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Virgil van Dijk believes Liverpool’s first-team squad needs strengthening with “quality imports” ahead of the 2023-24 campaign.
After coming close to a record quadruple last season before eventually winning the FA Cup and EFL Cup double, the Reds have dropped behind their opponents in all competitions this season and look certain to finish trophyless.
Real Madrid knocked Jurgen Klopp’s men out of the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday, winning 6-2 on aggregate, after they were eliminated from both domestic cup tournaments earlier this year.
Recruits May Be Needed to Challenge for Europe Next Season
Liverpool presently sits sixth in the Premier League table, 24 points behind leaders Arsenal, and they now face a battle to qualify for the top four, sitting four points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.
A number of departures are likely at Anfield this summer, with Roberto Firmino already confirming his intention to leave as a free agent, while James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Naby Keita all have contracts expiring in June.
Klopp has previously said that the Reds must make substantial changes during the summer transfer window in a conversation with Sky Sports News.
“We will have transfer business, obviously,” Klopp said, “We have to, 100%. In the summer, we have to make changes and everybody knows that.”
“It will happen, but how much? That’s not in my hands. We are obviously in constant talks so everybody knows exactly what we need,” he added.
Van Dijk: ‘Everyone Knows It’s Going to be Difficult’
Van Dijk, who has spent just over five years at Anfield following his £75m move from Southampton in January 2018, has concurred with his manager, telling reporters that “quality” needs to be brought in.
“Obviously players are going to leave. That’s obviously been announced so we have to, if we want to be where we have been the last five years, we need quality imports, especially with those players leaving,” Van Dijk told The Athletic.
“I think that’s quite obvious but everyone knows that’s going to be very difficult,” he said, “It is going to be very difficult to find the right players but the club has to do their job in this case.”
“We still have a lot of games to play for us and we want to be in the Champions League. I think that will also help to attract the best players in the world. Not all the time but it will definitely help.”
Attacking changes have already occurred in the last eight months, with Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo coming to Anfield for fees in excess of £100 million in the last two transfer windows.
Midfield signings are expected to be at the top of Liverpool’s priority list this summer, with owners Fenway Sports Group purportedly promising finances to enhance the squad.
Liverpool have been heavily connected with a deal for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham, who is likely to become one of Europe’s most sought-after players ahead of next season.
Dortmund value the 19-year-old at €150 million (£133.1 million) and are expected to meet with him over the international break to discuss his future, with Manchester United, Manchester City, and Real Madrid all vying for his signing.
The Reds have also been linked with RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol, though a new report indicates that they are unlikely to land the highly rated Croatian.
Liverpool now face into an extended break as the international fixtures get under way but they will need to prepare for a Premier League tie versus rivals Man City on the 1st April.