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How Liverpool will line up in 2019-20

18:21 GMT+3 02/08/2019
Harvey Elliott Jurgen Klopp Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Liverpool 2019-20
Jurgen Klopp's side have had a quiet summer but the European champions have their eye on Premier League glory this time

It feels like only yesterday we were toasting Liverpool as the champions of Europe, but the world of football moves quicker than ever these days.

And, after a summer best described as 'mixed' at Anfield, the Reds head into the new campaign with a fair few questions to answer.

A transfer window without any major deals has left many supporters concerned.

As it stands, Liverpool's only new arrivals are 17-year-old defender Sepp van den Berg and 16-year-old attacking midfielder Harvey Elliott. Neither will be expected to immediately command a place in Jurgen Klopp's starting XI.

Still, with no fewer than seven competitions up for grabs – the first of which is Sunday's Community Shield against Manchester City at Wembley – there will be opportunities for Klopp to add more silverware to the one secured so memorably in Madrid back in June.

Yet again, it promises to be quite a campaign at Anfield...

  1. Goalkeepers
  2. Defenders
  3. Midfielders
  4. Attackers
  5. Manager
  6. How Liverpool could line up

Goalkeepers

Of all the decisions Klopp has to make this season, this will be the easiest.

Alisson Becker has done nothing but impress since his move from Roma last summer, the Brazilian ending the season with the Premier League Golden Glove award after keeping 22 clean sheets in 38 matches.

He's had a good summer too, following up Champions League success with his club by helping Brazil clinch the Copa America. He starts the season not only as Liverpool's undisputed No.1, but as the third favourite to win the Ballon d'Or. He is, surely, among the world's best goalkeepers.

Behind him Simon Mignolet will continue his role as understudy, the Belgian having held the fort during the summer with Alisson late back to training after the Copa America.

Youngster Kamil Grabara has been loaned to Huddersfield, so Caoimhin Kelleher will assume the role of third choice once he returns from injury. It remains to be seen whether Andy Lonergan will be handed a contract, the veteran free agent having spent pre-season with the Reds.

Defenders

An interesting conundrum for Klopp, who has three constants in his back-line.

Full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are definites, the pair having enjoyed hugely productive seasons last time out. The Englishman and the Scot provide a constant outlet for the Reds' attacking play, though it will be interesting to see how teams look to combat this now. Certainly, the pair have looked more exposed on the counter-attack during pre-season.



In the middle, the question is who will partner Virgil van Dijk? Joel Matip finished last season strongly – "one of the best in the world" according to Klopp – but a fit-again Joe Gomez should provide stiff competition. The England international performed exceptionally alongside Van Dijk before suffering a broken leg against Burnley in December.

Dejan Lovren remains another option, having had his own fitness problems last season. The Croatian was linked with a move to AC Milan in the summer, but has stayed to fight for his place on Merseyside.

Behind him, cover comes in the shape of youngsters Ki-Jana Hoever, who made his senior debut aged 16 in January, the newly-signed Van den Berg and teenage left-back Adam Lewis. Nat Phillips is likely to be loaned out, while Nathaniel Clyne suffered a serious knee injury on the tour of the USA and will be missing for at least six months.

Midfielders

It was fascinating to watch the evolution of Liverpool's midfield last season. 

Pep Lijnders told Goal in February that one of the key aims last summer was to improve that area, and the signings of Fabinho and Naby Keita were designed to do just that.

Fabinho took longer than Keita to find his feet, but the Brazilian has now established himself as first-choice for the No.6 role. That led to a change in remit for Jordan Henderson towards the back end of the campaign, the captain asked to revert to a more attacking position, with some success.



Gini Wijnaldum and James Milner performed admirably throughout – Milner remains an option at left-back, while Wijnaldum has played on the left of the forward line in pre-season.

Add in the fit-again Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana, and the now-settled Keita, and the Reds look well-stocked in central areas even if, to be ultra-critical, they lack that one truly great attacking option. Perhaps Keita, who showed flashes of real class before a season-ending injury, can provide that in his second season at the club.

Attackers

No doubts about the make-up of Klopp's first-choice attack, but some doubts about just how fresh they will be come the season's start.

Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have all been away with their countries this summer, missing pretty much all of the Reds' pre-season as a result.

How fit can they be? They've all played a lot of football over the last two years – Mane's season, Klopp pointed out, lasted 13 months for club and country – and Liverpool remain so reliant on their form and health.



Behind them, Divock Origi has shown he is a man for big moments rather than consistent performances, while the gifted Rhian Brewster looks like he has the tools to be a Premier League player. At 19, though, patience will be needed.

Harry Wilson seems set to stay and provides potential game-changing quality off the bench. Given how few opportunities were afforded to Xherdan Shaqiri – another left-footed right-sided player – in the second half of the season, though, we should not expect too much from Wilson.

Elliott, meanwhile, could be the joker in the pack. At 16, he's the baby of the squad, but his precocious talent is there for all to see. Will he be able to impose himself in his first season on Merseyside?


Manager

How do you follow last season?

Klopp has banned questions about the Champions League, eager to move on to the next target. He wants the Premier League now, and he'd like to do a little better in the domestic cups too. He wants to turn Liverpool into a winning machine.



He will be criticised for a lack of transfer business should things not go to plan, but he would argue that he and his squad deserve to be trusted given their progress over the past four years. His faith in his players is admirable.

Tactically, he needs to ensure his team does not become too reliant on their full-backs, and find a way to add thrust and spark to his midfield, particularly at home. It will be interesting, too, to see if Liverpool's defensive solidity remains; it was upon their brilliant backline that last season's title challenge was built.

As for Klopp's own future, he says he is more than happy on Merseyside, where he is contracted until 2022. From the fans' perspective, they'd love to see that deal extended.

How Liverpool could line up