You’re the Manager – @EmreCanderson

It is the transfer window and it is the time of speculation. The Anfield Talk’s Chris (@EmreCanderson) has had his say on what he’d do if he was the manager…

2017-18 Squad

NOTE: The figures used were generated using and the CIES Football Observatory.

I think the biggest criticism of the current squad is a lack of depth, or more specifically, a lack of quality depth. Losing Mo Salah in a Champions League final and turning to the bench to see Danny Ings, Dominic Solanke and Adam Lallana as the replacements is just sad.

The midfield was also left exposed towards the end of the season thanks to an injury crisis. This is an area that needs to be addressed this transfer window, and already has been with the business conducted so far.

The goalkeeper issue had plagued the Reds all season, with Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius seemingly trying to outdo each other in the race to the bottom. It might take big money to solve the problem, but it’s worth it.

The Goalkeepers – £40m
I’d sell all of the goalkeepers currently at Liverpool. Adam Bogdan’s sat around for three years doing nothing, so won’t be a miss. That Danny Ward hasn’t managed to get a chance ahead of Karius and Mignolet speaks volumes of what the manager thinks of him.

I think everyone’s heads have been burnt out by Mignolet, and I doubt he’d accept being anything other than number one, especially with him pretty much saying as much earlier in the season. For both parties, it’s best that he moves on.

Now for Loris Karius. I don’t see a situation in which he can remain at Liverpool, although I’m sure Jürgen Klopp will look to rehabilitate him. His Liverpool career has been littered with mistakes from day one, culminating with two disastrous ones in the Champions League final. Whether or not he was concussed at the time is irrelevant: throughout his career at Liverpool he has shown he is not good enough.

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There’s no way he can remain as the starting goalkeeper. There’s also little point in him spending a season sat on the bench, and if he was called upon due to injury, who would trust him? Certainly not me. Mind you, finding someone to buy him might be a bit tricky.

Joel Matip – £22.7m
This might be controversial but I’m looking to bring in another centre half, and that means one of Ragnar Klavan and Joel Matip needs to go. I think that Klavan would be more accepting of a fourth choice role, he has the better song, and I think he’s more robust than Matip, who’s clearly made of crisps. Plus, selling Matip raises more funds than selling Klavan, and I don’t think Joel Matip’s actually that good. 

The Forwards – £36.5m 

It’s a sad day but I think Daniel Sturridge’s Liverpool career is finished. After spending half a season on loan at West Brom, I doubt there’s any prospect of a big return for the striker. I think it’s one of football’s great tragedies, thinking about what could’ve been for Daniel Sturridge and Liverpool if he hadn’t suffered with injury as much.

Divock Origi spent a season on loan at Wolfsburg and failed to impress. With further additions he’ll find himself further down the pecking order and is therefore surplus to requirements. The same situation faces Danny Ings, who fundamentally just isn’t good enough to play for Liverpool.

There’s a pang of sadness for Lazar Markovic too, he’s someone I really wanted it to work out for. I think there’s a parallel universe where that shot against Sunderland is two inches lower and his Liverpool career flourishes. Alas, it was not to be, and he’ll hopefully be leaving this summer.

The Youngsters – £23m
Ryan Kent doesn’t seem likely to find himself involved in the first team anytime soon, and the same situation faces Pedro Chirivella and Sheyi Ojo. It’s time to cash in. Ovie Ejaria has already been loaned to Ste Gerrard’s Rangers.

Marko Grujic is the king of preseasons, but then seems to do very little. Although he impressed on loan at Cardiff, the Championship is at a different level to the Premier League. Not to mention I think his discipline could be an issue, and with Naby Keïta having a hot streak we could do with having players who’ll manage to stay on the pitch.

TOTAL – £122.2m 

Naby Keïta – £52.8m
The deal for Keïta was completed last summer after a drawn out saga with RB Leipzig. The highly rated midfielder is set to improve Liverpool’s midfield and creativity, and also add a bit of a nasty streak and a bit of fight into the team.

Fabinho – £39.5m
The signing of Brazil’s Fabinho came out of the blue, with the first mentions of his name coming shortly before his official unveiling.

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Fabinho brings to the squad the ability to control games from the base of the midfield, a great passing range and the ability to protect the defence. Having two excellent midfield additions completed so early in the transfer window is excellent business by Liverpool.

Nabil Fekir – £48.4m
I’m not convinced that this transfer is dead. I don’t think that it’ll be picked up again before the World Cup but I think once that’s out of the way we’ll hear more about it.

Whilst the murmurings from various journalists are mostly guesses, I think it’s fair to say there is some sort of knee issue present, and that Liverpool are reluctant to splash £50m on someone who’s knee could explode at any minute.

If the knee issue isn’t too severe – or can be managed – then this is a deal that I’d like to see go through and would benefit the squad massively.

The fee would probably end up being different to the one I’ve set out, but that’s in the future and I can’t see into it.

Alisson Becker – £67m
It’s a pick between Alisson Becker and Jan Oblak for the goalkeeper position, and whilst Oblak would be my personal preference, I think that this would be an easier deal to complete as there’s already been some contact between Liverpool and Roma over the transfer of Alisson. He’s reportedly interested in joining Real Madrid, so the Reds would face stiff competition for his signature.

Also, I think Alisson may be a better choice stylistically, given that Oblak’s Atletico Madrid side tend to defend deep.

The sad reality is that I don’t think we’ll get Alisson or Oblak, or even greatly upgrade ok Loris Karius. Quite frankly I think that is a disgrace.

Nick Pope – £15m
Since I binned off all the current goalkeepers, a backup goalkeeper would be needed. Kamil Grabara would be promoted to fill the number three spot.

Nick Pope had a good season at Burnley and has earned himself a call il to the England squad for the World Cup. I think Pope would be an excellent pick for a backup goalkeeper and would fill in well for cup games, and most importantly, wouldn’t lash two in his own goal in a Champions League final.

Xherdan Shaqiri – £12m
This is a deal that looks like it’s going to happen, and soon. To me it’s a no brainer, Shaqiri’s a quality player, he can do it on a cold Tuesday night at Stoke, and it’s a low fee.

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Signing Shaqiri would add a quality option up front, and would offer better rotation than the likes of Ings or Solanke.

Jamaal Lascelles – £22.1m
As I said earlier, I want to see the Reds bringing in another good centre half this summer. Lascelles has been tenuously linked with Liverpool and I think it’s a deal that would make loads of sense.

A massive plus point for Lascelles is that he captains Newcastle, that like of leadership is what you’re looking for in the backline. He also chipped in with a few goals last season, so that’s a bonus.

TOTAL – £246.8m

NET SPEND – £124.6m
It would be an expensive window, but with the Phil Coutinho money sitting there alongside the Champions League money and TV revenue, it shouldn’t be unrealistic.

2018-19 Squad

If the signings I’ve outlined were to happen, the goalkeeper position has been greatly improved upon, which is a position that has needed sorting for some time. The replacement of Matip with Jamaal Lascelles would give Klopp another quality – and more robust – option at centre half.

The midfield would be massively improved, with Keïta, Fabinho and Fekir potentially forming a new midfield three. The forward line would also be improved, with the addition of Shaqiri as an option off the bench, but also that Fekir could play in the front three if needed.

I think that these summer additions would vastly improve the squad and should allow Liverpool to compete effectively on all four fronts, with a Premier League title the main objective.

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