This is how Brendan Rodgers wants his Liverpool team to look next season
Brendan Rodgers has a plan to make the Liverpool squad ultra competitive next season. Not just with other Premier League teams, but inside the confines of his own dressing-room.
The Liverpool boss feels his players became complacent this season due to a lack of competition for places. But he is seeking the green light on a £70m war chest from owners FSG to turn the Reds in to a force again.
Rodgers is aiming to buy a right-full and a centre-half to shore up his defence even further having lost patience with Glen Johnson and Dejan Lovren. This will allow him to switch Emre Can in to midfield, where the German can flourish. Ahead of midfield, Rodgers is hopeful of landing three top-quality players in the shape of Memphis Depay, James Milner and Christian Benteke.
If he lands the players he wants, he could send out the above team - meaning players such as Daniel Sturridge, Mario Balotelli, Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic, Raheem Sterling and Joe Allen are fighting for first-team starts.
It may sound like a headache trying to figure out who to play with such strong competition for places in the final third, but this is the headache Rodgers hopes to have throughout next season.
Here's how his starting XI might look:
Trippier Skrtel Papadapolous Moreno
Depay Milner Coutinho
He wants to sign:
Memphis Depay £25m
Oddly enough, Rodgers will be hoping rivals Manchester United land their main target Gareth Bale, so that it frees him up as the only big-time suitor for PSV’s Depay. What we know for a fact right now is that both Liverpool and United have made their intentions known to PSV, but only Liverpool have spoken to the player having had a £25m bid accepted. This all depends on United’s next move.
Christian Benteke £20m
Liverpool have been long-term suitors of Benteke, but this could be the summer they finally land their man. Aston Villa look resigned to losing the Belgian and Anfield could be his preferred destination. However, Spurs are also long-term admirers of the target man and could pose a bigger threat in terms of offering the player a healthier salary. Ether way, Benteke looks destined to leave Villa Park. His teammates have already spoken publicly that they think he is on his way.
James Milner Free
Milner is on the move, despite Manchester City offering him a new contract. The Englishman is sick of playing on the right wing and wants to show everybody that he has been a classy No.10 all his career. That’s where he started, and that’s where he wants to finish his career. Sources close to the player have admitted that Brendan Rodgers has offered him a central role at Anfield, and it seems as if Milner could become a Red. However, Milner has said he will not make a decision until this season is over and we are unsure of other options being put to him.
Kieran Trippier £12.5m
Rodgers has not yet publicly stated his intentions to sign 24-year-old Burnley full-back Kieran Trippier, but sources close to the club have indicated that the player is Anfield-bound. The fact that Liverpool have refused to offer Glen Johnson a contract extension tell us that Rodgers has a right-full lined up. Tripper is too good for Championship level where Burnley now look destined to be playing next season. He will remain a Premier League player and baring a Brendan Rodgers curve-ball, it’s likely he could become a Red.
Kyriakos Papadopoulos £12.5m
Sources in Germany have revealed that Liverpool scouts have been tracking Greek international Papadopoulos for the entirety of this season. Let down by Dejan Lovern’s form, Rodgers is keen to bring in a top quality defender this year. He is determined to form a great partnership at the back and sees the current Schalke defender as the ideal foil for Martin Skrtel. He is surplus to requirements at Schalke and has spent the season on loan at Bayer Leverkusen where he has reportedly kept Liverpool scouts interested. This could be a gamble, but one Rodgers seems determined to make.