It promises to be an interesting summer of transfer activity at Anfield. Brendan Rodgers will be looking to replace a whole host of departing players, potentially including the much-discussed contract rebel, Raheem Sterling.
Already heading out the exit door is club captain Steven Gerrard, who is set to join LA Galaxy, as well as out of contract trio Glen Johnson, Kolo Toure and Brad Jones. With players such as Rickie Lambert, Fabio Borini and Mario Balotelli tipped to follow them (via The Metro), it could be a busy few months of departures.
Below, we predict how our first-choice XI could look next season as a result – without the addition of any new signings – and speculate over the areas we are subsequently most likely to strengthen in.
GK) Simon Mignolet
The Belgian has thoroughly re-established himself as our number one since the turn of the year, putting in a series of fine performances that could still see him crowned the Premier League’s golden glove winner. He can expect to receive some stronger competition next season, with someone likely to come in and replace the departing Jones, but it would be foolish to think that Mignolet won’t at least start next season as first choice.
RB) Emre Can
Glen Johnson’s imminent departure and Jon Flanagan’s latest injury setback have left us very short in the full-back department. Emre Can would surely love the opportunity to play in his more natural central midfield position but until someone else comes in that simply isn’t going to happen. We do have Javier Manquillo, about to enter the second-half of his two-year loan deal from Atletico Madrid, but we certainly need a more established name.
CB) Martin Skrtel
The Slovakian is one of the very few experienced heads left in this Liverpool side, so his role is going to become even more imperative next season. With the defender entering the final year of his contract, it’s crucial that we make the most of him ahead of his possible departure – both in helping ready the young guard and with his performances on the pitch. It will be interesting to see if another old head comes in to replace Kolo Toure.
CB) Mamadou Sakho
Sakho will reignite his battle with Dejan Lovren for the second central defensive spot. The Frenchman had a very solid run of performances during the early part of 2015 but otherwise it’s been a fairly disappointing first two years on Merseyside, dominated by fitness issues. We know that he’s got the capabilities to be a fine player and one of the ‘leaders’ that we are looking for, so it’s important that he reminds us all of that come the start of next season.
LB) Alberto Moreno
The youngster remains the obvious choice at left-back, with Jose Enrique having barely featured over the last two seasons. Again, with Flanagan out and Johnson going, it seems clear that we’re shot in the full-back positions. Perhaps Andre Wisdom, currently on loan at West Brom, could play some part next season, however we’d ideally be looking to sign at least one new player.