Liverpool are set to embrace some serious change this summer following the addition of Brighton and Hove Albion’s Alexis Mac Allister.
The Argentine, signed for a reported £35m (according to Fabrizio Romano), is the first man to walk through the doors of the AXA training centre – though he most certainly won’t be the last.
The Reds’ plans moving forward have been clear for some time now: bolster the midfield and, if possible, the backline.
Khephren Thuram and Manu Kone are two names who have caught the imagination of Liverpool fans following a spate of reports, with the former of the two looking the most likely of the French pair to follow Mac Allister to Merseyside.
With that in mind, we scoured through a number of reports to try and build as accurate a picture of what Liverpool’s midfield could look like at the start of the 2023/24 campaign.
You’ll have to excuse our usage of a FIFA FUT 23 squad builder (oooooh look at the pretty colours!) but here’s the starting-XI we reckon Jurgen Klopp could call upon on the first day of the season:
It’s a little harsh of us to have left out the likes of Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson, perhaps even the likes of Calvin Ramsay and Fabio Carvalho too before a proper pre-season. In fact, it’s worth pointing out that the skipper will most likely be present for the first clash of 2023/24.
Let’s be honest, though, everyone loves to visualise brand-spanking new signings in the squad ahead of a new season!
Alexis Mac Allister is the man who instantly improves the starting-XI and we’ve slotted him straight into our captain’s right central midfield spot.
This might not make the most of sense to those used to watching him ply his trade at the Amex Stadium week to week – having been primarily utilised on the opposing side of the pitch and linking up superbly with Moises Caicedo and Pervis Estupinan – though we can’t see why his skill-set wouldn’t be just as useful on the right.
Presuming that Klopp sticks with a 3-box-3 formation from the prior term, the World Cup winner will arguably benefit from the switch, given that the right-hand side becomes offensively minded when Liverpool are in possession.
Also, as a side note, can anyone imagine our German tactician handing Curtis Jones a subs bib if he carries his positive performances into the next year? We certainly don’t.
Don’t expect just offensive output from our £35m signing, though. The 24-year-old is perfectly capable of contributing to Klopp’s aggressive pressing system, forcing errors as part of a high-pressing line, effectively replacing Henderson’s once dynamic legs.
We appreciate the rest of the starting-XI is a little boring (from a transfer perspective), though the subs bench is where things start to get a little interesting…
Did someone say… new signings?
Helloooooooooo Micky van de Ven, Manu Kone and Khephren Thuram.
As exciting as the idea of whacking every new midfielder we purchase this summer into the starting-XI is, we just can’t see Klopp being quite so gung-ho without an injury crisis of epic proportions to motivate him.
That’s not to say the likes of our potential new French duo couldn’t work their way into the ex-Borussia Dortmund man’s plans later in the season, of course!
Boasting impressive physical attributes and positional versatility, we could see Thuram posing an interesting question in terms of where to pin him down on a more permanent basis.
Theoretically, the 22-year-old could thrive in a holding midfield role, though the presence of the superb Stefan Bajcetic could throw a spanner in the works in that regard.
Kone, by contrast, is considered more of a work-in-progress, though that hasn’t stopped our recruitment team from committing before, and we’d welcome more of a “project” signing should we sign another relatively readymade player of a similar, if not identical, ilk to Mac Allister.
There’s another WIP in Wolfsburg’s Micky van de Ven. Yes, that Wolfsburg – Jorg Schmadtke’s old club.
The word on the street (see Fabrizio Romano’s update here) is that Liverpool are looking for a left-footed centre-back. What a fortuitous coincidence, then, that Van de Ven should fit the bill.
Also aged 22 (what is it with Liverpool and links to 22-year-olds this summer?), there’s plenty of scope for Klopp and Co. to work their magic and transform the Bundesliga-dwelling Dutchman (a match made in heaven for Pep Lijnders and Schmadtke, one might say) into the next big thing in Liverpool’s backline.
Let’s face it: we don’t have the financial flexibility to throw down with the big boys at the table for Josko Gvardiol. Not whilst the midfield rightfully remains a priority, so Liverpool will be buying someone that screams WIP.
That’s not to suggest we’re short on options for left-footed centre-backs – see Chelsea’s Levi Colwill and Sporting CP’s Goncalo Inacio, for example – though, as things currently stand, we’d argue that Van de Ven seems the likeliest avenue we’ll pursue.