Summer transfer window 2021 – A look at Liverpool’s armory
Liverpool v Barcelona – UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Second Leg 2018-19
As the 2020-21 Premier League season draws to a close, reigning league champions Liverpool have had a dreadful season to say the least. Not only are they currently 23 points behind league leaders Manchester City, but they are also struggling to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
On other domestic fronts, Liverpool could only make it to the fourth round of the FA Cup where they were knocked out by rivals Manchester United. They lost to Arsenal on penalties in the fourth round of the EFL Cup as well.
Liverpool’s Champions League campaign also ended early by the standards set by them in the recent past, in the quarter-finals at the hands of Real Madrid over two legs.
With early exits in cup competitions and a poor showing in the domestic league, let’s deep dive into Liverpool’s armory and at potential transfer targets. They will have to refresh their squad to challenge for trophies next season.
Who could Liverpool consider in the summer?Goalkeepers:
No concerns here. In Alisson Becker, Liverpool have one of the best goalkeepers in the world standings between the posts. His performances since joining the club have been of the highest quality. He was also named The Best FIFA Goalkeeper in 2019.
But Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp may look at strengthening the back-up goalkeeping position. Adrian made a strong start to his Liverpool career in Allison’s absence, but has since been a part of many errors which have led to goals.
Final Verdict: No immediate reinforcements needed in the summer.
Liverpool’s acquisition of Virgil van Dijk back in January 2018 has certainly helped solidify their leaky defense. Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and the recent loan signing of Ozan Kabak are the other senior recognized center backs at the club.
Due to multiple long-term injuries this season, Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams have also been called upon to deputize. In terms of numbers, six center backs should more than suffice a particular position, but Liverpool haven’t really found the right pairing.
Liverpool have been strongly linked with RB Leipzig’s 21-year-old central defender Ibrahima Konate over the past few months, and it’s believed they are ready to pay the defender’s £30.5m release clause.
Turning our attention to left and right back positions, Liverpool arguably have two of the best players in Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold in these positions respectively.
Their tally of 31 direct goal contributions (goals and assists) combined for the 2019-20 Premier League season was far superior to any other wing-back duo in the league. In this campaign they have only managed 13 direct goal contributions but it’s only a matter of time before they find their form again.
To provide cover, Liverpool have Nico Williams and Konstantinos Tsimikas who can be called upon when required.
Final Verdict: A new central defender would help relieve some pressure in the absence of senior players due to injuries.
Possible Targets: Liverpool are heavily linked with Ibrahima Konate who looks the part and could potentially be a good fit. Liverpool also have an option to buy Ozan Kabak from Schalke at the end of the season. The current loan agreement has an option for a permanent deal priced in the region of £18m plus add-ons.
Liverpool are heavily stocked in the midfield department, but the midfielders have contributed just 5 goals and 6 assists throughout the season so far. Out of those, 2 goals have come from Georginio Wijnaldum, who looks set to depart at the end of the season.
In comparison, league leaders Manchester City’s midfielders have contributed 28 goals and 24 assists so far in the league. Both teams have different set-ups and ways of using the midfield. But looking at the stats, Liverpool rely heavily on the front three (or four) to score a high percentage of goals.
Klopp and his men acquired the services of Thiago Alcantara in September 2020 from Bayern Munich for just £20m plus add-ons. There was hope of more control of the tempo of the game with him pulling the strings in midfield. Unfortunately, the impact has been less than ideal.
Final Verdict: A midfield playmaker.
Possible Targets: Sporting Lisbon’s Pedro Goncalves can operate on the wings and in midfield. The 22-year-old has scored 18 goals in 34 appearances across all competitions this season.
Borussia Monchengladbach’s Denis Zakaria could also be a suitable addition to the team. Him partnering up with Fabinho could free up the likes of Thiago, Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to move higher up the pitch and increase attacking numbers.
Liverpool’s famous front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah could rip apart any opposition defense, and the past few seasons’ numbers speak for themselves.
However, the bench strength up top seems light. With Divock Origi’s lack of match fitness and form, Liverpool lack an out-right center forward.
Liverpool did address this by signing Portuguese attacker Diogo Jota from Wolverhampton Wanderers. Jota hit the ground running, scoring 8 Premier League goals and 4 Champions League goals before succumbing to injuries.
18-year-old Harvey Elliott is currently out on loan at Championship club Blackburn Rovers and could prove to be an exciting prospect.
Final Verdict: A new forward could help create competition amongst the strikers.
Possible Targets: Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho would certainly add to Liverpool’s attacking threat along with goals and assists. However, other top European sides are also monitoring the situation and the deal might be difficult to do.
Red Bull Salzburg’s Patson Daka is another striker who could be an option. The Zambian is having a prolific season having scored 31 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions.
Source: Football – Fairplay News
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