Signing a new contract in December has given Jurgen Klopp the precious commodity of time at Liverpool.

Extending his stay at Anfield until 2024 affords the German the opportunity to build a footballing dynasty with the Reds, the likes of which hasn't been seen at the club for decades.

If 2024 is to be the end of the road for Klopp on Merseyside, he will have been at the club for nine years, two longer than his previous jobs with Mainz and, more prominently, Borussia Dortmund.

But with four years still to go, Klopp, privately, may be thinking about some long-term succession planning and the next stage of his Liverpool team's development.

One of the many reasons Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson were able to chisel out storied careers with Arsenal and Manchester United, respectively, was their ability to restructure and refresh their squads at key junctures.

Such a talent is essential when attempting to achieve longevity at the summit of the English game.

With Liverpool, the current world and European champions, on the cusp of a first league title for 30 years, Klopp will be in no hurry to rip up the playbook and start again anytime soon.

He will, at some point, however, have to give thought to the next part of Liverpool's evolution under his guiding hand.

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Liverpool have no intention of offloading Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah, though. The pair may be linked ever-so-speculatively to moves away from Anfield, but with the influential duo signing new, long-term contracts in November and June of 2018, respectively, the jet-heeled frontmen are settled on Merseyside.

Still, talk of additional firepower continues and there is perhaps a growing acceptance that Liverpool need another cornerstone of their attack this summer.

The club, it must be stressed, have shelved any real concerted efforts surrounding the summer's transfer window at present.

Plans, however informal and tentative, are ceaseless at a club as big as the Reds, but tangible progress is not expected by anyone connected to the football operations at Anfield during the ongoing uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.

That, though, hasn't stopped players being linked with the Reds in what are perhaps the most important areas of Klopp's famous 4-3-3 system.

With Salah and Mane topping the Reds' goalscoring charts in first and second for the last two campaigns, the pair are on course to do so once more this term with 38 between them this term.

Their positions on the right and left of the front three are vital; their pace and skill enable Liverpool to maintain one of the most breathless counter-attacking threats in world football and the Reds' reliance on their output in front of goal is a sizable one.

Here, the ECHO assesses the merits of those linked with Liverpool and whether they can provide Klopp with high-quality competition.

Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe of PSG celebrates scoring
Kylian Mbappe of PSG celebrates scoring

The biggest name to be linked with Liverpool is Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe. In truth, such speculation is more in hope than expectation from those on the Kop.

Klopp has gone on record this season to virtually dismiss any stories claiming the Reds are ready to break the bank for the France World Cup winner.

"We cannot do it, it is as easy as that," Klopp said in November. "OK, from a sporting point of view, there are not a lot of reasons to not sign him, what a player he is.

"But it is about the money of course. No chance. Absolutely no chance, sorry for killing that story!"

The 21-year-old forward is one of a select few who would have genuine claims on immediately replacing Mane, Salah or Roberto Firmino in Liverpool's attack, but reports and links are fanciful in the extreme given his likely transfer fee and the fact his club, PSG, simply don't need to sell.

Raheem Sterling

Another player who has been gaining traction in relation to a Liverpool transfer of late is Raheem Sterling.

Despite leaving for Manchester City in bitter and acrimonious circumstances nearly five years ago, the England international admitted recently he still loves the club who made him a Premier League star.

"Would I ever go back to Liverpool? To be honest with you I love Liverpool," he said in a recent Instagram Q&A session with fans. "Don’t get it twisted, they are always in my heart. It’s a team that has done a lot for me growing up so…"

Following on from that revelation, an apparent representative of the City winger told French publication L'Equipe: “Even if Raheem is attached to Manchester City, he hasn't forgotten Liverpool, because that's where he became who he is as a man and as a player."

The cynics - or rather, the Liverpool supporters still smarting from the manner of his exit - might suggest that these charm offensives have come after Manchester City were suspended from the Champions League for the next two seasons, pending appeal.

City are another club who don't necessarily need the funds, but a balancing of books may be needed in future after falling foul of UEFA's Financial Fair Play directive.

Sterling would certainly offers a world-class alternative, but fee, wages and his current standing in the eyes of Reds fans surely make this a non-starter.

Adama Traore

Adama Traore and Jurgen Klopp after the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool FC at Molineux on January 23, 2020
Adama Traore and Jurgen Klopp after the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool FC at Molineux on January 23, 2020

Wolves winger Adama Traore was linked with the Reds on Wednesday with Football Insider claiming Traore's numbers have stacked up favourably in Liverpool's exhaustive research department.

The powerful and pacy winger has added a considerable dollop of finesse to his game this term, starring for Nuno Espirito Santo's likable side with six goals and seven assists.

One of the quickest players in the top flight today, the former Middlesbrough and Aston Villa man would perhaps be the ideal profile for a player to act as a high-quality deputy to the front ranks.

The question is perhaps just how much Wolves would demand for one of their star players and whether Liverpool would pay it for a back-up.

Timo Werner

The name that just won't go away.

Liverpool have been heavily linked with RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner for the best part of two years.

Twenty-one goals in the Bundesliga this term is only bettered by Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski and it is easy to see why he would appeal.

Perhaps more adept working centrally than others linked, Werner is a fully-fledged German international who could be on the market this summer.

And the Leipzig star has made no secret of his admiration for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool in recent weeks.

“I know that Liverpool is the best team in the moment in the world and when you’re linked with the team, it makes me very proud," he said in February.

A come-and-get-me plea? Quite possibly. It's a move that would appear to tick several boxes.

Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund

Former Manchester City youngster Jadon Sancho has become a star of European football at Borussia Dortmund.

This season, the England international has netted 14 goals and 15 assists for BVB and would have been a big part of England's European Championship campaign had it not been pushed back 12 months.

Liverpool, inevitably, have been linked with some reports suggesting his friendship with Trent Alexander-Arnold as a key component to why such a blockbuster move could come to fruition.

Despite Dortmund's status as one of Germany's biggest and best sides, they are further down the football food chain than Liverpool and a big-money pursuit could yield dividends for a club who have become one of Europe's finest 'selling clubs' over the last decade.

At the age of 20, Sancho has years to develop into one of the continent's very best and a purchase would be one for the long term as well as the more immediate future. Reported fees of upwards of £100m are a big sticking point, however.