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It is safe to say they were a few eyebrows raised when it was first announced Liverpool would be spending around £35m to sign Mohamed Salah from Roma.
Many Premier League fans remember the Egyptian’s previous spell in England where, during his two and a half years at Chelsea, he made just 19 appearances and was twice farmed out on loan.
However fellow winger and Liverpool legend Patrik Berger was not one of those to question Jurgen Klopp’s decision to loosen the purse strings for a player who flopped at Stamford Bridge.
Berger knows Salah is a different animal to the one supporters in England first witnessed three years ago and for that reason he cannot wait to see the latest cog fit into Liverpool’s electric attacking unit.
“He is a good player technically and he is very fast,” says Berger. “He can score goals, create goals, which he has proved last year in Italy.
“He has already been in the Premier League so he knows what to expect. I think he is a better player than when he was in the Premier League a couple of years ago. It is a great addition to the squad.”
Berger’s optimism is understandable given Salah’s performances in Italy. Indeed, he was one of only eight players in Europe who notched double figures for both goals and assists last season.
His pace proved to be the biggest thorn in sides’ defences and the prospect of Klopp deploying him and Sadio Mane on either wing is frightening, especially when you throw in Philippe Coutinho as a creative influence in between them.
However, Liverpool’s summer spending can't afford to end with Salah if they want to challenge for the Premier League title, especially with the added burden of playing in Europe, which was not a distraction last season.
This is a side that finished in fourth place last season, a full 17 points behind champions Chelsea, and more reinforcements are needed if they wish to become serious contenders.
“I think if they can get one more player in the middle of the field and one more player, probably a central defender, then I think Klopp will be okay because the squad was alright last year,” says Berger.
“But I think it was not as strong as they needed, so I think if they can get another two, three or four players for the next season it would be good enough.”
The centre of defence is clearly a priority for Klopp given the club’s widely reported pursuit of Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk. With a price tag of close to £60m the 25-year-old is not cheap, but Liverpool’s interest in him is an indication of how important a new centre-back is to the squad.
They may have escaped a charge of tapping up, but can they match Southampton’s rising fee expectations?
The jury is still out on Dejan Lovren and, despite a successful loan spell at Crystal Palace, which ended prematurely with injury, Mamadou Sakho did not impress Klopp in his previous time at Anfield.
New Palace boss Frank de Boer is interested in Sakho, which will mean an extra central defender is essential to Liverpool maintaining a challenge in the league and Europe.
Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly is one player who could be a viable signing. Strong, quick and powerful the Senegal international has all the makings of a Premier League player and it is no surprise to see him linked with Chelsea too.
Reinforcing the middle of the park will prove more difficult, particularly given the fact RB Leipzig are demanding £70m for Naby Keita – who is a Liverpool transfer target.
That hefty price tag may put Klopp off, but the arrival of the Guinean would go a long way to strengthening Liverpool’s midfield. He is a rare modern day all-rounder who has all the required dynamism and energy to play in a Klopp team.
Indeed, on paper, Keita is exactly the kind of player who could give the Reds the drive they lacked in the middle of the pitch last season.
What’s more, Keita and three or four more top signings would provide Klopp with the depth he needs to sustain a title challenge. The German maybe implementing his ‘heavy metal football’ at Liverpool, but that comes with its own drawbacks.
Liverpool may have taken the league by storm in its early stages last season, but during the middle of the campaign, fatigue set in and they were hit hard by the loss of Player of the Season Mane, first on African Nations Cup duty and then to injury.
Mane's absence with Senegal for most of January came in the middle of Liverpool's worst spell of the season, with only one win in ten games, and the run included losing at home to Swansea, Southampton and Wolves.
The solution? Bolster the squad to provide more depth and options.
“I think they are very close [to challenging for the title],” says Berger. “Last year around Christmas everyone was talking about how they were good enough to win the league – then they had a bad spell and in the end they were fighting to make the Champions League places.
“I think they are very close. If they can get a few more signings this summer, and I am sure Jurgen has players on his list he is looking to get in the Liverpool squad, then they can definitely challenge for the Premier League title.