Graeme Souness believes Liverpool needs a ‘different type of midfielder’ to those already at Jürgen Klopp’s disposal to become serious about challenging for the Premier League title again.
Liverpool finished outside the top four for the first time in a full campaign under Klopp last season with the midfield in particular coming under intense scrutiny.
The Reds moved quickly to upgrade Klopp’s options in the position with the signings of Argentina’s World Cup winner Alex Mac Allister — who enjoyed an outstanding debut season in the Premier League with Brighton — and the highly-rated Hungary international Dominik Szoboszlai from RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga.
But Souness says there is still a piece of the jigsaw missing when it comes to his former club being able to push Manchester City at the very top of the Premier League.
"I think Liverpool to be successful still need some more (midfielders) in there," Souness said, via the Liverpool ECHO. "I think if you analyze their team, the goalie is good enough, the back four is more than good enough. The hardest thing to get is goals and they’ve got that.
"The key is midfield, they’ve got to get a different type of midfielder in there. I think they should have done it last year and they’ll be successful or not, depending on what their midfield shape looks like and who they get in."
Asked about the arrivals of Mac Allister and Szboszlai, the former Reds captain replied: "I don’t know (Szboszlai), I know next to nothing about him. I only saw the clips when we were buying him.
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"Mac Allister, I really like; his age, attitude to the game, he’s a workaholic, he chips in with goals and he’s creative. So, nothing to dislike about him."
Liverpool is preparing for the departures of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho to Saudi Arabia, meaning the club will have to revisit the transfer market to sign a new midfielder, with Southampton's Romeo Lavia a target. Reports emerged Tuesday via the Athletic claiming the Saints rejected Liverpool's opening offer of $48m (£37m/€43m) although personal terms would not be an issue.
Henderson is set to join Steven Gerrard's Al Ettifaq for an initial $15m (£12m/€14m), while Fabinho is expected to join Saudi Pro League champions Al-Ittihad for $52m (£40m/€46m).
Asked about what Liverpool's priority should be next season, Souness added: "For the welfare of the club, long-term, winning the FA Cup (vs qualifying for the) Champions League, I still go Champions League because of the kind of money that’s involved in that and the club being attractive to prospective players.
"Players will be thinking last year was a blip but next year we will be in the Champions League. I don’t think you can go two or three years without the Champions League and still attract the very best players."