Monday 11 December 2017

How Liverpool could line up next season as Jurgen Klopp eyes seven signings

Naby Keita
Naby Keita

Liverpool are still yet to make their first signing of the summer, with The Independent understanding Jurgen Klopp wants as many as seven new signings at Anfield.

Virgil van Dijk appeared like he would be the first through the door for £50m but after the Reds were reported for ‘illegal activity’ by Southampton, they apologised and pulled out of negotiations to sign him through fear of a transfer ban.

One player who seemingly will sign for Klopp’s side is Mohamed Salah, with it being a matter of when and not if the Egyptian signs. Personal terms are understood to have already been agreed with the transfer fee the only remaining stumbling block, with Liverpool willing to pay £35m but Roma wanting £40m.

Klopp is also scouting his homeland for talent and has settled on RB Leipzig pair Naby Keita and Timo Werner, although he faces a battle if he is to take two of the Bundesliga runners-up’s best players.

With Champions League football added to Liverpool’s fixture schedule this season, quantity is as important as quality this summer to make sure the side don’t burn out, as they appeared to towards the middle of last season.

GK: Simon Mignolet

Liverpool were linked with Joe Hart for much of last season, but in April Jurgen Klopp ruled out signing the England international by insisting he was happy with his current goalkeeping options. “There was never any doubt that Simon is a top keeper,” the German said of Mignolet recently.

RB: Nathanial Clyne

A first-team regular for the last two seasons now. Could arguably do better when in advanced positions and when Liverpool are chasing a game, but Klopp is unlikely to sign another right-back considering there are other areas of the team that need strengthening first.

CB: Ben Gibson

After pulling out of the deal to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton, the Reds have turned their attention to Ben Gibson, who is almost certain to leave Middlesbrough after their relegation. Boro want around £20m after his England call up but Liverpool are confident they can beat Tottenham to his signing.

CB: Joel Matip

Has been a success since signing from Schalke on a free transfer at the beginning of last season. With a season of Premier League football now under his belt, he’s guaranteed to get even better next season.

LB: Benjamin Mendy

L'Equipe reported on Saturday that Liverpool were now in pole position to sign Mendy from Monaco after overtaking Manchester City in negotiations. The left-back is rating at £40m and would become Liverpool's most expensive ever player, but they need someone to replace James Milner in that position.

LM: Dusan Tadic

Liverpool are targeting yet another Southampton star but they are aware they can claim Tadic on the cheap as he has a reported £13m release clause - something he has refused to deny. He would jostle for position with Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho given the extra games the Reds will need to play with their Champions League return.

CM: Naby Keita

The 29-year-old signed a new £25m four-year contract in February, with Klopp telling journalists that Lallana was “a very important player for us – a player I trust in the dressing room.”

He enjoyed a fine 2016/17 season and has developed into one of the club’s most important players. Jordan Henderson is Liverpool’s club captain, but after two injury-plagued seasons, the rumour is that Klopp could look to replace him with RB Leipzig’s box to box midfielder Keita.

The Guinea international has been a revelation in the Bundesliga this season and knows where the goal is despite playing as a defensive midfielder, having scored 8 league goals last term.

RM: Philippe Coutinho

The Brazilian was not at his best last season, but is still one of the Premier League’s most talented players when he is in-form and injury free.

LW: Sadio Mane

One of the signings of the season last year, and Liverpool’s form nose-dived alarmingly when he picked up his season-ending injury against Everton. Scored 13 goals in the league for Liverpool and was named the Players’ Player and Fans Player at the end of season awards.

RW: Mohamed Salah

Liverpool would have some truly frightening pace at their disposal if they lined up with Mane on one flank and ex-Chelsea winger Salah on the other. The Egyptian wasn’t given a fair crack of things at Chelsea but is still only 24-years-old and was one of Roma’s best players last season, scoring 19 goals over the season.

CF: Timo Werner

The 21-year-old made his full German debut in the friendly against England in March and is regarded as one of Europe’s most exciting young strikers, having scored 21 goals in the Bundesliga for Leipzig last season. “If you were to play at Anfield and hear the fans sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone,’ it would certainly be something special,” Werner told Sport Bild earlier this season.

Independent News Service

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