Now that the pesky league season is out of the way, we have just the international tournaments separating us from the good stuff – the transfer window.
Here, though, we will be highlighting the positions Liverpool need to strengthen, with at least a player for each position that the club can and should look to sign.
Note: This article is not a silly rumour mill inviting gossip over Kylian Mbappé, Jadon Sancho or Kalidou Koulibaly’s. Instead, we focus on the ideal transfer strategy under Fenway Sports Group (FSG), Jürgen Klopp’s tactical preferences and the type of players available in the current market.
Alisson Becker, the 27-year-old Brazilian, has been one of the best goalkeepers in the world ever since joining the Reds. Deputising one of the best in the business means the second choice only gets a handful of games. Such is the life of a backup stopper.
However, with Adrián mostly unreliable despite his one-year contract extension, and Ireland boss Stephen Kenny urging Caoimhín Kelleher to go and seek first-team football elsewhere, Liverpool could find themselves light on experienced goalkeepers come next season, especially considering that fact that Alisson missed 14 Premier League games in his last two seasons.
Jasper Cillessen (32)
The 32-year-old Dutch goalkeeper was touted as the heir to Marten Stekelenburg when he joined Spanish giants FC Barcelona from AFC Ajax in the summer of 2016, but had to play second fiddle to German Marc-André ter Stegen for three seasons before signing for fellow Spanish club Valencia in 2019, aiming to re-establish himself as a number one for club and country.
After last year’s financial complications, Los Murciélagos expect similar problems this time around as well, meaning another summer exodus could be on the cards, with some reports suggesting Cillessen could be free to go for as little as £5m.
While Liverpool’s midfield looks stacked with experience and talent, the departure of Georginio Wijnaldum has left a big gaping hole in the middle of the pitch. Liverpool have lost a key member from the leadership group, a relentless engine room operator and a set of legs that could even run a marathon after 90 minutes on the pitch.
Replacing all of these things in one player is impossible, but that doesn’t mean Liverpool can’t try, especially with the unreliable duo of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keïta. The Reds must also prepare for the inevitable departure of club vice-captain James Milner (35).
With almost all of the first-team players getting on the wrong side of 30, Klopp and FSG need a semi-rebuild (if that’s even a term) for this season and need to act quickly rather than keeping their cards close to their chests.
Yves Bissouma (24)
The 24-year-old Mali international has been a revelation for Graham Potter’s Brighton & Hove Albion side. Since coming over from LOSC Lille, Bissouma has commanded Brighton’s midfield with a deep midfielder role; he also joins the final third, making deceptive runs through the middle of the pitch.
Last season, only Luke Ayling of Leeds United (108) had more tackles than Bissouma (104). While his ball retention and progression skills are identical to that of Wijnaldum, Bissouma’s ability to dribble, tackle, create openings and lead a side are exactly the qualities Liverpool are looking for.
At 24, he could be the perfect partner for Fabinho and a long-term replacement for Wijnaldum.
Eduardo Camavinga (18)
The 18-year-old French midfielder has been breaking all sorts of records in the past few years ever since establishing himself in Stade Rennais’ first-team aged just 16. He has also been called up to the French senior side, netting his first goal at just 17-years-old and becoming the youngest player to do so in over a century.
With his contract up at the end of next season, and him not willing to extend the contract, Rennes will be trying desperately to get any kind of substantial fee for their star performer rather than letting his deal expire at the end of the 2021/22 season. The teenager is valued at £50m right now but should come at a cheap price with one year remaining on his contract.
Camavinga, along with Curtis Jones, can be the perfect long-term replacement for the Jordan Henderson-Thiago duo in front of the no. 6 (currently Fabinho).
While in Sadio Mané and Mohammed Salah, Liverpool have two of the best wingers in the world right now, an unexpected injury to either of them leaves the Reds short in numbers. The drop off in quality is huge, though Diogo Jota has been a live wire whenever called upon, but to put all your eggs in one basket after what happened last year is a big no-no for Liverpool.
With fringe players like Xherdan Shaqiri and Sheyi Ojo likely to look elsewhere for more game time and Jota deputising Mané, there is a need for a backup or someone who can do the job in Salah’s absence. That right-wing, in particular, looks vulnerable, leaving Liverpool just an injury away from turning into a calamity.
Ismaïla Sarr (23)
After breaking into the limelight with his scintillating performance in a 3-0 win against Liverpool, playing for Watford, where the Hornets ended Liverpool’s 44-match unbeaten streak, with Sarr scoring two worldies. The 23-year-old has again come good last season by helping Watford secure automatic promotion to the Premier League with 13 goals and 10 assists in 39 matches.
The 23-year-old has a blistering pace and great finishing in his locker – as evident with his stats. Just like Salah, Sarr likes to cut inside on his favourite left foot and is capable of beating his man with trickery, but one aspect that Klopp would have to work on is his defensive contribution, while his crossing can be problematic at times too.
Capable of playing across the forward line, but predominantly a right-winger, Ismaïla Sarr can be a perfect long-term replacement for Moh Salah.
Despite a late resurgence, 2020/21 was Roberto Firmino’s worst campaign in a Liverpool shirt. The Brazilian failed to hit double figures for the first time in six seasons and did not net once in Europe.
Although Firmino remains a vital cog in this Liverpool setup, it is clear the Reds need to freshen up their forward line. The likes of Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino have also failed to deliver and with their potential exits from Anfield a very likely possibility, Liverpool might need to dip their toes in the transfer market for a centre-forward.
Patson Daka (22)
At 22, Patson Daka is a wickedly fast, athletic and prolific goal scorer – a proper threat in the opposition box due to his positioning and movement. More importantly, the Zambian is a boyhood Liverpool fan. Daka finished the 2020/21 season with 34 goals and 12 assists to his name. He is a hard worker off the ball and is more of a ‘pure no. 9’ than Roberto Firmino. The most impressive aspect about him is that he has successfully filled Erling Haaland’s shoes at RB Salzburg.
Reports have emerged over the past few days linking Daka with a move to the Premier League, with teams like Manchester City and Arsenal sniffing around for his signature. But with Liverpool’s strong history of drinking from the Red Bull franchise – be it Salzburg or Leipzig – a deal could be on the cards if the Reds take the initiative.