An ideal scenario would see the lovable footballing cliche ‘like a new signing’ boasted on three separate occasions this summer as three Liverpool stars emerge from the wings ready to put difficult starts behind them and finally thrive on the Anfield stage.
While Jurgen Klopp takes full advantage of the club record transfer budget he has at his disposal, three Reds will be eyeing up an opportunity to add to the fierce competition for places and reestablish themselves as valuable options to their manager.
Liverpool’s transfer policy seemingly revolves around a desire to strengthen the spine of the team and while summer arrivals will undoubtedly do just that, the club already has an unproven trio capable of addressing this need.
The 2017/2018 campaign represents the time for Danny Ings, Joe Gomez and Marko Grujic to begin making a name for themselves on Merseyside, providing things go to plan.
All three have endured torrid periods with injury setbacks and limited playing time but could all enter the new season fully fit and ready to contribute.
Ings, perhaps more so than Gomez and Grujic, faces a crucial year as he primarily looks to show Klopp what he is capable of and, in turn, do enough to convince him that his future is with Liverpool.
The striker has been plagued by injury since signing from Burnley in 2015, suffering season-ending ligament damage to his right knee in October’s EFL Cup win over Tottenham, having also missed most of the season before due to a similar injury to his left knee. With Klopp in charge, he is promised a chance and rightly so.
Liverpool’s lack of strength in depth cost them dearly last season with Adam Lallana recently outlining just how big a loss Ings was during a tough period following the turn of the year. The 24-year-old’s limited involvement has been made all the more frustrating by how suited he is to Klopp’s high intensity football and the interchanging he demands from his front three. The movement in behind, tendency to occupy the channels and the work ethic is there for him to become a useful attacking resource.
His spell on the sidelines has also not only reaffirmed his dedication but unearthed a leadership, evidenced by how supportive he was during Gomez’s lengthy injury layoff. Assessing his future at the club seems unfair after only 11 appearances since signing. He is a front-man few opposition defences will initially know what to expect from and how to setup against and the kind of alternative and more conventional goalscorer this club was crying out for at times earlier this year.
With so much attention being on fresh faces and current first team regulars, he has the chance to play with freedom, without pressure and with a simple objective of scoring goals. To play for the U23s without complaining and with so much drive earlier this season is the sign of a man who will do whatever it takes to be a success at this club. His technical ability his side, the approach alone makes him worthy of the faith Klopp has shown in him.
A multidimensional 19-year-old defender with time on his side, playing under a manager devoted to bringing through youth players and with minutes in the Premier League already under his belt- a perfect scenario. The likely arrival of a new centre-back will make Gomez’s fight for a start slightly more difficult but by no means diminish his chances of being a regular in years to come.
The knee injury he picked up in 2015 cruelly hampered his eye-opening start to life at Liverpool, with the youngster shining at left-back under Brendan Rodgers and already showcasing the kind of physical and technical attributes many believe will see him become a prominent figure under Klopp. He has been understandably eased back in over the past few months but has still managed to consistently impress in the U23s as well as feature for the first team in cup games on a few occasions.
Liverpool’s inevitably busy 2017/2018 schedule assures him more playing time, much to the delight of the supporters that remain so excited by how many millions of pounds he has the potential to save the club. A raw talent with the traits, once polished, to make him a star.
A sparkling pre-season from Grujic saw the Serbian hailed as a future box-to-box midfield asset. Analysis surrounding where summer target Naby Keita might fit in at Liverpool and who might make way for him has rarely considered Grujic as a contender to be a part of Klopp’s midfield trio. Combining his power, sheer height and athleticism with that of Emre Can and the more notable finesse of Georginio Wijnaldum or Adam Lallana hints at a formidable midfield force capable of implementing the physicality the modern day Premier League demands.
He’s adventurous, strong, technically sound, has an eye for goal and Klopp loves him. Don’t be surprised to see him not only feature in cup competitions but the league as well next season.
Goals, grace and grit? This trio has it all. Having each of them fit reinforces the spine of the team even before spending a penny.