Liverpool had an uncharacteristically quiet transfer window with three fairly low key signings in the summer.
Goalkeeper Adrian arrived to strengthen their options between the sticks, while youngsters Sepp van den Berg, 17, and Harvey Elliott, 16, have also come in.
Defender Van den Berg has earned comparisons with fellow Dutchman Virgil Van Dijk while winger Elliott is the youngest ever player to play in the Premier League (aged 16 years and 30 days).
It’s unlikely these players will feature for the first-team a lot this season, particularly Van den Berg and Elliott, although both have made their Champions League squad.
The latest development is promising though and this got us thinking at talkSPORT.com, how might the Reds look in five years time?
Of course, without a time machine at our disposal, it’s terribly hard to fully predict what can happen in the future as circumstances can change so quickly in football.
But below you can see our best guess at what Liverpool’s starting XI for the opening weekend of the 2024/25 season may look like.
Option 1: 4-3-3
Chances are Jurgen Klopp will not be Liverpool manager as his contract ends in 2022 and the German has given interviews recently which suggest he’ll leave Anfield when his deal expires.
The club has grown accustomed to playing a certain way under him though, so it would be no surprise to see them play a similar system post Klopp.
However, quite a lot of the Reds playing now may not be around in five years including goalkeeper Alisson Becker – who is established as one of the world’s best stoppers – and you wouldn’t be surprised to see the likes of Real Madrid or Barcelona make an approach for him in the future.
Players don’t turn down those clubs.
This could spell the opportunity for Loris Karius, who is currently going in the middle of a two-year loan spell with Besiktas, a chance to work his way back into the Liverpool fold.
The German has not played competitively for the Reds since his disastrous performance in the 2018 Champions League final where he made two costly howlers in Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid.
But in five years he’s likely to have a calmer head and he’ll be keen for his shot at redemption.
In defence, we could see Van den Berg, who will then be 22-years-old, forge a partnership with the experienced Joe Gomez, who will be 27.
Ki-Jana Hoever, who became Liverpool’s youngest ever player to represent the club in the FA Cup last season, will be 22 in five years and could play at right-back even though his preferred position is in the middle.
Andy Robertson will be in his 30s by then but the Scotland captain is full of running so don’t be surprised to see him continue at left-back.
Where’s Van Dijk? Well, he will be 33 in five years but Liverpool will have to prepare for bids from some of the really big clubs ² in Europe sooner if he carries on his impeccable form.
There will be a temptation by the club’s hierarchy to sell him as they’ll be able to make a hefty profit despite forking out £75million for him in January 2018.
Liverpool’s depth in defence will give the opportunity for Trent Alexander-Arnold to start a new role in midfield and who knows, maybe he’ll captain the club one day.
Alexander-Arnold’s superb passing range means it would be a complete waste of his talent to play him as a full-back throughout his career.
He has been tried out in midfield by Klopp on a couple of occasions but Alexander-Arnold has yet to master the position. However, such is his talent, he has the potential to be as good as Xabi Alonso.
Meanwhile, the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita are likely to see more first-team action if they’re still around.
Up front could see a few changes too with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane bound to attract the attention of bigger clubs ¹ than Liverpool.
Mane even admitted to being jealous of Philippe Coutinho when he got his move to Barcelona so the Reds may have to call on some of their youngsters to step up in the future.
Thankfully for Liverpool, they have two potential future stars in Elliott and Rhian Brewster to replace Salah and Mane in case they leave.
And although Roberto Firmino will be 32 in five years, he may just be able to do the job in the middle of the front three which is where he’s at his best.
Firmino is less likely to leave than Salah or Mane as there are few top clubs in Europe who would let him play in the same role he clearly loves playing in at Liverpool.
Option 2: 4-2-1-3
However, a more defensive line-up could see tough tackling Fabinho, who will be 30 by then, partner Alexander-Arnold in midfield in what would be a similar set-up to when Alonso and Javier Mascherano were around.
This would leave Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain to fight it out for that slot in attacking midfield.
Youngsters Bobby Duncan and Ryan Kent may have had a good chance at making it on Merseyside but they have now moved to Fiorentina and Rangers, respectively, on permanent transfers.
It’s also not clear whether midfielder Curtis Jones, 18, will be a success at Anfield.
Mentions have to go out to the likes of Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum, who will be 34 and 33 respectively.
There’s nothing to suggest they won’t be at the club in the 2024/25 season but they’ll surely be too old to be playing every week at that intensity.
Meanwhile, Joel Matip will be 32-years-old so could become a second-string player if he’s still around.
Divock Origi will probably always be at his best as an impact substitute so we haven’t included the striker in either XI.
As for James Milner, he’ll be 38 in five years so he only just misses out – we think.
Article By Jackson Cole, talksport.com.
- big/bigger club = big money spender
- really big club = royale money spender