Following on from last nights show, here’s my thoughts on the ins and outs this summer. And like the lads, I’m sure this will be a BIG summer.
First, let’s deal with those being moved on. You’re looking at (and this of course is only my opinion):
Ben Davies, Joel Matip, Neco Williams, Xherdan Shaqiri, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Harry Wilson, Ben Woodburn, Naby Keita, Divock Origi, and Bobby Firmino. Gini has already gone so we don’t need to worry about him - he’s already agreed his contract with Barca.
I actually think we’ll keep Nat Phillips as a 5th choice centre back, so we’ll have Virgil, Gomez, Kabak, Konate and Phillips as our CB options.
I also think we’ll keep Marko Gruic, and, hopefully, look to promote him and use him as the support for Fabinho in the 6, keeping Henderson for the 8, alongside Thiago, Jones and Milner.
Honestly, I think Klopp’s eyes have been opened these past few months, and he’s grown increasingly frustrated with a number of the players under-performing, or not being able to carry out his instructions. There will be a number of players moved on. Klopp has a ruthless streak, and I believe we’ll see it this summer.
Moving onto incomings, because we all know Klopp doesn’t like a larger squad, so I don’t think we’ll see as many come in, as we will leave.
I believe there will be maybe 3 new signings, possibly 4, not including Kabak or Konate (so 5 or 6 in total). Aside from the 2 centre backs, I think we’ll sign a new midfielder such as a Declan Rice (who can play both central midfield and centre back if needed!), or a Hassam Aouar, a new experienced right back as cover for Trent. Neco Williams isn’t ready for this level. We need someone who is.
As for the last two, I honestly think we’ll be looking for 2 more front players. There’s been noises reported from FSG about going in hard for Jadon Sancho, and what FSG want, they usually get. As far as transfers go. So Sancho is one, but he’s a wide player, he could play on the right if/when we play Salah up top.
Alongside Sancho, having moved Firmino on, we will need a number 9. One that can actually score. The Newcastle game will have made that point abundantly clear. To that end, I think we will go for an out and our goal scorer. Someone who knows where the onion bag is.
We have to factor in we may not have Champions League football next season, so our expectations of players we may be able to land will have to be lowered. So to that end, personally I’d go for someone like Andrea Belotti from Torino.
Belotti is 27. So he’s in his prime. He’s currently Torino’s captain, so potentially has the leadership qualities we need more of on the pitch. He has a club career total so far of 134 goals in 328 games, or 1 goal in every 2.5 games.
But then look at Mo Salah, before he joined us. Look at Fernando Torres before he joined us. Their goals to games ratio wasn’t much better. Belotti, I believe, like so many others before him, would shine here, being fed balls by Salah, by Mane, by Jota, by Thiago.... Belotti’s goal ratio would increase I’m sure of that.
If not Belotti, then there’s plenty of others in a similar vein that will be available for one reason or another. But we need a pure goal scoring number 9. Someone with that lethal eye for goal. Someone like a Rush, Fowler, Owen, Torres or Suarez.
What we don’t need, sorry Bobby, is another Bobby Firmino. We don’t need another number 9 that plays more as a central attacking midfielder and tries to link play. There should be other options for that. We need a striker, to be a striker. So I personally would go for Belotti.
Whether any, or all, of this will actually happen..... only three people know - Klopp, Edwards and FSG. Whatever does happen, it’s sure to be an exciting summer with lots of transfer business. And we’ll all need to hold on by the seat of our pants!