Klopp warned over Liverpool's "lacklustre" midfield as three stars pose problem

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Jermaine Pennant is concerned about Liverpool
Jermaine Pennant is concerned about Liverpool's midfield (Image: PA)

Ex-Liverpool star Jermaine Pennant believes Jurgen Klopp's ageing midfield needs revamping - describing it as "lacklustre".

The Reds suffered a 3-1 defeat at Brentford on Monday night and face an uphill battle to finish in the top four of the Premier League. Klopp's side are currently sixth in the table - seven points behind Manchester United in fourth and 16 behind leaders Arsenal.

Klopp was urged to sign a new midfielder last summer due to his ageing side. Jordan Henderson (32), Thiago Alcantara (31) and Fabinho (29) are past their theoretical peaks, while James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are out of contract in June.

Pennant is particularly concerned about Fabinho, Thiago and Elliott. The ex-winger believes Fabinho is no longer a top player and has questioned whether Thiago offers enough defensive protection. He also thinks Elliott isn't ready to be a starter for Liverpool.

"Fabinho, now, we've seen the best of him - we've used the best of Fabinho," Pennant told talkSPORT after Liverpool's loss to Brentford. "He's just fell off that little cliff. Thiago, he's great on the ball, but he's not going to give you that protection.

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"I think Elliott, one for the future [but] right now won't get in many top 10 midfields - never mind Liverpool's to start [his career with]. So, with them three players there, it's lacklustre. We definitely need to strengthen in those areas, for sure."

Klopp warned over Liverpool's "lacklustre" midfield as three stars pose problemLiverpool were beaten at Brentford on Monday night (Getty Images)

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Liverpool have been linked with Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham and Benfica's Enzo Fernandez - as well as Brighton pair Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo - in recent weeks. All four players would cost a small fortune in January, however.

Pennant, who played for Liverpool between 2006 and 2009, is not the only former Reds star to urge Klopp to improve his midfield. Jamie Carragher think his ex-employers need to sign three central midfielders and must splash the cash in the near future.

Carragher told Sky Sports: "They’ve got a lot of players who are either in their 30s or coming into their 30s... Liverpool year in, year out have sort of sold someone, bought someone but I think this is a case of Liverpool needing to spend about £200million.

"Liverpool need to sign three midfield players I would say, not necessarily all to play but Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all out of contract, so is James Milner. The age of Thiago Alcantara, who’s injured quite a lot, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho [etc]."

Carragher added: "I think Liverpool need three midfield players and when you’re talking about real quality you’re talking at least £40m to £50m, those type of players.

"People keep talking about Jude Bellingham, and rightly so... but if Liverpool don’t get top four that will be a problem. But for me, which I think is as important as a Bellingham-type midfielder, would be a Georginio Wijnaldum-type.

"A type of player, who alongside Fabinho, could just protect that back four and stop players running through towards that defence. We talk about Virgil van Dijk being one of the best centre-backs in the world in the last five years but this season isn’t at his best... if you haven't got protection in front of you, it's very, very difficult."

Tom Blow

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