The Gravenberch Conundrum: Liverpool’s Europa League Squad Dilemma
A Deadline Day Arrival Raises Questions
Liverpool’s last-minute acquisition of Ryan Gravenberch from Bayern Munich for a sum that could reach £40m has added another layer of complexity to Jurgen Klopp’s squad selection for the Europa League. The Dutch midfielder is the latest addition to an already revamped midfield, which saw the club spend a staggering £150m on new talent like Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, and Wataru Endo.
The Europa League Squad Rules
Liverpool find themselves in a Europa League group with LASK, Royale Union Saint-Gilloise, and Toulouse. The squad submission deadline is fast approaching, and the rules are quite stringent. Teams can name a 25-man List A squad, with eight slots reserved for locally trained players. However, Liverpool currently lacks qualifying association-trained players, leaving them with the option of a 23-man squad if they include all their club-trained talents.
The Under-21s Quandary
While the Reds have 16 overseas players over the age of 21, the situation becomes tricky when considering the Under-21s. Neither Gravenberch nor the highly-rated Ben Doak qualify for List B, as they haven’t met the UEFA criteria of an ‘uninterrupted period of two years’ at the club. This puts them in direct competition for the final overseas slot in the 25-man squad.
The Goalkeeper Loophole
UEFA mandates that clubs must include at least two goalkeepers on List A. Liverpool has four potential candidates for these slots, but Klopp could exploit this rule to include both Gravenberch and Doak. By selecting only two goalkeepers on List A, the Reds could later replace one if needed due to long-term injury or illness, as per UEFA regulations.
The Fans’ Perspective
For supporters, the ideal scenario would be a calculated risk that allows both Gravenberch and Doak to feature in the Europa League. The question remains: is Klopp willing to gamble on leaving out a backup goalkeeper to accommodate his new signings?
Possible Europa League Squad
Goalkeepers: Alisson, Caoimhin Kelleher (CT), Vitezslav Jaros (CT).
Defenders: Joe Gomez (CT), Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate, and others.
Midfielders: Wataru Endo, Thiago Alcantara, Dominik Szoboszlai, Alexis Mac Allister, Curtis Jones (CT), Ryan Gravenberch.
Forwards: Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez, Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo, Diogo Jota, Ben Doak.