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…
The 2018-19 Squad
The Reds are the Champions of Europe. Not bad, eh? The Premier League campaign wasn’t too shabby either, with Liverpool notching a record points haul and only one loss all season. However, they finished one point behind league winners Manchester City.
Winning the Champions League and tabling 96 points seems to have given some people the impression that Liverpool don’t need to make any signings. I’d counter that with the fact that the season before City posted over 100 points then went and bought Mahrez for £50m. He’s spent most of this season on the bench.
That’s the kind of mad target Liverpool are chasing and need to compete with. It looks like winning the Premier League will take a total of around 100 points again next season, and this squad needs bolstering to be able to do that. Liverpool were really lucky in terms of injuries this season: the front three played almost every game, Mohamed Salah starting 37 and appearing in the 38th off the bench, Keïta had injury struggles but on the whole the midfield stepped up, van Dijk went without injury all season and Matip was an able deputy.
That kind of luck is unlikely to happen again, and one of the criticisms you could level at this squad is a lack of quality in depth. This summer is the time to change that.
The Goalkeepers – £5m
There was some speculation that Karius was drawing interest from Roma. Bet you can’t name a bigger downgrade than from Alisson Becker to Loz Karius. If there’s some mug interested in Karius I’d do everything in my power to get him off Liverpool’s books.
Adam Bogdan has already departed Liverpool after an illustrious career. Cheers for the memories.
Simon Mignolet is the question mark. I’d keep him around if he’s willing to stay as a backup to Alisson, but there’s every chance he turns around and tells you to shove it, he wants to be playing regular football. It would only be fair to respect his wishes if that was the case.
The Defenders – £15m
Nathaniel Clyne’s time is up after a loan spell at Bournemouth. That he was loaned out at a time when Liverpool weren’t blessed with fit right backs tells you all you need to know.
Alberto Moreno has been released, bringing the end to a great Liverpool career that gave us that picture of him walking his dog whilst on a hover board.
The Forwards – £18m
Unfortunately, Daniel Sturridge’s Liverpool career has come to an end, as he was released earlier this month. I’m devastated to see him leaving the club, but at least he got to life the Champions League before he left, and had one last dance.
Danny Ings is also on the way out, with Southampton paying £18m with the potential of rising to £20m.
The Youngsters – £72.5m
I think it’s a little bit pointless letting all these kids hang on at the club or go out on fruitless loans when it’s pretty clear none of them have a future at the club.
Ste Gerrard’s Rangers could take most of them, and I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see Kent end up north of the border. It’s a shame that it hasn’t panned out for Ben Woodburn after a promising start at the club, but some poor management from Klopp and some completely pointless loans he’s ended up as deadwood.
Marko Grujic seems to be the hipster’s fave but I’m not massively convinced, and with the amount of midfielders ahead of him in the pecking order I don’t see where he gets his game. I’m sure Edwards can bring in a high fee for him, so it’s goodbye for Grujic.
That leaves Harry Wilson. He’s been great for Derby in their promotion push but, like Grujic, I don’t see where he gets his game. Not only that but I think he should be playing regularly at this stage of his career and he won’t be getting that at Liverpool. He’ll definitely command a high fee so the Reds might as well cash in.
TOTAL – £110.5m
Ryan Sessegnon – £35m
I think that finding a suitable backup option at full back is a must, with Moreno and Clyne both leaving. I’m not sure that there’s a great deal of decent full backs out there at the moment, especially ones that wouldn’t break the bank.
Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon would be my pick. At around £35m he would be a pricey option but one that’s worth it, given his versatility. Last season for Fulham he appeared at left back and right back, but also further up the pitch on both flanks, scoring two and assisting six goals. His versatility would add a little bit of depth to the front three, and would mean he gets plenty of games.
Bruno Fernandes – £71m
Next I’d be targeting a creative midfielder that can bag goals. That’s an area that this side was lacking in last season. I’d be looking at Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Fernandes.
Liverpool have reportedly submitted a bid of around £40m, though the validity of these reports is questionable. It’ll certainly take more than that to prize the Portuguese man away from Sporting Lisbon.
I think that Fernandes would be a great addition to the squad, having scored 32 goals in 53 games last season, assisting 18. The player also has a great range of passing, and isn’t bad over free kicks.
It would take a hefty fee, but it’s a deal that I’d like to see happen.
Hakim Ziyech – £25m
Adding a quality forward to the squad is also key this summer. Last season Liverpool were fortunate in terms of injuries to the front three, with only Firmino having anything resembling significant time on the injury table.
I’d be after Ajax’s Hakim Ziyech. With a reported release clause of £25m, but the possibility of the fee rising to £35m it’s a deal that can be done and that makes sense.
With 21 goals and 24 assists in all competitions last season, Ziyech would certainly be a great addition to the squad. He’s shown his quality on multiple stages, with good performances in the Champions League as Ajax reached the competition’s semi final.
However, the Reds could face stiff competition for his signature, as Arsenal seem to be interested, as are a number of German sides.
TOTAL – £131m
NET SPEND – £20.5m
This would be a relatively inexpensive window in terms of net spend, on the basis of transfer king Michael Edwards being able to negotiate astonishing fees for Liverpool’s deadwood.
The 2019-20 Squad
If the signings I’ve outlined were to happen, Liverpool’s squad has definitely been strengthened. With these additions, the Reds should be able to compete on all fronts in 2019/20, rather than having to effectively bin off the domestic cups in order to sustain a League and Champions League charge.
Added to the four competitions, there’s also the Super Cup and the Club World Cup to contend for, so games won’t be in short supply and effective backups will en needed.
Whether these signings do happen remains to be seen, but in my opinion these are the key areas that need strengthening, in particular the front three.
Up the Champions of Europe.