Gary Neville has predicted a ‘slight drop off’ from Liverpool this season and believes the champions ‘need’ a signing like Thiago Alcantara to continue their momentum towards further silverware.
Liverpool have enjoyed a hugely successful period under the guidance of Jurgen Klopp over recent seasons, reaching back-to-back Champions League finals – winning the latter – before ending the club’s three decade wait for a league title last season.
The Merseyside club have conducted minimal business over the past year with the signing of left-back Kostas Tsimikas their only addition of the summer transfer window so far, with the Reds’ resources restricted amid the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Liverpool have been strongly linked with a move for Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago, though have so far been unwilling to meet the asking price for a player who has announced his desire to leave the reigning European Champions.
Neville, however, believes failing to sign the Spaniard could prove to be a mistake and insists the 29-year-old could be the perfect player for Klopp’s side as they bid to make it back-to-back titles.
“The one that I think that scarily would excite me the most is Thiago to Liverpool. I think Liverpool need that player,” Neville told the Telegraph.
“Because the team’s been so good, the coach has been so good it would feel like if they didn’t sign someone at this point, the players in that dressing room would probably want that challenge of a new player coming in.
“He’s such a brilliant player. Liverpool need [a player like that.]
“He would be an outstanding player.”
Liverpool have performed with relentless consistency to accumulate 197 points over the past two Premier League campaigns in addition to winning the Champions League, and Neville says a ‘drop off’ is likely given the demands Klopp has placed on his side.
The former Manchester United defender insists it would take a ‘super-human effort’ for the current squad to maintain those levels, and says signing Thiago – or a player of similar ilk – can provide fresh impetus to their title-winning side.
“It wouldn’t be ridiculous to suggest there would be a slight drop off, if they don’t somehow stimulate that squad by doing something,” Neville continued.
“To get to a Champions League final, then to get to a Champions League final and win, and then to go again with the Premier League is a huge emotional drain on the group of players for three years.
“It’s a huge emotional demand.
“To ask them to go again and achieve that same standard would be a super-human effort.
“That is not me being clever, getting them to do the same without amendment to the squad to give them that lift again, that is where signing Thiago would give be a big one for Liverpool.
“Him or someone like him would help them maintain their level.
“They need that impetus to stay where they are.
“I could be wrong – they could deliver exactly what they did before but looking at history it doesn’t work like that usually.”