Liverpool transfers - major surgery or minor repairs required?
Nabil Fekir - surely not again this summer for Liverpool? (Getty Images)

Liverpool transfers - major surgery or minor repairs required?

Liverpool came so close in the Premier League but ended the season with a sixth Champions League title. Now the season starts all over again, but not before the summer transfer window takes place. Who, and how many, do Liverpool need to succeed next season?

ben-lockett
Ben Lockett

The football season may be over, but the silly summer season is only just getting started, as the transfer window is open in the Premier League until the beginning of the new campaign.

The transfer market actually opened for business in the middle of May, but now the club season has ended and players head off on their holidays, although for many they cannot escape football yet with tournaments such as the Copa América and African Cup of Nations, the transfer rumours will surge into overdrive, especially as many clubs are looking at big rebuilds.

Manchester United, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich are all in need of top players in multiple positions, while Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Atlético Madrid will be on the hunt for the extra addition of quality that could define their season for the year ahead.

Chelsea may not be in the market should they start serving their transfer ban, but plenty of money will be spent this summer, probably an unprecedented amount, meaning the continuing transfer chaos is only set to rise.

But what about Liverpool?

The newly crowned Champions of Europe for a sixth time have assembled their strongest squad in thirty years under their best manager in thirty years. Jürgen Klopp loves his players, and they love him, but he is not afraid to make big calls and big cuts to the squad if needed to continue the club’s progress under the German.

Liverpool have no need for an overhaul, and the money is there for Klopp to effectively sign whoever he wants if necessary, following Liverpool’s rapidly improving fortunes both on and off the pitch.

The likelihood is Liverpool will sign a couple of players who could become key members of the starting eleven, and two to compete and offer quality within the squad. The most important time for a team to strengthen is when they are at the top, otherwise they will have no chance of staying there.

Seven or eight players are not required, but around four additions should keep the squad hungry and fresh with new blood and new competition. Plus, there are a couple of holes within Liverpool’s squad that need addressing following the departures of certain players.

So, let’s take a look.

Goalkeeper – a number two required

In goal, Liverpool are set for years to come. Alisson, odd mistake aside, has been a resounding success in his debut season.

The Brazilian may not have produced numerous miraculous saves, usually because the defence has protected him so well, but he provides such a calm and commanding presence and is there when required, as he showcased in the Champions League final against Tottenham.

He will remain first choice for the foreseeable, but his number two, Simon Mignolet, looks set to leave after six years at Anfield. His time as number one was mixed to say the least, hence the signings of Loris Karius and then Alisson, but his professionalism and personality have been exemplary this season, providing pure positivity to the dressing room and throwing his complete support behind Alisson.

The Belgian has widespread support and respect amongst Liverpool fans and it will be sad to see him go, but he deserves to play regular football.

The likes of Adrián, released by West Ham United, Neil Etheridge of Cardiff City and former favourite Pepe Reina have all been linked, and a short-term, experienced option is the right way to go for the Reds, given Alisson’s presence and the continuing rise of Caoimhin Kelleher.

Defence – a post-Lovren future and left-sided cover?

In defence, a player who can cover both the central and left-back positions may be required if Dejan Lovren leaves the club. Linked with numerous clubs including AC Milan, the Croatian will want to be first-choice again and at Liverpool he is now clearly fourth in the pecking order, behind Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joël Matip.

Should Lovren stay, then only a left-back is needed to cover Andrew Robertson, following Alberto Moreno’s departure.

Various defenders have been mentioned, such as Diego Llorente (Real Sociedad), Nathan Ake (Bournemouth), Lloyd Kelly (now at Bournemouth) and Jamal Lewis (Norwich City), while previous names such as Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon could yet be in the frame.

Midfield – a new number ten?

In midfield, Liverpool have quality and depth, but lack an extra spark of creativity. Perhaps a returning Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or a Naby Keïta in his second season can provide that but Klopp will be on the lookout if the right player comes along.

The likes of Leicester City’s James Maddison and Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Fernandes appear too expensive for a position where they would not be guaranteed an automatic start.

Could Liverpool resurrect a deal for Lyon’s Nabil Fekir at the right price, or move for the flexible, but unpredictable Adrien Rabiot on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain?

Attack – another friend for Mané and Salah?

Finally, the most important arrival should be another flexible forward. There is no real direct alternative to Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané, with Xherdan Shaqiri, Divock Origi and Rhian Brewster all useful options but not like-for-like players, while Daniel Sturridge has left after his contract expired.

Liverpool could do with a player capable of playing across all three of the forward positions in a 4-3-3 or even all four in a 4-2-3-1. Lille’s Nicolas Pépé has been heavily linked recently but will not come cheap, with a price tag rumoured to be above £60m, while Timo Werner of RB Leipzig and Memphis Depay of Lyon have been mentioned in recent months as potential options.

Liverpool do not need much in this transfer window, but no new signings will leave the mighty Manchester City in pole position for another Premier League crown, given the depth available in their squad.

The money is there for Klopp, and more will be added through player sales, with numerous fringe players, young players and previously loaned players available and likely to go for a good price if Michael Edwards’ recent record is anything to go by.

Following the capture of one Holy Grail a fortnight ago, can Liverpool get their recruitment right again this summer to win another next May?

We will soon find out.

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