Exclusive: David Lynch reveals latest on transfer plans & trophy prospects this season

Exclusive: David Lynch reveals latest on transfer plans & trophy prospects this season

2022 could be a year to remember for Liverpool if everything goes the Reds' way. The club is looking to get back to trophy-winning ways after firing a blank last season and both the Champions League and Premier League will be on Jurgen Klopp's mind.

What can we expect from the January window and the summer transfer market, though, as well as the club's prospects on the field?

We caught up with Reds reporter David Lynch for a quick Q&A...

1. What business, if any, will Liverpool aim to do in January?

Liverpool have been pretty adamant that they won't be signing players in January and, to be honest, I believe them. The exception could be if a long-term target became available, but the type of players Liverpool tend to target aren't usually up for sale in the middle of a season. That means the focus is likely to be on trimming certain areas of the squad, though there is no desperation to offload anyone.

2. AFCON is here, how is it going to impact Liverpool? Will the Reds look at any short-term options?

You'd hope that Liverpool won't feel the effects of the absence of their Afcon players too badly. The fixture list has been fairly kind to them and they could even get players back early if they don't go too far in the tournament. If things had fallen differently, maybe they'd have looked at doing business, but you simply cannot justify signing players for two games of a season.

3. Should we expect any exits from Liverpool? Loan moves or even permanent deals?

I was amazed that no club took a punt on Nat Phillips over the summer and would not be surprised if many have reconsidered their stance after his showing against AC Milan. He is, to my mind, a Premier League-quality defender, even if he isn't quite at Liverpool's standard.

Talk of interest from West Ham makes sense given Angelo Ogbonna's injury and a move there could make sense for all parties. It also remains to be seen whether any club that desperately needs goals lodges a bid for Divock Origi, which is the only thing that could actually prompt Liverpool themselves to move into the market.

Divock Origi

Could Liverpool be interested in bringing back Gini Wijnaldum on loan?

I can't see it. They're actually pretty well-stocked in midfield at this moment given the injuries have cleared and Wijnaldum is likely to want to go to a club where he is guaranteed playing time. He would be behind Thiago Alcantara at Liverpool were he to return and I'm sure Jurgen Klopp is keen to give minutes to Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott so that they can continue to develop.

Lloyd Kelly is one man being linked with Liverpool, any truth in this?

Liverpool were definitely keen on Lloyd Kelly in the summer of 2019 but didn't like the way his representatives went about instead sealing a move to Bournemouth. Perhaps that disagreement has been resolved since but, given that Kelly's main positions are left-back and centre-back, I can't see a move for him being revived.

Klopp's squad is already well-stocked in both those areas, so it wouldn't seem like a particularly sensible move to me. Perhaps their name is being used to drive up the price Newcastle would ultimately pay, given they are the other club linked.

Do you think we'll see more of Ibrahima Konate in the second half of the season?

I think Klopp would like to stick with the Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip partnership for as long as the latter remains fit but it is worth noting that a good way of ensuring that is the case is through rotation. That should mean Konate gets a decent chunk of minutes between now and the end of the season, even if he isn't the main man alongside Van Dijk.

If Matip does stay fit, then this season is a good opportunity for Konate to get settled in with sporadic games before pushing hard to break into the first XI next year. It's a good place for Liverpool to be in given the centre-half struggles of last season - and we haven't even mentioned Joe Gomez here!

Who do you expect to stand up in the current LFC side with Salah, Mane and Keita away?

I think Naby Keita is fairly low down the midfield pecking order at the moment so you'd like to think his absence won't be felt too keenly. As for Salah and Mane, we know two of the front three spots will be taken by Jota and Firmino, but it's the third one where it gets interesting.

You could probably argue that Divock Origi has the strongest claim to it, given his penchant for popping up with a crucial goal in Liverpool's time of need. There's no doubt, though, that Liverpool will be a weaker side for however many games they have to play without Salah and Mane.

Mohamed Salah

What's going on with Mo's contract situation?

This is a difficult one to provide insight on, to be truthful. It's rarely a good sign when you don't hear much about contract negotiations, - it suggests that there is a fundamental disagreement either over the length or worth of the contract. But then we all heard Jurgen Klopp speaking in his press conference recently about Mo's deal and he seemed very optimistic that a resolution would be reached.

That should give fans confidence, as should the fact that there aren't really many other appealing options out there at the moment. The Spanish giants aren't what they were, PSG play in a weaker league, Juventus are struggling and Bayern probably wouldn't want to put together a big enough deal.

Salah staying at Liverpool is probably the most sensible move for everyone and so I'm hopeful it will get done.

How big will the 2022 summer transfer window be for Liverpool in comparison with recent windows?

I think Liverpool will have the capability​ to go big next summer but whether they do or not is an entirely different matter. Opening spaces in the squad is always a major consideration: for example, do Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain push for moves away in search of playing time, in turn creating space for Liverpool to future-proof their midfield with a big acquisition? And does the same happen with Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino in the forward areas?

These things are extremely difficult to predict and I'd be wary of anyone who can offer certainty on summer plans just yet!

10. What are your 2021/2022 season predictions for Liverpool as of the timing of this interview?

If Liverpool can avoid too many serious injury blows, I think they will be in with a shout of winning both the Premier League and Champions League this season. They'll need luck at times, as every trophy winner does, but if they get it then this can be another hugely successful season.

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