even if that means a place on bench at times.

He’s much more than a striker. He’s tireless, he creates opportunities for his teammates and is so cool in front of goal.

As for Jadon Sancho, there probably isn’t a team in the world who wouldn’t take him. He’s brilliant and would definitely make any team in the world better. It’s natural talent as well.

The problem with Sancho, however, is that he would likely only be available for a massive transfer fee and big wages. He’d be a fantastic fit for Liverpool but I just don’t see it.

I would like Liverpool to get some attacking reinforcement for next season, especially if AFCON takes place. Losing Mane and Salah in the winter for a key part of the season would obviously be a massive blow.

It would be a huge ask for the likes of Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones to step up for a month or so even though we’ve seen what they’re capable of when put into the spotlight of the first team.

Klopp’s decision not to spend big last summer has been totally justified given Liverpool’s performances especially in the league so far this season but I feel recruitment for next season would be a huge help given that it could be even more congested than usual.

The final few weeks of the season could be a chance for a few players to step up. Whose need to impress is the greatest?

There are very few players I’ve watched in a Liverpool shirt that I’ve wanted to see succeed more than Naby Keita.

I was really excited watching him for Leipzig a few years ago and when the deal to sign him was announced. It’s been so frustrating watching him pick up so many injuries, often when he was hitting a decent run of form as well.

He’s got that something Liverpool need at times to break down teams who are sitting back and soaking up pressure and I think Klopp knows that.

That’s one of the best features of Klopp’s management style. He won’t give up on players when he knows they have what it takes and he’s rightly prepared to be patient with Keita.

Takumi Minamino is another who I think needs to impress although admittedly he hasn’t had much of a chance so far.

He’s a player who needs to be patient at Liverpool as opposed to Liverpool being patient with him but hopefully, he’ll get minutes after the title is secured and we can see what he’s all about.

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Any other business?

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all the best to everyone in these strange and difficult times.

We’ve all waited patiently for three months for sport, in particular football, to be back when it was safe to do so and it looks set to be returning in just over two weeks. I can’t wait and I’m sure you all can’t either.

Our health is the most important thing but that thirty-year wait is nearly over.

Stay safe everyone.


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