Dominik Szoboszlai (mid) RB Leipzig; Alexis Mac Allister (mid) Brighton
Fabinho (r) (mid) Ittihad; Jordan Henderson (r) (mid) Al-Ettifaq; Naby Keita (sp) (mid) released; James Milner (sp) (mid) released; Roberto Firmino (sp) (att) released; Fábio Carvalho (mid) RB Leipzig – on loan; Sepp van den Berg (def) Mainz – on loan; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (mid) released; Arthur Melo (mid) Juventus – end of loan
Everything looked idyllic when Liverpool beat Manchester City 3-1 in the Community Shield last summer. However, nothing went as planned at Anfield, as Liverpool found themselves in mid-table positions halfway through the season. The Reds bounced back in the last stretch and secured Europa League football, but they were unconvincing in the majority of their games last term.
Jurgen Klopp decided to freshen up his midfield in offseason and as many as seven midfielders, including starters Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, departed the team for different reasons. Roberto Firmino also left Liverpool, who have made just two acquisitions for the time being, bringing in talented midfielders Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister.
Both Szoboszlai and Mac Allister should become undisputed starters under Klopp, who is not expected to make any other major changes in defence and attack, keeping the same back-four consisting of Trent-Alexander Arnold, Ibrahima Konate, Virgil Van Dijk and Andrew Robertson, for yet another season.
Only Manchester City and Arsenal scored more league goals than Liverpool last season, with the Reds creating the second most Expected Goals (xG) after the Sky Blues and recording the most shots inside the box in the Premier League. They do boast one of the best attacks in the league. Should Darwin Nunez step up his game and Luis Diaz bounce back after recovering from injury, Liverpool will have a fearless attacking trident.
Meanwhile, only Fulham and Leeds conceded more big chances Liverpool last season. Klopp needs to find a solution for his team’s defensive frailties if he wants them to opt for a better finish next season.
It’s doubtful whether Liverpool have what it takes to compete for the title, which means that clinching a top-four spot – after missing out last season – should be their main objective.