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Liverpool Risk Ridicule if They Miss on Top Four and Top Transfer Targets

The club has made a lot of noise about summer plans and will deserve any criticism they get if they now fail to deliver.

Liverpool took the unusual approach in April of outlining their summer transfer plans, letting some of the most trusted journalists in on the details of just who their top targets were. Fans were told that Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita, and Bayer Leverkusen's Julian Brandt were the top targets.

If everything went as planned, the trio were meant to arrive as starting options, players to improve both the starting eleven and squad depth in one stroke. They would be joined, again if everything went to plan, but Fulham's teenage sensation Ryan Sessegnon, who would arrive at the club as backup to veteran James Milner.

Depending on who you asked, that transparent approach was either brave or stupid; it either signalled the seriousness of the club's intent to fans or opened them up to massive criticism. A month later, with Brandt having apparently proven impossible to get and the club in danger of missing the top four, it seems the latter.

Yet still, connected journalists like The Liverpool Echo's James Pearce continue to talk up the club's summer plans, pointing to an expected spending spree to dwarf all past summer spending sprees at Liverpool while doubling down on the idea that van Dijk and Keita indeed remain Jürgen Klopp's top targets at their positions.

Hopefully, those two intended signings go better than Brandt, who has now been replaced at the top of Klopp's winger wish list by Mohamed Salah, the 24-year-old who was linked with a Liverpool move previously only to end up at Chelsea. When he struggled to make a mark at Stamford Bridge, he eventually moved to Roma.

Now, having had a breakout season in Italy and with Brandt proving a no-go, he's back on Liverpool's list. And on paper at least it could even be argued he's an upgrade on Brandt given his stellar return with Roma this season. As long as it isn't a case where the slower pace of Serie A has served to cover up some of his flaws.

Salah's top end speed has never been in doubt, but at a top Premier League side where opponents often pack in deep against you it takes more than that. At Chelsea, while the complete game of the pacy Willian helped that player thrive, Salah often frustrated. In Italy, often against slower defenders, he has blossomed.

Still, if the club and Klopp are convinced that he can make a mark in England at the second time of asking, missing out on Brandt and landing Salah instead isn't terrible. At least if they can hit on their other two top targets. Otherwise, it will be hard not to see the club as foolish and foolhardy at absolute best.

Liverpool made it known they wanted van Dijk, Keita, and Brandt at a time when Champions League qualification seemed all but certain. They will deserve every ounce of criticism they get if they fail to land the majority of their publicly touted top targets, and even worse if that goes along with missing out on the top four.

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