Loss to Arsenal shows why Reds need Thiago Alcantara: Richard Buxton
Spanish midfielder could provide 'final punch' that Klopp is looking for
Pre-season lends itself to premature declarations, as Juergen Klopp knows all too well.
Last summer, the Liverpool manager was downplaying the Community Shield's significance as a genuine bellwether for what would play out in the upcoming campaign.
He was right. Manchester City won English football's traditional curtain-raiser but surrendered their English Premier League crown.
History repeated itself for the Reds at Wembley yesterday morning (Singapore time) as they lost 5-4 on penalties to Arsenal after a 1-1 draw.
Come the end of the season, the Gunners' hands are unlikely to be clasped around the EPL trophy, which is taking up a long-awaited residence in the Anfield cabinet, yet Klopp still cannot disregard this result.
Less than a fortnight away from starting their title defence, the condensed nature of the 2020/21 season is likely to have its most punishing effect on Liverpool's squad.
Klopp famously thought nothing of calling up Sir Alex Ferguson in the early hours of a late June morning after his side had sealed their first domestic crown in over 30 years.
Difficult as it may be for Kopites who until the previous weekend had crowed about being "champions of everything", the German might need to start heeding Ferguson's advice.
Merseyside's one-time scourge attributed the secret of his success at Manchester United to changing things up after a maximum four-year cycle to prevent staleness from creeping in.
The unrelenting demands of Klopp's tactical blueprint mean that Liverpool's own peak spell, like Pep Guardiola's at the Etihad Stadium, has been accelerated by 12 months.
Performing on that consistently higher plane led to the champions stumbling across the line at the end of last season with a mixed set of results once the title was sewn up.
Klopp spoke about needing "the final punch" in games of such magnitude after their latest Wembley affair but is ignoring a perfect right-hook currently residing in his homeland.
Liverpool's widely anticipated pursuit of Thiago Alcantara appears an even more logical addition to a midfield which was deficient and bordered on pedestrian against Arsenal, with both Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain still sidelined by injury.
Bayern Munich are waiting resignedly for the Anfield hierarchy to give the go-ahead to the Spain international's capture amid claims of renewed interest from Old Trafford.
The German giants' chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said he expects an offer for the former Barcelona player "in the next few days".
Wayne Rooney's endorsement of the Reds' potential capture of Thiago as a bigger statement than City's plans to rescue Lionel Messi from his Barcelona nightmare should set alarm bells ringing within Liverpool's corridors of power, despite them now occupying the vastly superior position.
Where the six-time Ballon d'Or winner possesses all-encompassing ability, his tormentor in the Champions League quarter-finals is a player for whom the devil is in the detail.
Thiago almost lined up alongside Rooney at the Theatre of Dreams in 2013 before Ferguson's successor David Moyes unwisely kyboshed the move, eventually signing Marouane Fellaini.
In the former England captain's eyes, the 29-year-old can be the difference between the EPL title remaining at Anfield or being ferried away from it during the next nine months.
Put in that context, his £30 million (S$54.4m) fee is comparatively small change for Klopp to retain the trophy which his side coveted above all others for three decades.
If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer listens to his ex-teammate and pairs the playmaker with Bruno Fernandes, United will be knocking at Liverpool's perch again sooner than expected.