Saturday 24 March 2018

Could this be how Liverpool line up next season?

Liverpool have promised to back their coach Jurgen Klopp in the transfer market this summer, financing the signing of players he feels he needs to transform the club into title contenders and a force in European football once more. But who are the likeliest targets and where will they fit into the side? Let's go through Liverpool's future starting XI...

GK: Marc-André ter Stegen

A fresh contract Simon Mignolet may have, but his continuing mistakes are likely to cost him the number one jersey this summer. Rumours abound about Marc-André ter Stegen - the Barcelona back-up goalkeeper who so impressed recently against Arsenal in the Champions League. However, Liverpool are not the only club with the German stopper on their wishlist.

There's a lot riding on whether Klopp can secure the club a top-quality goalkeeper - ter Stegen's signing would be a tremendous statement.

Nathaniel Clyne

The promising 24-year-old has made a steady if unspectacular start to his Liverpool career this season, having moved from Southampton in the summer.

Nathaniel Clyne competes with Dominik Kohr (Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Now gaining regular international experience with England and approaching his prime years, Klopp has the opportunity to mould Clyne into one of his most reliable players - both defensively and going forward.

Ben Chilwell

Leicester City's highly sought-after teenage full-back lacks top-level experience, of course, but is looking very well placed to make a breakthrough in the Premier Leeague next season - wherever he finds himself.

Arsenal will be chief among Liverpool's rivals for Chilwell's signature heading into the summer, but league leaders Leicester are in a great position to persuade their young charge to stay put.

Joel Matip

The Cameroonian centre-back has already signed for the Reds, and arrives this summer. Matip has tremendous experience for a 24-year-old - almost 250 senior appearances for Schalke and 27 senior international caps.


It is difficult to resist smothering such a player in hype; Matip should be the keystone of the Klopp dynasty and an important contributor for years to come.

Lucas Leiva

Has the tenacity and flexibility to do whatever is required of him in Klopp's more demanding system of play. Unlikely to continue in his current emergency centre-back berth beyond the current injury crisis, but acquitting himself far better there than a number of supposedly more suitable choices. Lucas looks to be doing enough to keep himself prominent in Klopp's plans for next season.

Marko Grujic

Already signed, but on loan at former club Red Star Belgrade. At only 19-years-old it is easy to assume Grujic will not play a central part in his early Liverpool career, but physically he appears already well adjusted for life in the Premier League.

With over a season of regular football with Red Star behind him, as well as a FIFA U-20 World Cup winner's medal to his name, Grujic could be poised to contribute to the Liverpool project sooner than people think.

Philippe Coutinho

Combining an enviable penchant for defence-splitting passes with none-too-shabby finishing ability, Philippe Coutinho has already been an important player for Jurgen Klopp with six.

Coutinho: ‘We work for each other’. Photo: Getty

He was also a key component in the Liverpool side who so nearly powered to the Premier League title in 2014. Definitely a keeper.

Piotr Zieliński

Right at the top of Liverpool's summer shopping list, if you believe the gossip. Zieliński, on loan at Empoli from Udinese, is part of convoluted negotiations that would see Liverpool youngster Jerome Sinclair move to Watford, whose owners also run Udinese.

A bit part player at his parent club since his debut in 2012, Zieliński has spent the last two years in Serie A appearing regularly for Empoli and his form has earned the 21-year-old 10 full caps with his native Poland

James Milner

Too useful and industrious a player for Jurgen Klopp to contemplate dispensing with his services this summer. Milner's combative play and no little skill help link defence and attack, and help spur the team to results on days when performances falls short.

Liverpool's James Milner his decisive penalty against Augsburg / AFP / Paul ELLISPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

Has still got the legs to do Klopp's running and has chipped in with six assists in the league; worth keeping around.

Mario Götze

The young Bayern Munich midfielder has played for Jurgen Klopp before, during their successful spell together at Borussia Dortmund at the beginning of the decade.

Equally as important as his footballing qualities would be Götze's status as a marquee signing, a statement of aspiration and a signal of better times ahead for Liverpool. Surely, then, it would immeasurably easier to persuade other players of such calibre to follow in the German's footsteps.

Roberto Firmino

Not always the most consistent performer in his first Premier League season but when Liverpool have shone, Firmino has been central to their forward threat.

Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring against Arsenal. Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty

With six goals and six assists so far this term, Firmino is proving less injury-prone than Daniel Sturridge and a better fit tactically than Christian Benteke. He is the player to lead the Liverpool line into next season.

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