What would follow over the next 12 months would highlight the need for bodies at Anfield as an unprecedented injury crisis called on Jurgen Klopp to unearth some of the talent waiting behind the scenes.
As Liverpool prepare to do their usual smart and quick business in the transfer market, last year’s crisis will be firmly imprinted on the minds of Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards.
As the Reds try to reclaim the title from Manchester’s blue half, ECHO has decided to examine how Klopp’s men could line up for next season’s curtain raiser against Norwich City at Carrow Road.
Liverpool finally get their hands on Kylian Mbappe
It was evident, due to the shortcomings of last season, that Liverpool sometimes didn’t have enough firepower in the last third of the pitch, with the exception of the near-ubiquitous Mohamed Salah whose 22 Premier League goals went propelled Liverpool to third place.
Sadio Mane suffered his second worst Premier League scoring comeback since signing for the club in the summer of 2016, fearing fans might not be able to reach the glorious heights he once played in his prime at Liverpool between 2018-2020. .
Liverpool’s original forward trio welcomed a new addition last summer, one by the name of Diogo Jota. The Portuguese star was set to take Anfield by storm after becoming the first Liverpool player to score in his first four top-flight outings at Anfield.
However, a knee injury sustained in the Reds’ last Champions League group stage game would rule out the 24-year-old for several months, ending what had all the hallmarks of being a stellar first campaign to Anfield.
With Liverpool set to lose their two African forwards, Salah and Mane, to the Africa Cup of Nations in early 2022, the prospect of losing their artillery for a while is something that could be addressed this summer, with the dream addition of a certain Kylian Mbappé.
Mbappe won’t be a new name in the ears of Liverpool fans after his signing has been speculatively hinted at for some time now.
The 22-year-old World Cup winner, who operates mostly in the midst of his current squad, Paris Saint Germain, would certainly add extra firepower to Klopp’s ranks, and even more if needed next January. .
With a year remaining on his contract in the French capital, Edwards would surely appreciate the opportunity to strike a deal with PSG as Liverpool could look to acquire what would almost certainly be a pending Ballon D’or winner.
Obviously, this is not a likely transfer whatsoever. But fans have the right to dream …
Youri Tielemans enters midfield
As Gini Wijnaldum helped himself to a brace against North Macedonia on Monday night, even the most optimistic Liverpool fans were said to have been perplexed as to how the Dutchman was allowed out for free through the back door of Anfield .
While he delivered another fine performance on the international stage, it was a reminder not only of what Mauricio Pochettino’s side have won, but rather what the Liverpool midfielder has lost.
Nonetheless, one name that has been touted to replace Wijnaldum’s shoes at Anfield is Leicester City’s Yuri Tielemans.
As a dynamic, stately and robust midfielder, Tielemans’ similar traits could see him deployed as Liverpool’s metronome.
Scoring six goals and four assists in the Premier League last season, the Belgian midfielder could help Klopp alleviate some of the pressure on the current front line by adding a scorer to his three-way midfielder.
Currently valued at £ 49.5million (via TransferMarkt), it would surely take a big bid to persuade Brendan Rodgers to part with one of his most valuable assets.
But you never know …
Composition de Liverpool : Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Tielemans, Henderson/Thiago; Salah, Mané, Mbappé.
The Florian Neuhaus case is concluded
While rumors about Mbappe and Tielemans may keep many Liverpool fans dreaming, in a more realistic Covid-19 climate, Liverpool and Edwards could be forced to continue their shrewd plans in the transfer market.
One name that interests Liverpool is Florian Neuhaus of Borussia Mönchengladbach.
The 24-year-old German could perhaps be the realistic option as Klopp seeks to resolve his Wijnaldum-sized hole in a number of ways.
With the potential addition of Neuhaus, combined with the ever-growing presence of Curtis Jones, Klopp might find that he has more than enough to replace his former Anfield star.
Neuhaus, who operates primarily in one of the other midfield positions, similar to the aforementioned Tielemans, has a better deep goal threat than Wijnaldum as he had 16 goal contributions across all competitions last season for the German team.
Liverpool’s interest in the midfielder is believed to have cooled, with the Reds passing up the possibility of triggering the player’s £ 34.25million release clause before it expires at the end of last month.
But it remains to be watched as the evolution of the midfielder is envisaged over the summer months …
Composition de Liverpool : Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho/Neuhaus, Henderson, Thiago; Salah, Firmino/Jota, Mané.
Worst case scenario
Liverpool turn to familiar faces
After Liverpool learned a hard lesson in transfer dealings and squad depth last summer, if they have serious ambitions of winning the No. 20 league title this season, they can’t afford to reproduce the same mistakes this time around.
With James Milner entering the final year of his Liverpool contract, the 35-year-old cannot be seen as a long-term solution to Neco Williams’ potential departure and the void left by Wijnaldum.
Despite his age, Milner made a healthy contribution in the second half of last season, but he cannot be expected to replicate the minutes Wijnaldum gave last season.
Divock Origi too, Liverpool’s Champions League hero is finally set to leave Anfield this summer as Liverpool seek to raise their own funds.
However, if Liverpool fail to find a contender for their No.27 they cannot be deemed fit enough to fill the void that is expected to be left by Salah and Mane as they begin their international duties next January.
In the worst case, Liverpool could be deprived of new signings – but also stars returning from injury.
If the progress of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip does not run smoothly over the summer, it could lead to Ibrahima Konate being thrown into the deep end without an older figure next to him. in defense.
Nat Phillips’ future remains in question, with interest from other Premier League sides.
But there might be a chance the Reds will choose to keep him for some extra coverage if needed.
And even if Liverpool ended up starting the season with the team sketched below, it’s not a bad eleven at all …
Composition de Liverpool : Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Phillips, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago; Salah, Firmino/Jota, Mané.