Darwin done but what next? – What Liverpool still need, sales & dream signings – Liverpool FC


Liverpool have wrapped up their big transfer of the summer with the Darwin Nunez deal, but what more do the Reds need and what are fans hoping to see happen before the season starts?

The Reds are well and truly on the move in this transfer window, with our new No. 27 joining Fabio Carvalho as a new arrival.

It’s expected that Calvin Ramsay will also join with a £6.5 million deal agreed, while on the outgoing side, Sadio Mane is to be joining Bayern Munich for up to £35.5 million.

The likes of Divock Origi, Loris Karius and others have already left on free transfers, too.

But what comes next? Where must we still spend and strengthen, which squad players should make way and should any major deals be sanctioned?

This Is Anfield’s big transfer discussion sees Anfield Index’s Dave Hendrick (@EPLindex) join Karl Matchett (@karlmatchett), Matt Ladson (@mattladson) and Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) to go over what’s needed between now and the first kick of the ball in 2022/23.

 

What’s the biggest remaining need for Liverpool this summer?

DAVE: It’s very clearly a midfielder. A midfielder was our biggest need last summer, we didn’t address it and it was the poor performances in midfield and lack of overall quality in that area that cost us the title. It remains a midfielder, and clearly, Klopp agrees hence the move for Tchouameni.

Now, Paul Joyce has said it’s likely to be next summer before we focus on a midfielder, of course, we heard the exact same thing last summer.

The alternative is that there’s a change of shape, to 4-2-3-1 which leaves us needing a starting 10, with Salah on the right, Diaz on the left and Darwin upfront, or a 4-4-2 with Salah moving upfront alongside Darwin, in which case we’d need a right-winger.

KARL: On the assumption we wanted Tchouameni for a reason, it’s still the same type for me: A versatile midfield performer who can operate as either the 6 or the 8 as required, a really good and powerful ball-winner who can also be much more of a transition operator than most of our current options.

A player who can carry the ball at pace, exploit gaps and play fast, smart passes over short-to-mid distances, but is tactically strong-minded enough to sit in and play the deepest role when Fabinho cannot – that is a massive need of Liverpool’s to continue the rebuild which has started so well.

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 7, 2022: Fulham's Fábio Carvalho during the pre-match warm-up before the Football League Championship match between Sheffield United FC and Fulham FC at Bramall Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

MATT: I think, perhaps, people are underestimating Carvalho. From people I’ve spoken with, one in particular who is very well versed has said that they’re convinced he’ll be starting games for Liverpool.

If, and I know it’s a big if, Carvalho comes in and does as well as some anticipate, then we have the goalscoring midfielder we’ve all been craving.

Of course, Bellingham would be nice but it isn’t going to happen this summer. But next summer, when Henderson turns 33, Milner will be gone, Oxlade gone, Thiago 32… that’s an ideal time to get Bellingham in.

HENRY: I think a central midfielder stands out: a high-calibre No. 8 in his early to mid-20s who can be a force for years.

I think Henderson and Keita are excellent squad players, but one is now past his best and the other still blows hot and cold after four years.

That being said, if I was told we’d get Bellingham and nobody this year, I’d shake on it. Elliott and Jones are a year older and can be increasingly reliable options.

 

Which, if any, senior players would you sell this summer?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 19, 2022: Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looks dejected after missing a chance during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DAVE: Just the obvious ones. Phillips, Williams, Taki, Oxlade-Chamberlain. Unless someone blows us away with an offer for Gomez or Tsimikas I don’t think I’d entertain selling anyone else. Mane will obviously go, but outside of him and the four I mentioned I wouldn’t sell anyone.

KARL: Not too far removed from the above for me. I’d have kept Neco but it’s clear with loan time and internationals, he wants games now and can’t get them here. So him, Nat Phillips, Ox and Taki are all replaceable at this point without too much fanfare.

I’ve heard a few people suggest Curtis Jones and/or Naby Keita should be in this group too – I couldn’t disagree more on either of them. It would take big money to tempt me to part with any of the squad options including Jota, Tsimikas and the like – they’d be every-week starters elsewhere and are very important to our needs.

MATT: Agree with Karl, no chance we should be allowing Keita or Jones to go, assuming we don’t sign another midfielder.

The fixtures this season are relentless, a week between Champions League games, we’re going to need all the bodies we can.

But yes, Ox, Williams, Mane, Phillips, Minamino, plus the loaned players we’ve forgotten exist, can go.

HENRY: I think it’s time for Ox to go. He hasn’t played since March and Klopp clearly doesn’t see him as part of his plans.

This is our last chance to get a good amount for him and we will surely be looking to move on. If the right offer arrives for Taki, I’d sell him too, but I’m certainly not averse to keeping him.

 

Let’s consider Gomez, who has seen rumours of a new contract and interest in buying him. If he pushes to leave, what price would you take?

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 30, 2022: Liverpool's Joe Gomez during the FA Premier League match between Newcastle United FC and Liverpool FC at St James' Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DAVE: I think Ben White set the bar at £50m. He’s not a patch on Gomez. I think that there’s a strong case that Joe Gomez is the best English central defender. He’s better than Maguire, Stones, White, Mings, Coady etc.

The only one I’d put on his level right now is Fikayo Tomori who was outstanding for Milan in their title-winning season. So a minimum of £50m, but I’d want some add-ons on top of it as well.

He’s an outstanding centre-back, he’s just unfortunate to be at a club with the type of quality we have in that role. No other club has a third as good as Gomez, let alone a fourth.

KARL: I’d go a little lower for the initial fee, but I’d absolutely be topping it with add-ons. Whether they are avoidable or not we have to acknowledge serious injuries in his career already, but he’s still easily a £30-40m range defender.

So say the midpoint of that price tag would be the initial amount, and I’d be surpassing the £50m with appearances and further international progression.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Tuesday, May 17, 2022: Liverpool's Joe Gomez during the FA Premier League match between Southampton FC and Liverpool FC at St Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

MATT: I don’t think he’ll push to leave and I’m sure we’ll offer him a new deal.

But hypothetically, anything north of £30 million would be decent business.

HENRY: I guess somewhere along the lines of £20-30million personally.

Yes, he’s had some serious injuries, but he’s still only 25 and looked good when he did play last season.

I hope he stays because he could yet be Konate’s long-term partner, but I would totally understand if he wants to leave.

There is the temptation of getting good money for him, given his past issues, but he still has so much to offer.

 

Would you risk Mo Salah going on a free next year, or force a sale this summer?

PARIS, FRANCE - Saturday, May 28, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah looks dejected after the UEFA Champions League Final game between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid CF at the Stade de France. Real Madrid won 1-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DAVE: I’d sell to be honest. Losing a £100m player for free goes against everything we know about FSG.

And here’s the other thing, we’re being told that the starting midfielder we’ve needed for over a
year might have to wait ’til next summer, right? So we’re going to sign that midfielder and replace Mo in one summer? Not a chance.

That’ll be another summer where we need two things and only get one. If he’s not going to renew, then sell him this summer and use the money to get a replacement, like Gnabry, and the midfielder we need.

Ideally, though, I’d rather he just sign the f*****g contract!!

KARL: I have a feeling I’m going to go against the grain here but I’d keep hold and trust that within the next 12 months or so he can see that the options to go elsewhere and have a similar opportunity for trophies, teambuilding and being an immediate fit are fairly few and far between.

I still think we’ll eventually come to an agreement with Mo but we’re going to have to be patient.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 7, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

MATT: This depends on the day of the week! One day I think it’s a horrendous gamble to think he won’t leave on a free, but then the thought of us lining up without Salah or Mane in two months… that’s pretty grim.

It’s really not good business to lose arguably the best player on the planet for free. So what do you do?!

HENRY: I don’t think you can lose Sadio and Mo in the same summer – that would feel really drastic, and potentially damaging.

If he ends up leaving for free next year, it will be a FAR from an ideal situation, but Liverpool will move on without him. With each great attacking signing, the less indispensable Mo feels, even though he’s a true Reds great.

Here’s hoping that new deal is signed!

 

Give us one dream shock signing we haven’t been linked with!

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 3, 2021: Liverpool's Andy Robertson takes a throw-in as Manchester City's Bernardo Silva pushes him during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DAVE: Lovro Majer. I’m in love with this player. A genius creative midfielder who could play on the right of a three-man midfield in 4-3-3, on the right wing in 4-4-2, or in 4-2-3-1 he could be the right winger or the 10.

He’s the type of playmaker who can unlock any defence with his vision, range and weight of passing, and his dribbling in tight spaces. He’s also got goals in his game. He wouldn’t be expensive either, £30-35m gets him this summer I’d imagine.

KARL: Without meaning to be too repetitive summer to summer, it’s still Christopher Nkunku.

HENRY: I guess this may be deemed as ridiculous and beyond unlikely, but I would adore Bernardo Silva at Liverpool.

Yes he’s a bit horrible, but he’s a magnificent footballer both on and the off ball. He would be perfect in a more attack-minded No. 8 role, but yeah, not happening, is it?

As a more likely option, I’d actually love Kalvin Phillips, even though some claim he’s English and, therefore, overrated. He’s a Klopp player, possessing quality, energy and a great personality. At 26, this is the time for a big move.

MATT: Please don’t let Henry make our transfers!

I’m not sure there’s anyone good who we’ve not been linked with. Just get Bellingham next summer and we have one heck of a strong squad prepared for the future.

 

Could we win title if there are no further new arrivals after Darwin and Ramsay?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 29, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (C) with first-team development coach Pepijn Lijnders (L) and goalkeeping coach John Achterberg (R) with the two trophies during a parade around the city after the club won the Cup Double, the FA Cup abd Football League Cup. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DAVE: I don’t think so to be totally honest. I’d fancy us more to win the Champions League. City have added Haaland, they’re in the process of putting a deal together for Kalvin Phillips and they’re heavily linked to Marc Cucurella. They’re strengthening.

We’ve just maintained as things stand. As good as Darwin, Carvalho and Ramsay will be in the long term, only the latter is an improvement on what was in his position last season. And that’s because there was nobody in his position as the backup right-back.

Darwin will be great, and Carvalho has the potential to be special, but we’re going to be asking them to replace 39 goals from Mane, Divock and Taki across all competitions. That’s a lot. We lost the title in midfield last season, I worry it’ll be the same again next season without new additions.

KARL: We’d run City close, because we have an amazing squad, but it would be relying on a new forward settling and producing quickly, and someone in midfield outside of Thiago and Fabinho stepping up more than last year.

Yes, it could be done, but we’d need fortune on our side or City to have a very tough start to the season.

MATT: This season could be a bit of a wild one with the World Cup.

We’re in a ‘good’ position that some of our key players (Salah, Diaz, Robertson) won’t be going to Qatar and that could be vital in the second half of the season.

A few injuries to either side, in a condensed schedule, could really throw a side.

And it might depend on if Haaland comes in a sticks 50 goals, or has an ‘Ibrahimovic at Barcelona under Guardiola’ season. Who knows!

HENRY: Absolutely. Of course, City will go into the new season as favourites, but we matched them all the way last time around.

Who knows, they may even drop off like they did in 2019/20, paving the way for Liverpool to romp to another title!

Ideally, another midfielder comes in, but these new signings mean the Reds are more than equipped to go all the way. I see your Erling and raise you Darwin!





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