This is an opinion piece, first and foremost.
There is no proof that any of these deals will happen, although we’d be mighty disappointed if none came off…
What’s more, the combined cost of these players will likely exceed £100m, which with less deadwood to offload than last summer, will be difficult for Liverpool.
However, if we collect £50m-odd from the sales of Daniel Sturridge, Mamadou Sakho and Lazar Markovic (to name but a few), our summer war-chest will look a little larger – especially considering Jurgen Klopp has a negative net-spend since arriving at the club.
So, here are the five players that could enable us to challenge domestically and in the Champions League. (Note: our targets will be very different if only qualify for the Europa League…)
CB – Virgil van Dijk
If there’s one thing LFC can do in the transfer market, it’s buy Southampton’s best players. We’ve proven that time and time again. Van Dijk’s top drawer. Strong, quick, composed and the perfect age. Our best chance of acquiring him will be if he throws his toys out of the pram, much like Dejan Lovren once did to join us.
DL – Sead Kolasinac
The brutish Serbian is out of contract in the summer and it could be that following our Bosman acquisition of Joel Matip in 2016, we could break Schalke hearts again with an approach for Kolasinac. He’s a hard, no-nonsense defender, who’s naturally left-footed – and would be great in competition with James Milner. If we can fix the left-back position without spending any money, all the better.
DM – Naby Keita
A mighty ambitious target, this one. Keita is interesting Bayern Munich, Arsenal and others, and Red Bull Leipzig are claiming they don’t want to sell. However, our interest has been publicised and it’s clear the Guinean possesses the kind of traits our midfield requires. He’s got tremendous box-to-box energy, defensive quality, but also provides a creative spark in the final third. He’s like N’Golo Kante with goals and assists. If we don’t go all out for Keita now, we’ll never get him.
AMRL – Julian Brandt
A likely target, providing we get Champions League. Brandt’s Leverkusen team won’t finish in the European positions and he has a release clause which can be activated in 2018 – meaning if they want a tidy profit – they’ll need to offload this summer. Stylistically, he’s perfect. Quick, hungry, aggressive and has bags of rooms to improve.
FC – Alexandre Lacazette
This one can only happen if Atletico Madrid’s transfer ban holds up. The Spaniards have an agreement with the Frenchman to join, according to COPE, but only if the Court of Arbitration for Sport retract their ban – which theoretically will stop them from buying players this summer. Lacazette bags goals for fun at Lyon, having notched 166 in total for the French – all before his 26th birthday. Would be mighty expensive, but we need a clinical striker who can score us 20 league goals a season. All our rivals have one. If we aim lower than Lacazette, we won’t be improving on what we already have.