It is no coincidence that the season Jurgen Klopp was able to put together the strongest squad of his Liverpool reign so far also proved to be a campaign where the Reds could challenge for an unprecedented quadruple.
In the past Liverpool have lacked the squad depth of their rivals, such as Man City, with injuries depleting their options even further. Such setbacks ultimately derailed their 202021 Premier League title-defence after all.
But with the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Jordan Henderson back from season-ending injuries in time for the current campaign, the Reds were already better-placed to compete this season in contrast to last year. Throw in the £36m arrival of Ibrahima Konate, the majority of the squad staying relatively injury-free in 2022 as players returned from lay-offs and the January arrival of Luis Diaz and Klopp’s ranks went from strength-to-strength as the season went on.
With their ranks replenished, such depth saw them win both the League Cup and the FA Cup while still competing for both the Premier League and Champions League. Losing just three games in all competitions all season, they picked up 51 points from a maximum of 57 points in 2022 to claw back a 14-point deficit on Man City only to fall a point short of the title on the final day of the season.
Forging the closest attempt to win the quadruple that English football has ever seen, Liverpool might have missed out on the Premier League title but can still end the year as treble-winners courtesy of the Champions League. Klopp’s ranks could then find themselves competing for as many as seven different honours in 2022/23 as a result of their success.
Yet their class of 2022 will not remain intact with Divock Origi already the first confirmed departee, with a number of other players linked with exits. Meanwhile, with Fabio Carvalho the Reds’ first signing of the season, Klopp will look to strengthen his squad further when the transfer window opens.
But what would a perfect summer for Liverpool be and how could their squad look next season? We take a look…
Liverpool can be satisfied with their goalkeeping department with Alisson Becker one of the best shot-stoppers in the world and Caoimhin Kelleher establishing himself as a more than capable back-up. While the Irishman might have to depart Anfield at some point to be a number one elsewhere, the Reds will be hopeful of keeping the 23-year-old in reserve for at least another season, with domestic cup defences of both the League Cup and FA Cup given him further shots at senior action.
It remains unclear when the contract extension Adrian signed last summer actually expires, but if he is happy to stay put, Liverpool will be happy to keep him in such a role. Beyond that, the likes of Marcelo Pitaluga and Harvey Davies offer further options in the youth ranks. In contrast, Loris Karius will depart on a free transfer when his contract expires.
Having seen defensive injuries derail their efforts last year, Liverpool have enjoyed a polar opposite in terms of fortunes with their backline having never looked stronger as a result. Van Dijk, Matip, Konate and Gomez ensure they have four high-quality options at centre-back and even though the latter has been linked with a move away, the ECHO understands the Reds want the England international to sign a new contract.
At full-back, Klopp boasts two of the best right and left-backs in the world in Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, with Kostas Tsimikas stepping up to prove himself a quality reserve this season. With Neco Williams poised to leave permanently following a successful loan at Fulham, Liverpool could be in the market for a new right-back with the ECHO understanding there is interest in Aberdeen’s Calvin Ramsay.
Along with Williams, the likes of Nat Phillips, Rhys Williams, Ben Davies and Sepp van den Berg could all depart either permanently or on loan.
Liverpool have been well-stocked in midfield during the second half of the season and a ren’t currently anticipating any midfielders to depart this summer, with the club hopeful of retaining vice-captain James Milner on a new one-year contract despite his current deal entering its final weeks.
However, with the likes of Milner, Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara all in their 30s, club insiders have been looking at the possibility of a marquee midfield addition at some stage over the next 12 months or so, though they might have to be patient.
Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni was one such target, though he currently looks set to join Real Madrid, while Jude Bellingham is another player of interest to the Reds. The England international is not expected to be allowed to leave Borussia Dortmund until after the 2022 World Cup at least though, with the Bundesliga outfit aware his price-tag will only rise and reluctant to see him depart the same summer as Erling Haaland.
Yet in an ideal summer, having managed to bring in Luis Diaz six months earlier than originally planned in January, Liverpool would perhaps like to adopt a similar tactic to land Bellingham if the midfielder is their desired target. Meanwhile, despite the club’s current stance, the out-of-favour Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could depart if a suitable bid is made and replacement found ahead of his contract expiring in 2023.
Naby Keita could sign a new contract however, with his own deal also expiring in 2023, while Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott will both look to feature more next season after fulfilling squad roles this year. Elsewhere, the likes of Leighton Clarkson could leave on loan.
Liverpool have already completed the signing of one forward this summer with Fabio Carvalho joining from Fulham for an initial £5m compensation package after a successful season in the Championship. With Divock Origi departing, the Portugal Under-21s international could fill his back-up role in the squad.
Elsewhere, Takumi Minamino could also depart and bolster the Reds’ transfer kitty, having continued to find game-time limited at Anfield following the arrivals of Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz, with the likes of Elliott and Kaide Gordon further re…