Sam McGuire: After Klopp's Liverpool departure, the scale of rebuild looms LARGE

Jurgen Klopp's farewell tour as manager has primarily focused on what he's achieved while in charge of Liverpool. 

And rightly so, he's won the lot during his nine years on Merseyside.

But he's also had credit heaped on him for setting Arne Slot, his successor at Anfield, up for success in the future.

The Reds are back in the Champions League and are once again regulars in Europe's premier club competition. They are viewed as European royalty with Klopp having restored the aura around the club, taking his side to three European Cup finals.

The squad is littered with genuine world class players, a far cry from the crop of players the German tactician inherited when he replaced Brendan Rodgers in 2015.

He also ended the three-decade wait for a Premier League title, so that pressure isn't something the new manager has to deal with.

There's no doubt that Klopp, along with his coaching team, have given Slot a good platform to build off. But things aren't quite as rosy as they seem at first glance.

The departure of the charismatic German will cause a vacuum. We're already seeing some of the ripples.

The contract situation with multiple players is a concern that keeps being downplayed. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah and Virgil Van Dijk are into the final 12 months of their contracts.

Ibrahima Konate has just two years left on his current deal and there are no reports to suggest talks are even planned. Curtis Jones and Luis Diaz have contracts until 2027 but, due to their exploits in the first team, should be renegotiating this summer. That appears to be on the back burner for now though.

That is five key players who need to have their futures addressed in the very near future. To say it'll be a baptism of fire for incoming sporting director Richard Hughes would be an understatement.

Liverpool's impending upheaval

Whatever the outcome is with those five will impact the transfer business over the next couple of windows too. And Hughes already has a task on his hands with the defence needing a revamp.

Joel Matip is leaving, Van Dijk isn't getting any younger while Jarell Quansah, as highly rated as he is, will make mistakes due to his age. Konate should be a starter now but injuries have limited him and his involvement. He barely featured in the final few weeks of the season despite being fit enough for the bench.

Joe Gomez is more of a versatile full-back now as opposed to a centre-back, though that could change under Slot. That's if he sticks around.

Joe Gomez of Liverpool

Europa League: Atalanta BC vs Liverpool Italy, Bergamo, april 18 2024: Joe Gomez Liverpool waiting for a throw-in in the second half during soccer game Atalanta BC vs Liverpool, Europa League Quarter Final 2nd Leg Gewiss Stadium Bergamo Lombardy Italy Copyright: xFabrizioxAndreaxBertanix

Even so, there's a strong argument that, before any further outgoings, the Reds need two defensive signings as well as a new understudy to Alisson Becker this summer with Caoimhin Kelleher expected to leave in search of first team football.

Such upheaval is never good, especially when 2024/25 is already set to be a transitional campaign.

Konate isn't the only injury prone player to make life difficult for those responsible for squad management.

Time for a clearout?

Diogo Jota falls into this category too. When fit, he's one of the best finishers at the club. But he's barely fit. He racked up just 1,151 Premier League minutes last season - the equivalent of just shy of 13 90-minute matches.

He's 28 this year. At that age, with a player viewed as a key first team player, you expect more consistency. You expect more reliability. If he can't deliver or meet those expectations, the Reds might soon need to have a difficult conversation. The last thing they need with everything else going on.

The likes of Edwards and Hughes will have to assess the most recent incomings too to determine whether they have futures at the club. Darwin Nunez, per reports, was a Klopp signing, so if he's not suited to Slot and his plans, that is another difficult conversation to have sooner rather than later.

Jurgen Klopp Darwin Nunez

Jurgen Klopp Darwin Nunez

You could make the case for Wataru Endo, Dominik Szoboszlai and Ryan Gravenberch falling into this category too. Liverpool spent over £100million on that trio and the man they signed for is now no longer with the club. Endo exceeded expectations but even he dropped off a little towards the end of the campaign while Szoboszlai and Gravenberch struggled to impress. The former started the season well but tailed off massively after the turn of the year while the latter ended the campaign well after a difficult start.

The Reds aren't going to give up on them anytime soon but their place in the squad isn't quite as secure as it might’ve seemed at first glance.

Life could be difficult for Slot, Hughes and the returning Edwards. The squad upheaval over the next couple of years could be double, perhaps even triple, what many expected it to be. And the Reds will have to remain competitive while all of this change is going on. The pressure is on, too.

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