Liverpool’s Midfield Rebuild: Who Stays and Who Goes?

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How Liverpool Should Regenerate the Midfield Group

Arne Slot is someone that typically plays with a 4-2-3-1 system, one that will allow a better level of control, though only if the summer recruitment drive is on point. Certain mishaps appeared last summer, as the reds failed to recruit the elite defensive midfielder they desperately needed, despite being willing to spend over £100m to attain the services of Moises Caicedo.

It is very easy to label the former Brighton destroyer as a failed Chelsea signing, however, in the 4-2-3-1 formation on the south coast, he and Alexis Mac Allister former the most spectacular midfield partnership that enabled both players to move onto far richer environments. I have long hoped that a renewed move for Chelsea’s £115m signing could be undertaken by Michael Edwards, to take advantage of the Blues profit and sustainability issues.

The fact that an actual Sporting Director or fully invested Sporting CEO was not in place last summer, meant that that window of change fell short of what was desired most, which was a Fabinho successor. Even though Waturu Endō has been good, the former Bundesliga man is not the level of player that will enable ultimate success and the reintroduction of Edwards and his team of Directors should see a far more logical summer of dealings unfold.

With that, I will be addressing each asset currently under contract at Liverpool and whether they can transition successfully under new leadership. I will also pinpoint a few players that could improve the middle ground stable, something that can both service the attack and protect an overexposed defence.

Alexis Mac Allister

Age – 25

Height – 5ft 9inch

Contract Expiry – 30th June 2028

Transfermarkt Value – €70m

Photo: IMAGO

The World Cup winning Argentina international has been misused, with his best performances only emerging when he was tasked into his preferred controlling role. In a double pivot, the best attributes of the reds number ten would surely prevail, which makes him a vital component for what is to become.

Verdict – Keep & build a midfield that best serves his potentially world class abilities.

Curtis Jones

Age – 23

Height – 6ft 1inch

Contract Expiry – 30th June 2027

Transfermarkt Value – €35m

The homegrown academy graduate was superb earlier in the season, until injuries and a misshapen midfield stuttered his promising form. It is still unclear whether or not the former England under-21 international can maintain a starting role for his boyhood club, though he is absolutely someone that adds qualities and versatility to the squad.

Verdict – Keep & rotate with those tasked into the midfield double pivot.

Wataru Endō

Age – 31

Height – 5ft 10inch

Contract Expiry – 30th June 2027

Transfermarkt Value – €13m

Photo: IMAGO

The Japan international captain has been solid if unspectacular, with his limitations showing when the midfield lacked control. The Jörg Schmadtke signing would never have been a recruit chosen by Michael Edwards, something which could see his stay on Merseyside limited.

Verdict – Keep & place as a backup, unless two new defensive midfielders are brought in.

Ryan Gravenberch

Age – 22

Height – 6ft 3inch

Contract Expiry – 30th June 2028

Transfermarkt Value – €35m

The chosen project signing of the outgoing management team has failed to deliver thus far, much in the same way as his time at Bayern Munich. A far better campaign will be needed next season, otherwise the gifted Dutch international will be looking for yet another new club.

Verdict – Keep & hopefully build into something important, as the talent and physicality are clearly there.

Stefan Bajčetić

Age – 19

Height – 6ft 1inch

Contract Expiry – 30th June 2027

Transfermarkt Value – €11m

Photo: IMAGO

The Spanish under-21 international has endured a long road back from injury, after an impressive breakthrough last season. Every opportunity should be afforded the exciting central midfielder, who could become a solid rotation piece for next term.

Verdict – Keep & slowly mould into the monstrous middle man he has the potential to become.

I have not included Thiago Alcântara in this list, as the legendary footballer will leave when his contract expires next month. Bobby Clark is an exciting young player that should be loaned out next season to a carefully selected club, one that will allow him to gain experience before returning.

In terms of what is needed on the recruitment front, the likes of Alan Varela, Archie Gray, Manuel Ugarte, and Éderson, should all be players of interest, so that more power and ball winning prowess can be integrated into Arne Slots next Liverpool midfield.

I have chosen not to add either Harvey Elliott or Dominik Szoboszlai to this central midfield piece, as I see them as more attacking assets that should be included in the line of three behind a central striker. That is the group I will be looking at next, something likely to drop after the upcoming Wolves game.

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