Summer 2021 could see the most important transfer window in Liverpool’s recent history.
The side is in desperate need of the next stage of its evolution under Jurgen Klopp.
While injuries have been the main reason for the downfall of 2020/21, a squad refresh is clearly a necessity in the summer.
Missing out on Champions League qualification is not out of the question at this stage. The Reds will have to get a good run of form together in order to finish in the top four and bring in the funds needed to sign players in the window.
So, there are no promises that FSG will actually spend big money, but that has not stopped fans from speculating on who they would like to see sign for the Reds.
As ever, there has been an endless list of names linked to the side.
We here at Anfield Central have asked four of our finest exactly who they would bring in if given the chance.
What do Liverpool need this summer?
We have narrowed it down to three selections each – a centre-back, a centre-midfielder and a forward.
Liverpool’s lack of central defenders has been one of the season’s biggest talking points. There are no guarantees that Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez will return as the same calibre of player that they were before their season-ending injuries.
Joel Matip’s availability is also a massive issue, so it is clear that the club needs to sign a centre-back this summer.
That deal could simply be making Ozan Kabak’s loan permanent, so read on see what our writers make of the matter.
Gini Wijnaldum is set to leave the club at the end of this season. Liverpool will surely sign a replacement for a player that has been so reliable in the last few years.
Liverpool’s famous front three also looks to be coming towards the end of its peak. Each of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah are approaching 30.
Some are making the point that after four seasons, the current trio’s cycle is complete. Many are pointing out that having an orthodox striker in the side, rather than a false 9, would be a great help with regards to finishing chances.
While Diogo Jota is ready-made to be a regular starter, we will select our choices to come in and add to the current options.
Finally, our writers will also give their opinions on exactly who Liverpool need to sell this summer in order to generate the necessary funds.
If the rest of the season goes well for him, then Liverpool may as well make Ozan Kabak’s loan move permanent. Unless they sell Joel Matip or Ben Davies, it is hard to see Kabak staying AND a new signing coming in.
Ibrahima Konate at Leipzig is the dream but his injury record is a worry.
Sven Botman could be the one but the fact that he plays on the same side as van Dijk is a worry. If the coaches decide that one of them is capable of playing on the right, then he is the centre-back I’d go for.
I think that Ibrahima Konate fits the bill as a Klopp-style defender.
This is due to his height and aerial presence. He is almost 6’4″ and wins a superb 83% of his aerial duels.
We will get a better look at him in the pair of Champions League games against Leipzig in the next few weeks. It could well be that these matches act as his audition.
Now that Dayot Upamecano has joined RB Leipzig, I’d target his teammate Ibrahima Konate.
He looks to be the best young CB in Europe at this moment. If we don’t make a move now it’ll be much harder to get him in the future.
Leipzig have never been afraid to sell for the right price before, so hopefully they’ll let two of their centre-backs go in the one summer.
At centre back, I’d take Ibrahim Konate.
He’s tall, used to playing in a ball-playing system and with a high line. He’s got the strength and size we need as well as being used to have to defend as an individual.
He is also tactically flexible with the ability to play in a back three or a back four, so I think he’d suit us perfectly.
Manuel Locatelli is the man I’d target. It’s possible that he is more of a 6 than an 8, but there’s no reason why he cannot play a similar defensive role to Wijnaldum while adding more attacking output.
The Sassuolo man is incredibly well-rounded. He is still only 23-years-old but has already captained his side on numerous occasions. This shows that he also has the character and personality to match his ability.
The next option would be Nicolo Barella, although it would be very hard to get him out of Inter. Yves Bissouma would be my third choice.
I’m a big fan of Dominik Szoboszlai. I think that he can play numerous roles in the midfield and, given his age, is only going to get better.
However, a deal might be difficult as he only moved to RB Leipzig from sister club Red Bull Salzburg in January.
Brighton’s Yves Bissouma is another good option. He would be a more like-for-like replacement for Wijnaldum.
Ryan Gravenberch at Ajax looks like the perfect Wijnaldum replacement.
He’s playing regularly for them at just 18 and looks to have a great future ahead of him. He is tall, aggressive and technically sound so should be perfect for Jurgen Klopp.
Ajax tend to sell their main stars and the prices aren’t usually too high, so a good deal could be struck.
For a central midfielder, I have to go with Youri Tielemans.
He’d be a stupidly expensive buy, but I think he’d be worth it. He is two-footed and excellent under pressure, with a passing range to match, so I think he’d compliment us really well.
Also, he plays in a high-energy, efficient system under Brendan Rodgers, where he’s required to press and recycle possession quickly.
This means that he should have no issue with adapting to Liverpool’s game plan.
This summer may well have to see a stop-gap come into the side.
The reason being that Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland will be more gettable in summer 2022. Mbappe will be out of contract and Haaland’s release clause kicks in at that stage.
I think that Liverpool should be signing these type of generational talents while they are at the top of the sport. Either one of these two would be worth the wait.
Maybe the best option is to move Salah into the middle for now so he can get on the end of more chances and have Mane and Jota on the wings.
Harvey Elliott is flying at the moment so he would be a decent option in rotation.
If the club did sign someone in the summer to add to the options until they can sign the big name the following year, then someone like Patson Daka or Ivan Toney could be worth looking at.
Ideally, Erling Haaland is the man. I can dream, right?
I think that if we go for a forward, it should be more of a traditional centre-forward. Salah, Jota, Mane have the width covered and even though they interchange I think a natural No 9 would focus the attacks more.
Liverpool suffer from not having that presence in the box at times and should be looking at the top of the tree for options.
Haaland would basically promise bags of goals every season for the next 10 years.
I’d go for Erling Haaland here. He is the best young striker in Europe at the moment.
He would completely change the front three with his pace and height. At just 20-years-old, he truly looks like a generational talent.
Haaland also has that killer instinct that Bobby Firmino doesn’t. He would add a whole new dimension to our attack.
The dream has to be Erling Haaland.
His goal record is ludicrous, he’s fast, strong, can link play, can score all kinds of goals and is still only 20!
However, the chances of getting him are fairly small, so instead, I’m going to table the option of putting Mo Salah into the striker’s role, allowing a younger wide man to come in.
That could be Jadon Sancho, or, for a more left of field option, Ousmane Dembele. I still have faith in him and feel that, under the right coach, he could be something truly special.
Who to sell
It all depends on who Liverpool can get in.
There is no point selling the likes of Origi and Shaqiri if the club does not sign players to take their places in the squad.
I’d sell Marko Grujic, Harry Wilson and Nat Phillips for sure. The three combined should bring in at least £25m.
Taki Minamino and Taiwo Awoniyi are worth keeping an eye on while on loan. Decisions should be made depending on how well they do, but they could each bring in decent cash.
I can understand certain fans wanting to get rid of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain too. However, his versatility and homegrown status mean that he is worth keeping in my eyes.
He, plus the likes of Joel Matip and Naby Keita, would be excellent players if they could keep fit, so I think they deserve one more season to prove themselves.
I’d sell Divock Origi. There is no denying that he has done amazing things for this club, but his time is up.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain isn’t the same player he once was, so if we got a good offer I’d let him go too.
I’d also be open to selling Xherdan Shaqiri. He clearly has quality, but it is hard to see him staying beyond the summer.
It is vital that if we do sell all three of these, there would be someone else coming in to replace them.
I would be happy to have Salah, Firmino, Mane, Jota, Harvey Elliott plus a new man as our attacking options next season.
I think that if another centre-half is signed in the summer, then Joel Matip would be the first to go. We’ve seen this season that he just isn’t as reliable and durable enough to properly contribute to the team.
I’d also look at selling Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. As much as I love the fella, he just hasn’t been the same since that injury and has picked up several since. Again, availability is key.
Finally, I’d sell Divock Orig. His game time is only going to decrease with Jota back and the possibility of signing a new striker. I’d cash in on him whilst we can.
I’d sell Harry Wilson, I feel anything over £8 million would be more than satisfactory for a player who appears to have reached the ceiling of his talent.
Divock Origi is also someone who needs to leave the club. Anything that needs to be done for him to leave the club, should be done. The effort is not there, the quality isn’t there, and he still has enough of a reputation that someone might still buy him for over £10 million.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could still fetch a respectable fee. While at his best, he’s still a useful squad player. Yet he is struggling to stay fit and doesn’t seem to be able to avoid picking up injuries.
Outside of these three, Xherdan Shaqiri and Naby Keita could also be up for sale, providing usable fees are offered.