Liverpool have gotten their transfer activity for the summer underway already, but they are certain to be reasonably busy over June and July as Jurgen Klopp attempts to re-shape his squad to find more consistency in results next season. Having reached two cup finals in his first half-year with the club and only finishing six points off the top four in the Premier League, confidence must be high from the manager and his backroom staff that the Reds can mount a real push for honours next term—if they manage to upgrade the team in key areas.
One of those will be left-back, with Alberto Moreno showing too many lapses of concentration in his defensive work and provoking the ire of supporters, while Jose Enrique has finally been shown the door and Brad Smith is an effective runner, but little else at the top end of the league.
With that in mind, here are four senior players—so not including the heavily-linked Ben Chilwell of Leicester City—the Reds could target over summer to raise the level of quality available, but also fit the tactical role Klopp wants from his full-backs.
1. Jonas Hector, FC Koln
Starting with a name rumoured to be on Klopp’s watch-list, German national team first-choice Jonas Hector seems a reasonable target in all respects: attainable, solid defensively, calm in possession and currently at a club where Liverpool would be a good step up.
Hector has impressed this season for Koln and under Jogi Low for Germany, for whom he will be featuring at Euro 2016. Valuations in the region of £6-10 million have been suggested and while he’s not a barnstorming runner for the byline in the way Moreno is for the Reds, Hector is more than capable of linking play down the flank, passing infield in the final third and bursting into the box on the diagonal.
There aren’t many top-tier talents available at left-back at present and Liverpool are likely to have to aim slightly below their ideal standard in that department, with Hector being a solid, if unspectacular, addition.
2. Jaume Costa, Villarreal
A somewhat under-the-radar name from La Liga, Villarreal’s first-choice left-back doesn’t receive the same level of attention that the man opposite him, Mario Gaspar, has done this season, but is a complete all-rounder who can play from deep and support the attack at pace.
He is arguably better in possession than Mario, comfortable taking players on as well as delivering superb crosses from deep areas on the left, and his style is better suited to a late overlapping run rather than starting high up the pitch and attempting to go one-on-one against a defender.
Costa has the odd moment of madness where he lunges into a tackle he can’t possibly win, but positionally he’s diligent about staying back out of possession, gets close to his opponent and would be dramatically different, stylistically, to Moreno.
3. Ben Davies, Tottenham Hotspur
Picking up a Premier League player, especially one from a rival team going for top-four places, is arduous, expensive and doesn’t happen as often in England as it does, for example, between Italy’s top clubs, but perhaps Ben Davies is one who would buck the trend.
Tottenham’s second-choice left-back is a talented player, no question, but doesn’t have the relentless intent to get forward or dribbling ability of Danny Rose, the player ahead of him. Even so he is adept at getting high upfield in his own manner, is composed in possession and was good enough defensively to ease Neil Taylor out of the team in his Swansea City days.
Only 23 years of age, Davies would be a potentially excellent capture for Liverpool if he added consistency and more aggression to his game—but would Spurs part with him to a potential rival next season, without entering the £15-20 million price bracket?
4. Guilherme Siqueira, Atletico Madrid
Perhaps the finest and most complete left-back on the list, Atletico Madrid’s Guilherme Siqueira simply never fitted in at the Vicente Calderon and spent the second half of the campaign on loan at Valencia, where he once again showed his immense capability on the ball and defensive strengths. It’s a mystery why he didn’t manage to show his best in a system which should have suited him, but there’s no doubt he’ll be available for signing this summer.
Siqueira is 30, so isn’t exactly a long-term prospect and signing him would mean Liverpool needed him at his best immediately and for a couple of seasons, but both his build-up play and his defensive solidity is far above that of Moreno.
He would be a tremendous signing and is attainable financially—but any club after him will likely need to move fast, as there will be no shortage of interest from other clubs happy to take a gamble on a top-class player who had endured a poor 18 months prior to his Mestalla move.