How could Liverpool line up next season with several different summer signings?
Liverpool approach the summer transfer window in fine shape after a superb season which saw them agonisingly lose out in the Premier League title race by just a single point.
Jurgen Klopp’s men lost just one league game all season but it was enough for defending champions Manchester City to reclaim their crown.
The Reds still have the Champions League final against Tottenham to look forward to, while a raft of new arrivals in the upcoming window has been ruled out.
However, the German manager previously suggested he wouldn’t spend big before shelling out £75million on Virgil van Dijk last summer – so don’t be surprised to see a couple of new faces at Anfield next season, but how could they fit in?
Matthijs de Ligt and Antoine Griezmann
Liverpool employed a 4-3-3 formation for much of the 2018/19 campaign, with a holding player and two box-to-box midfielders supporting their dynamic front three.
Little is expected to change in terms of shape next season, although world class personnel could slot straight into the first-choice XI if the club hierarchy choose to splash the cash.
Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt is attracting attention from Manchester United and Barcelona but would provide an ideal partner for Van Dijk in central defence and could be available for as little as £67m – the same amount team-mate Frenkier de Jong cost Barca.
The Dutchman would move ahead of Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren in the pecking order at Anfield, although the Reds are unlikely to shift from their preferred four-man defence.
Jurgen Klopp could sign Matthijs de Ligt as a partner for Virgil van Dijk
Meanwhile, Antoine Griezmann has announced he will leave Atletico Madrid this summer and is considering his options with several European giants prepared to pay his £108m release clause.
Barcelona is believed to be his intended destination, although a dramatic U-turn could take place if the Catalan giants decide to target Sadio Mane instead or Real Madrid come in for the Senegalese forward.
Mane has been vital to Liverpool this season, earning a share of the Premier League Golden Boot with 22 strikes, but his firepower could be replaced on the left flank by the World Cup-winning Griezmann.
(4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, De Ligt, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Salah, Griezmann, Firmino
The Reds would be greatly strengthened by the arrivals of De Ligt and Antoine Griezmann
Injuries forced Klopp’s hand at certain stages during the past year, leading to a change in formation dictated by the personnel available.
With Roberto Firmino ruled out of the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona, Liverpool utilised a diamond formation with Naby Keita at the tip of the midfield.
Firmino has the ability to play that deeper No 10 role and may drop back if the Reds sign an out-and-out striker such as Timo Werner.
The German has been a long-standing transfer target of several Premier League clubs and would be a statement signing to partner Mohamed Salah in attack, if Mane moves on.
(4-1-2-1-2): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho; Henderson, Wijnaldum; Firmino; Salah, Werner
Timo Werner’s arrival could see a switch to two up front
One criticism that has been levelled at Liverpool this season has been a lack of creativity from their midfield trio.
Made up of a combination of Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Naby Keita, the engine room has plenty of legs but is lacking a creative spark.
While the returning Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could provide some much-needed invention, Express Sport understands Joao Felix is on the Reds’ radar and would be a headline signing.
The Portuguese youngster would allow more flexibility in the Reds attack and could sit in a No 10 role behind Firmino if Mane departs.
(4-2-3-1): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Shaqiri, Felix, Salah; Firmino
Joao Felix would add more creativity to the Liverpool squad and provide greater attacking depth
Reports from France suggest Liverpool are showing an interest in Lyon wonderkid Houssem Aouar, with the 20-year-old offering more balance to the Reds midfield.
A host of other European clubs are said to be battling for the Frenchman, who could fit straight into the Reds’ starting XI.
Adrien Rabiot is another option and is available on a free, although it seems unlikely Liverpool will bolster their already packed midfield unless players leave.
Adam Lallana is one such star who could be heading for the exit, freeing up space on the wage bill although significant funds may have to be raised in order to table a bid for Aouar.
(4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Aouar, Wijnaldum; Salah, Mane, Firmino
Houssem Aouar would provide even more competition in the Liverpool midfield