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Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Liverpool Maintain or Dump: Salah, Van Dijk, Núñez to maneuver on?

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It is a huge summer time at Liverpool as a result of a lot has modified. It isn’t simply Jurgen Klopp transferring on after practically 9 seasons, but in addition on the very prime of the membership, with Michael Edwards and Julian Ward returning and Richard Hughes coming in as sporting director. Edwards, beforehand sporting director, comes again as chief govt of soccer, whereas Julian Ward, who succeeded Edwards as sporting director, is now technical director for all of Fenway Sports activities Group (FSG), Liverpool’s proprietor.

It isn’t only a query of titles, both. Ward and Edwards had been hailed because the architects of among the membership’s most profitable switch campaigns, providing the yin to Klopp’s yang. After they left, the ability shifted to the supervisor, and with Klopp gone and a relatively inexperienced Arne Slot coming in as supervisor, it feels as if that is partly a re-balancing.

FSG had been keen to place up all or a part of the membership on the market not way back, promoting a minority stake to Dynasty Fairness in September, and a few will conclude that may be a signal they need to keep away from huge transfers and search for worth as an alternative. Which may be true, however there may be undoubtedly room to speculate whereas staying inside revenue and sustainability guidelines (PSR) given the membership has mainly operated at breakeven up to now few seasons.

They could want that room, too. There’s a ton of uncertainty on this squad, beginning with the three gamers who develop into free brokers in lower than a yr: Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold. Salah and Van Dijk — given their service to the membership — will seemingly be given loads of latitude and the ability to make their very own selections. Alexander-Arnold is extra intriguing, given the opposite two are effectively into their 30s. He is simply 25, he has had his ups and downs, he is the native child made good and optics matter. And but, for him to be simplest, the system has to cater to him.

Defensive midfield can also be a serious query mark, and whereas there’s loads of depth in some roles, there’s far much less in others. And, after all, any resolution must be made with Slot’s preferences and elegance of play in thoughts. He shares a few of Klopp’s outlook on soccer, however there are additionally vital variations.

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Editor’s notice: That is the third on this yr’s sequence, Maintain or Dump, over the approaching weeks on which gamers to maintain, prolong and transfer on from for all the highest golf equipment within the Premier League and Europe. Discover the Man Metropolis model right here and the Arsenal model right here.


KEEP/DUMP GROUND RULES

Bear in mind: That is our evaluation of what we expect the membership ought to do, participant for participant, with the squad at their disposal. It is not what we expect they are going to really do, although generally the 2 will align. That stated, we take note of what we all know of the membership, teaching workers and participant preferences, in addition to their monetary state of affairs and some other elements that we expect will affect personnel strikes.

The place we disagree, or the place we expect our rationale is price explaining, we have famous under.


GOALKEEPERS

Alisson (31 years outdated, contract expires in 2027)

Verdict: Maintain

Caoimhín Kelleher (25, 2026)

Ogden: He is an distinctive backup who deserves greater than the wages he is getting as a reserve keeper. However extending him means giving him “starter cash,” and you may’t try this when you’ve a beginning keeper like Alisson who will likely be round some time.

Marcotti: He performed fairly a bit this yr with Alisson’s damage, however previous to that, it was 21 appearances in 5 years. He is 25 now, and also you assume he desires to play usually. He is extremely rated, however it will be a difficult summer time. There are solely 20 beginning keepers jobs within the Premier League and possibly one other 20 throughout Europe that pay Premier League wages. A lot of these aren’t going to be open, and we expect one other prime keeper who’s at present backup, Aaron Ramsdale, will likely be in the marketplace as effectively.

Verdict: Transfer on

Adrián (37, 2024)

Marcotti: The one state of affairs the place he stays is that if Kelleher strikes on and also you give him an additional yr to be third selection. However studies are that he’ll depart as he desires to play just a few extra years earlier than he retires, and you may perceive why.

Verdict: Transfer on

DEFENDERS

Trent Alexander-Arnold (25 years outdated, contract expires in 2025)

Ogden: Work out what he is price to the membership when it comes to how Slot can use him, after which make him a agency supply. If he dithers and threatens to let his contract run down, then transfer him. You might have Conor Bradley coming by way of anyway, who’s a extra conventional right-back.

Marcotti: He offers you a lot along with his passing, set items and creativity, you work there must be a solution to match him into the staff. Perhaps there is a solution to put him at right-back in a scheme the place his defensive deficiencies aren’t so evident, or possibly he matches into central midfield, the place he performed coming by way of the ranks.

It’s important to defer to Slot, but in addition not overcommit when it comes to contract. And, I feel, be open to affords if they arrive in, realising that with a yr left on his deal, he could have a ton of leverage.

Verdict: Maintain and prolong, however take heed to affords

play

2:27

Why Liverpool have a ‘large name’ to make on Alexander-Arnold’s future

Mark Ogden and Gab Marcotti debate Trent Alexander-Arnold’s future at Liverpool below Arne Slot.

Ibrahima Konaté (24, 2026)

Ogden: His degree dropped a bit within the second half of the season, however he is an outstanding defender. And given Van Dijk’s age and contract state of affairs, it’s important to give him a long-term deal.

Verdict: Maintain and prolong

Andy Robertson (30, 2026)

Ogden: You clearly preserve him, however he must show his health first, particularly since he is now 30. Give it six months after which resolve in January whether or not you are going to prolong.

Marcotti: Positive, he has had accidents and since he depends on his athleticism, that is going to be a priority. However he has been such a loyal servant to the membership that I feel it is vital to ship a message about continuity. Prolong him by a yr and if you happen to’re not joyful, look to shift him subsequent summer time. No less than that method, you keep his switch worth considerably and an additional yr will not make a distinction.

Verdict: Cut up between preserve/don’t prolong, and preserve/prolong a yr

Joe Gomez (2, 2027)

Verdict: Maintain

Virgil van Dijk (32, 2025)

Marcotti: I feel we will be grown-ups right here. He is coming off a productive season, however he is 33 this summer time and the second-highest paid participant on the membership after Salah. See what Slot says, however if you happen to sit down with Van Dijk and inform him that, at finest, you can provide him a one-year deal if he is match and joyful in January, I doubt he’ll sulk. He is an expert. If he is joyful, he’ll keep, if not he’ll depart as a free agent. It isn’t as if by providing him to different golf equipment now, at his age, you are going to get a lot again.

Verdict: Maintain, however don’t prolong

Kostas Tsimikas (28, 2027)

Ogden: Time to money in whilst you nonetheless can. You may get at the very least £10 million for him.

Marcotti: Until he desires to maneuver or there is a left-back Slot is determined to herald, I see no cause to maneuver him on. He is completely different from Robertson, and I feel he is professional.

Verdict: Cut up between transferring him on and preserving him

Conor Bradley (20, 2027)

Verdict: Maintain

Jarell Quansah (21, 2027)

Verdict: Maintain

Joël Matip (32, 2024)

Verdict: Transfer on

Rhys Williams (23, 2026, on mortgage at Aberdeen and Port Vale)

Marcotti: He has been very unfortunate with accidents and has hardly performed up to now 18 months. Get him match and see if he can begin once more elsewhere on mortgage.

Verdict: Mortgage out

Sepp van den Berg (22, 2026, on mortgage at Mainz)

Marcotti: He began all season lengthy at Mainz and confirmed he generally is a stable top-flight participant. I feel you get enter from Slot right here. If he thinks he will be helpful as a fourth central defender, preserve him round and prolong his deal. If not, transfer him — he might usher in upward of £10m — earlier than he enters the ultimate yr of his deal.

Verdict: Transfer on

Calvin Ramsay (20, 2027, on mortgage at Preston North Finish and Bolton Wanderers)

Ogden: One other participant, like Williams, who has been unfortunate with accidents. He has been out for many of the previous two seasons. He is nonetheless younger and was extremely rated, so the perfect factor you are able to do is get him match after which ship him on mortgage.

Verdict: Mortgage out

Nathaniel Phillips (27, 2026, on mortgage at Celtic and Cardiff Metropolis)

Ogden: Had his second at Liverpool just a few years in the past — and he’ll all the time have that Cruyff flip within the penalty field at San Siro — however he has proven he is a Championship participant. If you cannot discover anybody to take him on a everlasting transfer, then mortgage him out.

Verdict: Transfer on

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MIDFIELDERS

Dominik Szoboszlai (23 years outdated, contract expires in 2028)

Marcotti: He has performed additional ahead up to now, although at Liverpool he has been primarily a midfielder. Relying on what the personnel appear like, Slot might need to use him on the wing.

Verdict: Maintain

Alexis Mac Allister (25, 2028)

Marcotti: One factor price mentioning is that he performed a piece of the season in defensive midfield. He will be efficient there, but it surely’s clearly not his place and, presumably, it is not what he was signed to do.

Verdict: Maintain

Curtis Jones (23, 2027)

Ogden: Got here near a transfer to Aston Villa a few years in the past, however he has taken his probability at Anfield and now’s within the England squad. He is the kind of versatile, dedicated participant Slot will want this season.

Verdict: Maintain

Harvey Elliott (21, 2027)

Verdict: Maintain

Ryan Gravenberch (22, 2028)

Verdict: Maintain

Wataru Endo (31, 2027)

Verdict: Maintain

Stefan Bajcetic (19, 2027)

Ogden: He is a extremely good participant and nonetheless very younger. Final yr ought to have been a giant yr for him, however he missed most of it by way of damage. If he can regain his health and proceed to develop, he solves the central midfield downside.

Verdict: Maintain

Fábio Carvalho (21, 2027, on mortgage at RB Leipzig and Hull Metropolis)

Marcotti: He is nonetheless younger and I am undecided you give him up now, regardless that he did not make the grade at Anfield in two years and struggled in his six-month mortgage at RB Leipzig (although he did higher at Hull). I would give it one other shot earlier than transferring him on.

Ogden: It is advisable to take into consideration elevating some cash and he can possibly usher in £10m.

Verdict: Cut up between loaning out and transferring on

Thiago Alcantara (33, 2024)

Marcotti: Nice participant on his day, however hampered by accidents at Liverpool, similar to a lot of his profession.

Verdict: Is transferring on as membership did not prolong his contract

Bobby Clark (19, 2028)

Ogden: Superb participant who did effectively when given the chance. Presumably, Liverpool will not have as many accidents this coming season, so finest to mortgage him out and let him mature.

Verdict: Mortgage out

FORWARDS

Luis Díaz (27 years outdated, contract expires in 2027)

Ogden: He could also be Liverpool’s most vital participant after Salah.

Verdict: Maintain

Darwin Núñez (24, 2028)

Marcotti: Until Slot is a giant fan — who did play with a comparable center-forward at Feyenoord in Santiago Giménez — and there are takers at a good worth, you progress him on, particularly if Salah stays. Forty-one league begins and 20 league targets over two seasons tells its personal story.

Ogden: Liverpool overpaid — he value a club-record switch charge of £85m from Benfica — however Klopp actually wished him and the membership backed the supervisor. It hasn’t labored out. He is OK. He makes issues occur, however he is simply not Liverpool-level. Saying all that, somebody will take him, believing they’ll flip him round.

Verdict: Transfer on

Diogo Jota (27, 2027)

Verdict: Maintain

Cody Gakpo (25, 2028)

Ogden: Actually, this one is Slot’s resolution since he’ll know him from the Eredivisie. He is a flexible participant and which will go well with Slot’s model. And he carried out higher towards the tip of the season, although there’s nonetheless work to do. I doubt you may get a giant charge if you happen to transfer him on and it has solely been 18 months.

Marcotti: I might are likely to agree. The one factor I would say is if you cannot shift Núñez, you’ll have extra luck with Gakpo simply because he can play completely different positions.

Verdict: Maintain, however take heed to affords

Mohamed Salah (31, 2025)

Ogden: He has earned the correct to resolve for himself, however I would make it clear there is not any speak of an extension — definitely not on the wage he is on now — till later within the season. And which will go well with him too: since he has solely ever labored below Klopp, he would possibly need to see how he will get on with Slot. However you definitely do not panic and throw a long-term contract at him. That stated, Liverpool cannot afford to lose him and Klopp in the identical summer time.

Marcotti: This was supposedly a down yr for him and he nonetheless scored 18 league targets and had 11 assists, one in every of solely 5 gamers to hit double figures in each classes within the league. He’ll be turning 33 when his contract is up, and I feel he is aware of that, at finest, he’ll get a one-year extension. And he would possibly select to attend and see, possibly he desires to go elsewhere on a free subsequent summer time.

Verdict: Maintain

Ben Doak (18, 2027)

Marcotti: He is extremely rated, however with so many senior forwards on the membership, getting him minutes goes to be powerful. You would preserve him round, a bit like Manchester Metropolis did with Phil Foden, however I feel it makes extra sense to mortgage him out and let him develop.

Verdict: Mortgage out


OVERALL VERDICT

There’s a lot on Michael Edwards’ plate, beginning with the transition to Slot. That is a part of the rationale why we advocate staying put with Van Dijk and Salah, even when it means operating the chance of dropping them on a free subsequent summer time.

Alexander-Arnold is a extra impactful name as a result of in switch phrases he’ll be considerably extra invaluable than the 2 veterans. There’s lots of uncertainty, which is why we disagree a bit on what to do, apart from the truth that there are lengthy conversations available between Alexander-Arnold, Slot and the membership. Alexander-Arnold would fetch a substantial switch charge, however Liverpool can really put collectively a good switch finances even with out him transferring.

Kelleher, Núñez and probably Tsimikas and/or Carvalho can in all probability usher in one thing within the £70m to £80m vary, possibly extra. Between that and the added Champions League earnings, they should be in fine condition to safe a top-drawer defensive midfielder.

That stated, they could have the man they want in-house. If Bajcetic stays on the event arc he was on pre-injury, they could effectively really feel they need not improve that place and, between him, Endo and sometimes Mac Allister, they produce other options in that function. There’s a lot cash tied up in Núñez given his monumental switch charge that it will clearly be one other impactful name. We predict he needs to be moved on, maybe with the membership taking a run at Santiago Giménez, who did very effectively for Slot at Feyenoord.

Even when a substitute does not are available in, Liverpool would nonetheless have a deep corps of attacking gamers: Salah, Gakpo, Diaz, Jota, plus Elliott and Szoboszlai who’ve operated in assault (and executed so very effectively) up to now.

Extra broadly, if Edwards and his staff resolve to do some wheeling and dealing, there are different areas of the pitch that supply alternative. We have a look at the midfield and see three gamers comparable to Elliott, Jones and Gravenberch who, successfully, had been backups final season. All three are younger and gifted, however you surprise what number of minutes you will get them and likewise whether or not they are going to turn into “superb,” however not essentially “nice” gamers.

With the midfield ranks probably being swelled by the arrival of a defensive midfielder and possibly Alexander-Arnold too, transferring one in every of them on in alternate for a sizeable switch charge would possibly unlock extra funds to herald one other prime participant, probably of the calibre that Van Dijk and Salah have been.

It is only a thought, but it surely illustrates the canvas of alternatives accessible. Klopp is gone and Liverpool — for higher or worse — are going to be a special membership going ahead.

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