New Sporting Director?
As The Reds start to zero in on their next Sporting CEO, I would imagine Jürgen Klopp will have a list of wants ready to be delivered to his new recruitment chief. Max Eberl is the man currently being talked about most, especially given that RB Leipzig terminated the contract of their former Director of Football on 29th September. It was announced that he would be relieved of his duties a (few months before his contract expired), given the notion he was entertaining offers from the likes of Liverpool and Bayern Munich. The permanent appointment of this coveted Sporting Director would be an immediate upgrade on part-time employee, Jörg Schmadtke, thereby allowing an elite level operator to oversee the key area of a world-class football club.
— AnfieldIndex (@AnfieldIndex) October 13, 2023
A New Defensive Midfielder
A critical and potentially transformative player should be targeted as the first call of business. There is now only 10 weeks until Liverpool can sign players once again, which means the build-up to that moment must be about locking in a new body who can operate as a specialist in that position. When I say transformative, I am more alluding to the opportunities this figure would present to his teammates, though a brilliant player in that role would clearly be the preference. Alexis Mac Allister would no longer have to continue as a holding midfielder, the defensive shape would be improved by having a shielding presence, whereas the likes of Virgil would not be forced under so much pressure to oncoming counter-attacks.
A Clear Understanding of Mohamed Salah’s Future
I am almost certain that a frank conversation was held with the Egyptian King in late August, regarding the short- and long-term future of the record-breaking forward. As news of £200 million bids gathered pace through the last days of the summer transfer window, it only allowed short respite to what is to come. To better understand the situation and intentions of the former Roma man, would allow a new Sporting Director time to orchestrate the many pieces that would be needed to replace his contributions. Whether it be January or next July, Mohamed Salah will almost certainly be heading to the Saudi Pro League, which could lead to a huge movement of money to and (hopefully) from the club to come out stronger.
First Team Ready Right Back
I think most Liverpool fans can agree that Trent Alexander-Arnold is now a starting midfielder in a double pivot, that drops back as required, rather than the other way around. The initiative of this hybrid role is desperately in need of a destructive holding midfielder alongside him (when in that double pivot), yet I can see a pathway that will one day emerge with either the return of the 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 systems. In this instance, our vice-captain should be drafted into the midfield group and allow a first team ready fullback to compete with Joe Gomez for that starting berth.
Left Sided Centre Back
The sudden injury to Andy Robertson (suspected dislocation of the shoulder while playing for Scotland), means that either Kostas Tsimikas or Joe Gomez must now operate as the starting left back for the foreseeable future. Each of these players can operate in that position to an average level, yet the need to play the role of both fullback and centre back multiple times throughout games, is far from ideal. Many ideally suited names were linked through the summer of change, yet here we are wondering who will take on Robertson’s starting role against Everton on Saturday. Any new signing should be considered the long-term option, as Robertson continues to regress into a more suitable back-up role.
Control Of Upcoming Contract Extensions
These are the listed players who will see their contracts expire in the next 20 months.
Thiago Alcântara – expires 30 June 2024
Joël Matip – expires 30 June 2024
Conor Bradley – expires 30 June 2024
Adrián – expires 30 June 2024
Mohamed Salah – expires 30 June 2025
Trent Alexander-Arnold – expires 30 June 2025
Virgil van Dijk – expires 30 June 2025
🌗❗️@MirrorFootball: Liverpool have made @FCBayern forward Leroy Sane their No.1 target to replace Mohamed Salah. @LFC are ready to smash their club transfer record of £80M for Darwin Nunez in order to land the Germany winger 💣⏳ pic.twitter.com/sCV72pamAP
— LFC Transfer Room (@LFCTransferRoom) October 14, 2023
The contracts of all those players need to be carefully reviewed and renewed in every case, barring Adrián, who should be released in the summer or drafted into a specific coaching role. Mohamed Salah will either need to be signed to a longer-term deal or sold in the summer, while all others should receive suitable extensions to avoid ongoing situations where players have been allowed to leave for free.