Liverpool’s Looming Riddles: Midfield Dilemmas, Defence Enigmas and Monetary Conundrums
As the transfer window enters its critical stages, the whispering corridors of Anfield have been humming with speculation and questions about departures, notably the potential exits of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson to the Middle Eastern promise of Saudi Arabia.
These unexpected twists and turns in the transfer plot-line have set the stage for a new narrative – the ramifications of these potential departures on new arrivals at the Merseyside club.
Midfield Matrix: How Many New Signings Required?
Should Fabinho and Henderson vacate their spots at Anfield, the obvious answer would be for Liverpool to fill the void left by the pair. However, bringing even one player on board is already considered a critical task. Regardless of the uncertain Fabinho saga with Al Ittihad, a defensive midfielder remains a non-negotiable requirement for the Reds.
Heading into the forthcoming campaign without a suitable pivot, or solely depending on a potentially waning Fabinho, may spell trouble for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Liverpool’s roster boasts a promising line-up of young midfield talent with Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones and Stefan Bajcetic. These lads have proven their worth and will be chomping at the bit for more game time. But this leaves a significant void in terms of experience on the field.
Thiago Alcantara, often plagued by injury troubles, would be the most experienced midfielder, following the exits of seasoned players such as James Milner, Naby Keita, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. As a result, the onus would shift to Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai to acclimatise rapidly.
An intriguing option in the advanced midfield position could be Cody Gakpo. His tactical nous, coupled with an astute understanding of the game and technical prowess, could prove to be an asset in this position.
Midfield Transfer Targets: What’s the Ideal Profile?
Behind the scenes, the club’s data department has been buzzing with activity as they sift through potential candidates for the defensive midfield position. The identified targets are an intriguing mix of different player types.
For a like-for-like Fabinho replacement, Florentino Luis appears to be a fitting choice. Boubacar Kamara and Cheick Doucoure share similar traits with the Brazilian as well. Romeo Lavia and Ryan Gravenberch, on the other hand, profile as ball carriers, contrasting with Fabinho’s simple possession game, whereas Sofyan Amrabat and Kalvin Phillips flaunt a more elaborate passing repertoire.
If the Fabinho story takes another turn and the transfer completely collapses, the club’s £37million bid for Southampton’s Romeo Lavia indicates a long-term plan of succession with Fabinho holding the fort while grooming a younger talent for the future.
The Trent Alexander-Arnold Experiment: A Defensive Midfielder in the Making?
Trent Alexander-Arnold’s trial in the defensive midfield role in pre-season games suggests a potential shift in Klopp’s strategy. However, the question of whether Alexander-Arnold can thrive consistently in this demanding role remains to be answered.
Such a position swap would trigger a knock-on effect on the right-back options, bringing Joe Gomez and Conor Bradley into the frame. The absence of Calvin Ramsay, who has been loaned out to Preston North End, limits the options further.
Centre-back Conundrum: A Youthful Addition on the Cards?
There’s a looming question about whether Liverpool will sign a centre-back this summer. The ideal profile is a young player, under 23, with high developmental potential. The Reds aren’t in a rush to bring such a player into the starting XI, given that Gomez and Joel Matip are capable deputies to Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate.
However, the long-term plan may require the acquisition of a left-sided centre-back who can adapt to the 3-box-3 system. This could be revisited next summer when Matip’s contract expires and Van Dijk turns 33.
Financial Riddle: How Deep are FSG’s Pockets?
Liverpool’s summer spending has already hit a whopping £95million with the signings of Mac Allister and Szoboszlai. The financial model of the club’s owners, Fenway Sports Group (FSG), has been self-sustaining, but the absence of Champions League qualification last season has tightened the purse strings.
In such circumstances, the potential sale of Henderson and/or Fabinho could prove instrumental in generating funds for new signings. Between the two, Fabinho, commanding a £40million fee, would be the more lucrative departure.
The Transfer Architect: Klopp Holds the Reins
At Anfield, the final say on transfers indisputably rests with Jurgen Klopp. While the chief scout, head of recruitment, and their teams identify and present options, Klopp’s seal of approval is a must before moving forward.
Jorg Schmadtke, currently on a three-month stint as sporting director, plays a key role in negotiations once Klopp greenlights a target. All significant financial decisions must also pass through the discerning gaze of FSG president Mike Gordon.
In the final weeks of the transfer window, Liverpool’s ability to address these transfer riddles could define the narrative for their upcoming season.