Gone are the days when every summer transfer window brought with it peril for Liverpool. Even at the height of Brendan Rodgers’ tenure, when the Reds were last title challengers, the risk was there of key players being stripped away, resulting in a recruitment drive that didn’t always bear fruit.
Rickie Lambert. Mario Balotelli. Christian Benteke. You shudder at the thought.
Now, the Reds are in an unfamiliar position of strength. The only players keen to leave the club are doing so just to get the first-team football they’ve been unable to attain at Anfield, or because they’ve been deemed surplus to requirements.
And even then, there’s not that many of them. We’ve taken a look at five senior players who may well need replacing, and what Liverpool should do to fill the gap each leaves behind.
Adrian is etched into the concrete as the Reds’ backup keeper, and is yet to miss a matchday squad this season.
That said, it’s not wildly unthinkable that the offer of the #1 shirt at a club back in Spain could prove tempting – especially when you consider the over-the-top criticisms that have been levelled at him by sections of the fanbase this season.
In that event, Caoimhin Kelleher would likely make his case as Alisson’s understudy, given how he’s caught the eye in the domestic cups at times. Kamil Grabara remains highly thought-of after his loan to Huddersfield, while there is even the far-fetched possibility of a return for Loris Karius, if we’re being imaginitive.
In terms of external recruitment, Atletico Madrid’s Antonio Adan is out of contract, while Sergio Rico may be available after a season serving as PSG’s backup.
Liverpool aren’t actively trying to sell the Croatian, but don’t seem averse to banking a few quid for him either. Zenit have made contact over a potential transfer, and it’s thought the player is open to a move away in order to gain regular first-team football.
Olympiacos defender Ousseynou Ba was linked in April and remains one option Liverpool could look to, while there has been nothing to suggest that interest in versatile Brighton defender Ben White, starring on loan at Leeds, has subsided.
Neco Williams‘ recent graduation into the role of backup full-back eases the load on Joe Gomez, which indirectly eases the need for a new central defender should Lovren leave. Sepp van den Berg, Ki-Jana Hoever and Nat Phillips are more like-for-like options who could also factor in.
Lallana will definitely be leaving when his contract expires, that much was confirmed by Liverpool when they announced the extension of his deal to cover the end of the season.
Fortunately enough, his departure coincides with the emergence of Curtis Jones, who is set to be handed a major role next term. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita haven’t racked up as many minutes as they would like, so will hungrily compete for whatever scraps left behind by Lallana.
90min understands that Liverpool hold a vested interest in Schalke’s Weston McKennie, so interest there could be accelerated should they decide another midfielder is required. Marko Grujic still exists too, and has impressed on loan with Hertha Berlin.
Liverpool essentially signed Shaqiri’s replacement in January, when Takumi Minamino arrived from RB Salzburg. The fact that the Swiss has played one minute of football since just about tells the story.
Harry Wilson has the potential to play a similar role to Shaqiri, emerging from the bench to provide the occasional moment of magic, but such is the fierce competition for places that he seems likely to be moved on again – either permanently or on loan.
Elsewhere, there’s Norwich’s Todd Cantwell, who might be available for a relative snip after the Canaries’ drop into the Championship.
Origi is happy at Liverpool, and Liverpool are happy with Origi. The Belgian is more than content with his role as a substitute, stepping in for one of the famed front three when required, but the minutes may be even harder to come by next season.
Rhian Brewster’s astonishing form for Swansea will undoubtedly factor into Klopp’s thinking, while the aforementioned Minamino seems fancied as an alternative to Roberto Firmino through the middle.
Were they to receive an acceptable offer, the Reds may be prepared to take what they can get for their cult hero and reinvest. Milot Rashica has been previously mentioned, Valencia’s Ferran Torres has shown the required work-rate and versatility, and there have been vague links with Wolves’ Raul Jimenez…although those are barely worth mentioning.
There’s also Taiwo Awoniyi, who made a decent impression on loan at Mainz, and has the ability and directness to step in.
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