Fulham and West Bromwich Albion return to the league they came from last summer, while Sheffield United are down one level after two top-flight seasons.
If one wanted to get a half-full view of the clubs in question, at least with their demotion confirmed relatively early, they have more time to plan their promotional attacks in 2021/22.
In truth, that’s little consolation, but some tough decisions will inevitably have to be made as they have to adjust their finances accordingly when they play for the Championship next season.
This period also gives other teams the opportunity to see if there are any players they would like to buy from relegated sides.
It’s a game Liverpool have played very well in the past. In each of the summers between 2016 and 2018, the Reds signed a player who had just been relegated from the Premier League.
It’s fair to see that the Kopites weren’t universally excited about the signings of Gini Wijnaldum, Andy Robertson and Xherdan Shaqiri, but all of them have proven their worth at Liverpool during their time with the club.
With that in mind, which Fulham, West Brom and Blades players might have caught the attention of Michael Edwards and his team of data scientists in 2020/21?
Sheffield United – Sander Berge
With Sheffield United having lost 28 of their opening 35 league games this season, it’s obviously hard to argue that any of their players could be suitable for Liverpool.
However, Sander Berge is on the Manchester City and Arsenal shopping lists if you believe what you read. He could also be of interest to the Reds as he may have the ability to fill the void that would be created by Wijnaldum’s likely departure from the club.
The smarterscout football analytics website uses data to build a statistical profile for a player in a given season. Their model decrees that Berge’s 2019/20 campaign is the fifth most similar Premier League effort in the past three years in terms of matching what Gini has provided for Liverpool this season.
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It’s easy to see the connection, as both players have almost identical rates of scooping the ball back, although Berge will have had more opportunities to do so thanks to Sheffield United’s lower possession average.
But he can also cope with pressure – only one Premier League midfielder made a greater proportion of his passes under pressure from the opposition in 2019/20. The 23-year-old Norwegian certainly has the talent to stay in the top flight.
West Bromwich Albion – Matheus Pereira
One player that Liverpool have been linked with on several occasions is Roma’s Lorenzo Pellegrini, and while he may or may not be available following the arrival of Jose Mourinho, an alternative option to the Italian in smarterscout’s opinion would be Matheus Pereira.
The 25-year-old attacking midfielder certainly has an eye for a deep ball. Only three Premier League players – Kevin De Bruyne, Bruno Fernandes and Harry Kane – have finished more this season (by FBRef), and only two have created more chances on their part (by WhoScored).
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Pereira is also a decent dribbler who can cause problems for opposition defenders when facing them in individual situations.
He finished the second most nutmeg in the top flight this season and drew the most championship fouls in 2019/20.
Fulham – Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa
Anguissa is another player who appears on smarterscout’s Wijnaldum-esque player roster. His main asset seems to be his ability to pass his opponents with the ball.
He is ranked fifth in the Premier League for the number of players who dribbled, and Adama Traore is the only man in the division to have attempted more dribbles with a higher success rate in 2020/21.
The Fulham midfielder is also strong without the ball. He is just outside the top 10 for tackles, but is second behind Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg for those made in the middle third of the pitch in particular.
Only six players with at least that many minutes played lobbied their opponents so frequently. Anguissa undoubtedly has the skills to play for a Jurgen Klopp side.