Liverpool will look forward to their first knock out tie in the UEFA Champions League for the first time in almost a decade but manager Jurgen Klopp is keeping a close eye on the frailties of the squad, that need to be improved upon, if the Reds are to mount a real title challenge in the near future.
While their midfield and defence need some reshaping, Liverpool are also desperate for a new goalkeeper, who can walk into the first team next season. A number of names have constantly been linked with a move to Anfield recently but one link that refuses to die is that of Stoke City star, Jack Butland.
Liverpool And Arsenal To Battle For Butland:
A transfer target for the Reds even in the summer, the English international has not had a great time with the Potters this season, who are struggling close to the bottom of the points table. He is extensively linked with an exit in the summer and reports now claim that Jurgen Klopp has made him his primary transfer target at the end of the season.
Arsene Wenger is also looking at Butland, as a long-term replacement for Petr Cech at the Emirates and it is understood that both teams are ready to meet his valuation of £40m. And according to various bookmakers, the Merseyside club are favourites to land him in the summer. But is he the right man for Liverpool?
Butland And his Reputation:
In line to be the first choice under the bar for the Three Lions, Butland, who is still 24, has 171 league appearances in England and is only recently getting a chance in the first team for his national side. He has conceded 46 goals this season, at almost two per game, but has been one of the most consistent players for the Potters.
At his age, he has already gathered a lot of experience and has almost a decade of football left ahead of him. He is only going to get better and playing for the biggest clubs in his country will be his next natural step.
He is a confident presence in the box, quick to react to danger and to crosses from both flanks. He is decisive in his approach but is sometimes caught out of position. He is also criticized for leaving his near post exposed on occasions but has great reflexes, that save the blushes of his team more often than not.
Is He The Answer For Liverpool?
The Reds are currently sticking with German ace Loris Karius in goal as the first choice for the domestic league and the Champions League. Belgian ace Simon Mignolet may no longer be an option come the end of the season, which makes Butland a target to replace him in the squad. But Liverpool also have a young Brit in Danny Ward, who is struggling to get into the first team.
Klopp might not be too convinced of the Welsh international but spending £40m on Butland only makes sense if he is the first choice for his side next season, a decision which will depend on the performances of Karius in the remainder of the campaign.
These links with the Stoke City star convey one strong message that Liverpool are still in search of a keeper, if only to replace Mignolet but do you think he is the right man for the Reds?
Stats Courtesy: Whoscored