Liverpool are set for a summer rebuild after missing out on Champions League football for the 2023/24 season.
In the end it was a disappointing campaign for Jurgen Klopp’s side, despite their late resurgence. The German coach will now be looking to bolster his squad ahead of August’s starting pistol in an effort to avoid a similarly-underwhelming season.
With four voids already confirmed in Roberto Firmino, James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Klopp is in for a busy summer working with his scouts and the club’s new scouting director.
Jorg Schmadtke was as Liverpool’s latest sporting director in May following the departure of Julian Ward, and he has a huge task on his hands reshaping the club’s future following their failure to reach the Champions League.
Although the Reds’ rebuilding process is underway after securing the services of Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton and Dominik Szoboszlai from RB Leipzig, the window is still very young, so more business could yet be done.
Combining strong rumours, bookmakers’ favourites and a couple of our own left-field suggestions, we’ve looked at who else Liverpool could sign this summer…
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Indeed, central midfielders appear to be high on Klopp’s agenda this summer, and any potential shopping spree could once again lead the Reds to the South Coast. A perennial pillager of Southampton talent, Liverpool are now monitoring Romeo Lavia’s situation, according to The Times.
The teenage spark was a beacon of consistency and inspiration in an otherwise damaging campaign for the relegated club. That he impressed as much as he did — with his reputation further pronounced by his debut for Belgium — for the Premier League’s basement club only adds to his wonder.
Tenacious, sophisticated and mature beyond his years, Lavia will be hot property this summer.
Although Liverpool appear to have plenty of options in the final third, Chiesa would certainly provide Klopp with another welcome selection headache.
Following a lengthy injury lay-off, the winger demonstrated glimpses of his quality at the back end of a torrid season for Juventus, who were forced to settle for a place in next year’s Europa Conference League.
Without the lure of Champions League football, the Bianconeri are likely to see several big names depart Turin, and Calciomercato are reporting the club will allow Chiesa to leave for £51million. Corriere dello Sport have added to those reports, claiming Liverpool are among those interested in signing Chiesa.
Real Madrid and Chelsea are also reportedly keen on the Euro 2020 winner, who would also provide versatility for the Reds.
Another option for the Reds might be Barella, with The Mirror reporting Inter want £68million to lure their midfielder away from San Siro.
The Italy international was part of the Nerazzurri side that reached the Champions League final, narrowly losing out to Manchester City. And he would add droves of creativity to the middle of the Anfield park.
At the moment, Newcastle appear to be leading the race for Barella but the Magpies may have to pull out of any potential deal due to tight Financial Fair Play regulations and their dreams of signing Sandro Tonali. So the door could be open for Liverpool.
It was revealed in May by French publication L’Equipe that Benjamin Pavard is looking for an exit from Bayern Munich this summer. The French defender will see his present deal at the Allianz Arena expire next summer, and the suggestion is that he has no intention of renewing.
That could open up a bidding war this summer, and according to The Mirror, Liverpool are one of those thought to be chalking their hands ahead of the inevitable tug-of-war. A potential arrival would uncertainly bring a defensive emphasis to Klopp’s backline, but what of Trent Alexander-Arnold?
There has long been a suggestion of moving the England right-back into midfield and this transfer could facilitate such a transition. Whether Klopp would reshuffle his entire structure remains to be seen, but the potential arrival of Pavard would allow him further scope for experimentation.
In case it wasn’t clear by this list, Liverpool really need a central midfield overhaul. The latest name to be linked with a move to Liverpool is Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde, with reports in Spain from El Nacional claiming the Reds made an offer of £77m for the Uruguayan last month.
Valverde has often been the man to miss out in Real Madrid’s midfield trio, played out of position at right-wing so Los Blancos can accommodate Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Eduardo Camavinga, and previously Casemiro. The Uruguayan now has Jude Bellingham to contest a spot with for the upcoming season, which explains why some are linking him with a move away.
However, amid reports of a move to Chelsea earlier this summer, Valverde stated his desire to stay at Real Madrid, saying: “No, no, I am at Real Madrid. I try to enjoy and value every moment. I want to leave my mark on this team, which is the best in the world, and also continue to win titles for the fans.”
Son of the legendary Lilian Thuram and brother to Inter star Marcus, Khephren comes from good stock, and the burgeoning wonder of his talent is already starting to manifest itself on the French Riviera, where his performances for Nice have culminated in a senior cap for France.
Tall, powerful but deceptively lithe on the ball, Khephren Thuram has the biological make-up of a rugby prop but masquerades as a football playmaker. That marriage of strength and skill makes him a very unique midfield proposition, and one you feel could be moulded into a truly elite level under Klopp.
There are suggestions the 22-year-old might still be a little raw for the hustle and bustle of Premier League football, not to mention to high demands of Klopp’s system, but with the right care and tutelage, he could develop into a midfielder of utterly ferocious depth and substance.
Also, keep an eye out for Ryan Gravenberch. The elegant midfielder has struggled for significant game time at the Allianz Arena since trading Ajax for the Bavarians, and Liverpool could offer him an escape hatch.
Young, hard-working and talent-laden, Gravenberch has all the attributes to thrive in a Klopp midfield. Having hailed from the Ajax doctrine of permanent attack and passing ingenuity, he certainly has the visionary lens to enhance Liverpool’s midfield potential.
He is another who, if given time and the right environment, could develop into a world-class talent.
Three ways Liverpool could line up under Jurgen Klopp in 2023-24
The Italian Job
Klopp is unlikely to tinker with his preferred 4-3-3 formation too much, thus providing plenty of competition for places.
The arrivals of Barella and Chiesa would add Italian flair to Liverpool’s already exciting style of play.
Trent into midfield
One of Klopp’s inspired moves last season was the decision to shift Alexander-Arnold into a central midfield role.
This enhanced the England international’s attacking exploits, and the potential arrival of Pavard may open the door for that to be facilitated on a more frequent basis this term.
The false nine
For Klopp, the lack of goals last season would have been concerning. Salah endured a modest campaign by his standards with 19, with the outgoing Firmino his nearest challenger on 11.
That is just one more than Mac Allister recorded for Brighton in the Premier League last term, and the attacking midfielder could be deployed in the false nine role that would also encourage the likes of Barella and Thuram to express their attacking qualities.