Covid-19 stoppage aside, it’s looking for all the world as if Liverpool will have a Premier League title to defend when 2020/21 kicks off.
As much as fans might want Kylian Mbappe, Jadon Sancho, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and every exciting young attack-minded player to arrive at Anfield and aid their bid to do so, however, it’s looking as if they are in for another quiet summer.
Even before the global crisis took hold and threatened to slash transfer spending right across the continent, 90min‘s understanding was that the Reds aren’t actively on the lookout for any blockbusting deals – instead striving to minimise disruption and keep the current group together.
So, ahead of another summer which promises to underwhelm the fantasists, let’s put the transfer rumours to one side, and have a look at some of the invariably overlooked players within the current ranks who could save the Anfield hierarchy a few quid when the window opens.
Adrian’s Liverpool career started out oh so well after his ‘marquee’ arrival on a free transfer last summer, but after his costly showing against Atlético Madrid just before the break, the unforgiving calls to sign a new, more reliable backup to Alisson have re-emerged.
Let’s be realistic on this one, though – unless Adrian leaves, which is unlikely in itself, Liverpool probably aren’t going to go out and sign another keeper.
Especially not when they’ve got one they rate oh-so highly currently in the midst of a steep learning curve at Huddersfield. He’ll return to Anfield a better and more accomplished player, even if there have been some shaky moments, and having him available could well sink any lingering prospect of a new keeper coming in the door.
This is probably a good time to point out that Loris Karius still exists too.
Sepp van den Berg
He hasn’t quite been the most impressive of Liverpool’s merry band of prodigious youngsters this season, but Klopp – a former central defender – clearly sees something in young Sepp.
He’s featured heavily in the cups and has spent the season intermittently learning from Virgil van Dijk, and while the thinking is that Liverpool will seek out a replacement for Dejan Lovren should he leave the club this summer, the reality is that they may not have to.
With Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all pretty excellent senior options, it might well be the time to dip into the youth ranks and pick out a new fourth-choice centre-back. If Van den Berg shows he’s ready, he’ll be in contention.
Two undisputed facts: 1. Liverpool need cover at left-back, and 2. it’s going to be mightily difficult for them to sign an accomplished player happy to live off the scraps Andy Robertson leaves behind.
If only they had an explosive young defender with the ready-made physical attributes, attacking competence and defensive nous to step up and provide some lasting and energetic cover.
Oh wait: Andy Robertson and having finally fought off his longstanding injury issues, he’ll be champing at the bit to earn his way up the pecking order this summer.
Grujic has been a desperately unlucky man. Throughout his loan spells with Cardiff and Hertha Berlin since 2018, he has steadily improved into a fearsome, physically-imposing defensive midfielder, with the ability to make an impact on virtually any squad in Europe outside of the very, very best.
It just so happens that, while he’s been doing so, Liverpool have transformed themselves into just that – one of, if not the, very, very best.
Still, all hope is not lost for the highly-rated Serb. While Jordan Henderson’s impeccable work is an adequate stand-in, the Reds do lack a natural alternative to the diligent, deep-lying set to leave, there is likely to be a midfield berth going spare. Could there be one more chance?
Some names need introduction; Curtis Jones does not.
He’s the fuzzy-haired Scouser with the cojones to step up and bury the winning penalty against Arsenal, and the unbridled, uncontainable ability to win a Merseyside Derby by himself with a brain-melting curler into the top corner.
With nine senior appearances this season, the 19-year-old has already started racking up the minutes, and of all the players on this list, he’s the one you would pencil in as guaranteed to pick up an increased role within the first team next season.
He’s just turned 17 last month, and plays for a team in which Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané are the starting wingers, yet Elliott’s impression in his debut season at Anfield has left some fans disappointed he hasn’t featured more.
It’s hard to overstate how ludicrously, freakishly, generationally good at football he is.
A league debut against Sheffield United back in January was little more than a token gesture, but if we don’t see him again before the season resumes, then you know he’ll be knocking on Klopp’s door during pre-season, looking to multiply his tally of senior minutes.
To say Brewster has been ‘banging them in’ since joining Swansea on loan is perhaps overstating it, but he’s been a steady source of goals and inspiration for the Swans since January.
He has netted four times in his 11 appearances so far, and is yet to go three matches without getting himself on the scoresheet. He’s shown he has maturity beyond his years, while his five bookings so far would suggest he has a fire in his belly, and it looks as if he has all the hallmarks of a striker who will make his mark when given a meaningful chance in Klopp’s first team.
He’s had to wait patiently – injury issues have made sure of that – but if the Reds are on the lookout for someone to take the load off Roberto Firmino this summer, and a move for Timo Werner proves unviable, then they should look no further than the kid running the show in South Wales.
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