It’s that time of year, where many of us are glued to Twitter waiting anxiously for transfer news and rumours. So, The Anfield Talk’s Hannah (@hannah_pinnock) has had a go at deciding what changes she would make to the squad heading into the 19/20 season.
The 2018/19 Squad
NOTE: The figures used were generated using transfermarkt.com and the CIES Football Observatory.
When it comes to improving this team, there is very little you can do. We’re talking about Champions League winners with one of the best defences in Europe, a workhorse midfield and incredible attacking threat. Quality from front to back. But, there is still a question mark over depth, the confirmed exits of Sturridge and Moreno mean back-ups are required and it’s always best to improve from a position of strength.
Manchester City spent upwards of £50m on Mahrez last summer, who has merely been a rotational player – but quality nonetheless and he’s stepped up at times this season. Liverpool need to be in a similar position if they’re to push for a league title once again and their fixture list will be no kinder than last year, reinforcements are a must in my opinion.
The club have already confirmed Bogdan will be leaving, finally. As much as I’d love Mignolet to stay as number two, he was denied a move away last summer to allow for Karius’ departure – now it’s his turn. The Belgian has been a top professional and is by no means a bad backup to have, but I’m sure he’ll want game time and that isn’t going to happen at Liverpool.
This past week, Liverpool have confirmed Moreno will be leaving the club following the expiration of his contract.
The 26-year-old made just two appearances in the Premier League last season, playing only 344 minutes in all competitions. It’s no surprise the club were willing to let him go on a free.
Nathaniel Clyne spent the second-half of the season out on loan at Bournemouth, given he’s out of favour at Liverpool.
His ongoing injury problems and the way the Reds’ fullbacks are required to play, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see us cash in on him this summer.
Midfielders & Forwards
I’ve previously had high hopes for Marko Grujic, however, I can’t see where he gets into this team over the coming seasons.
With a number of clubs reportedly interested, it might be time to let the Serbian international go.
I’ve also included the likes of Camacho, Kent and Chirivella on the ‘outs’ list, given their lack of opportunity at Liverpool.
Camacho seems keen on a move away and the others are unlikely to make the first team.
Harry Wilson is another, someone I really hoped would make it at the club. Despite another solid load campaign at Derby County, we may end up cashing in on the 22-year-old this summer.
He may impress in pre-season, but I personally feel that if he was going to make it, Klopp would’ve given him his chance by now – you only have to look at how involved Rhian Brewster is with the first team.
Nicolas Pepe – £71m
Whilst an extortionate fee for someone expected to come in as a rotational player, I believe a player of Pepe’s calibre and quality is vital for us this summer.
A criticism of this Liverpool side that we keep coming back to, season after season, is our lack of quality attacking depth – and that the drop off from the front three to next in line is far too great.
Having registered 22 goals and 11 assists in 38 appearances for Lille this season, the 24-year-old fits what we need perfectly.
Quite frankly, there is a whole host of attacking talent the Reds could snap up this summer, I’ve earmarked Pepe purely because that is who we’ve been most heavily linked with.
We’re supposedly going to face some stiff competition for his signature, Bayern Munich being the club named by a number of news outlets.
However, I truly feel that if we want him – we get him.
Bayern seem to be interested in Leroy Sane, but if the German side aren’t willing to pay a similar quoted fee for the City winger, I struggle to see them forking out the money for Pepe.
Ryan Sessegnon – £35m
I had a difficult time trying to find a suitable back up left-back option to fill the void Moreno has left in the squad.
I was initially keen on Adam Smith from Bournemouth, who is likely to cost less than £20m and can play on either flank – only the age put me off.
I’ve settled for the Fulham youngster, who is only 19 and is about as versatile as it gets (which we know Klopp loves).
He’s made appearances at left back, right back, left midfield, right wing and left wing this season, scoring two and assisting six in the Premier League.
It’s looking likely he’ll be moving away from Fulham this summer, although could be staying in London with Tottenham firm favourites for his signature.
But his versatility means he’s more than likely to feature a decent amount for someone his age and I feel Liverpool should be all over him – if there is still a race.
The 2019/20 Squad:
Whether or not we end up with these exact players is yet to be seen. A back-up (versatile) left back and a belter up top, in my opinion, is vital for us this summer. I didn’t include a backup goalkeeper, simply because I have absolutely no idea who we could go for. The likes of Adrian from West Ham have been mentioned, as has Neil Etheridge of Cardiff. Both would want game time however – which we can’t really give him. Caoimhin Keller has been in and around the first team this season and made the bench for the Champions League final. So, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him promoted for next season.