Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is committed to the summer rebuild of his midfield and the progress of Harvey Elliott and emergence of Stefan Bajcetic has not affected his plans.
Having strengthened the forward line this season, the centre of the pitch is where Klopp is looking to reinforce come the end of the campaign with Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham his top priority.
Elliott, 19, is the only player to have featured in every match so far while the 18-year-old Bajcetic, who was playing for the under-21s a year ago, has become integral to the first team since the turn of the year.
However, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita expected to leave at the end of their contracts this summer and uncertainty over whether 37-year-old James Milner’s deal will be extended for another 12 months, there is major work to be done.
“We know exactly what we need. That didn’t change,” said Klopp.
“But I wouldn’t say when we started our planning in September/October that Stefan was already necessarily involved in all of these talks but of course he is now – it would be crazy if not.
“He is a top player and we are really happy that when we had to improve defensively but his defensive contribution is really interesting for each football team.
“The position he plays, he is a really smart player with good vision, good overview, good technique, but we need players, we cannot go with only three midfielders in a season.”
Elliott arguably had his best game for the club in last week’s win over Wolves and Klopp has been impressed with the teenager’s development.
“Pretty good for a 19-year-old, yeah? There is a lot to come from the boy,” he added.
“We count on them but that does not mean we will not have a look in the summer.”