Which midfielders should Liverpool sign to complete the rebuild?

Liverpool have already lost three midfielders this summer and that figure could soon rise to five in what would be one of the biggest overhauls in club history.  

According to reports, both Jordan Henderson and Fabinho could leave the Reds over the coming days. Steven Gerrard wants to bring the Liverpool skipper to Al-Ettifaq, while Nuno Espirito Santo wants to reunite with Fabinho, pairing him with N’Golo Kante in midfield for Al-Ittihad.

Jurgen Klopp parted ways with James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita on free transfers, and the initial expectation seemed to be that only one from Thiago, Fabinho and Henderson might also depart to free up space for further middle-third signings. Money talks though and the opportunity to pocket £50m for the number 3 and the number 14 while also removing over £350,000 per week off the wage bill might be too good to pass up.

So, there is a very real possibility that Liverpool have to bring in another two midfielders over the next couple of weeks.

David Ornstein mentioned Romeo Lavia as a possible candidate to come in as the new number 6 for the Reds but they need more than that. The Southampton man had an impressive debut campaign in the Premier League but at 19 he is still very raw.  You also have to consider the fact he played primarily in a double-pivot for the Saints and he doesn’t have much experience as a single-pivot player in the English top-flight.

Klopp may stick with the 3-2-2-3 shape he was using towards the end of the 2022/23 campaign but he isn’t going to want to wed himself to that system. There will no doubt be times that Liverpool play his favoured 4-3-3 shape in possession and it puts a lot of pressure on the deepest midfielder. Lavia hasn’t been exposed to that sort of pressure yet and throwing him in at the deep end could have a negative impact on his development in the short-term.

© ProShots - Romeo Lavia

With that in mind, it would make sense to bring in someone with a little more experience to make up for the loss of experience this summer.

Khephren Thuram wouldn’t make too much sense right now. Though he started his career as a defensive midfielder, he’s since been pushed into a left-sided role. He was even deployed as a left-sided attacker for Nice last term. Many of his minutes in senior football have come higher up the pitch, so bringing him in as a defensive midfielder would make him a project player in the same vein as Lavia. Are Liverpool in a position to justify that right now? Especially when they already have Stefan Bajcetic as a project.

The interest from earlier in the window will undoubtedly keep his name at the top of lists online though.

Moises Caicedo is another who could reappear on the shortlist. Following the arrival of Alexis Mac Allister, multiple outlets claimed the Reds were keeping a watchful eye on his former Brighton teammate.

Many had thought Arsenal would return for the 21-year-old having missed out on him in January but it appears the 32-cap Ecuador international favours a move to Chelsea. Nothing is yet to be agreed but media talk suggests the transfer fee could be in the region of £100m and it is likely the Blues are offering the versatile midfielder a substantial salary.

Liverpool might’ve been tempted to rival Chelsea for his signature but the Reds won’t compete with the wages on offer. They have a strict wage structure and given he’s reportedly being offered £250,000 per week at Stamford Bridge, it is unlikely those at Anfield would go higher than £150,000 per week. That seems to be the sweet spot for new signings.

That probably rules him out at this time.

Florentino Luis is another who has had his name out there recently. Courted by Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United as a youngster, Luis’ career seemed to randomly stall. He had disappointing loan spells with Getafe and Monaco before returning to the Portuguese capital last season and becoming an integral part of Roger Schmidt’s system at Benfica.

His stock is once again high. The 23-year-old signed a new deal last season to extend his stay with Benfica until 2027 but there have been reports recently linking the 6ft midfielder with a move away, with the fees mentioned being fairly reasonable. Earlier in the year, Neil  Jones revealed Liverpool had made checks on the Portugal international. Though he thrived in a double-pivot last season, he does have experience as a sole number 6. Luis is also deceptively good in the air too for someone of his height, winning 62% of his 2.5 aerial duels. These are similar numbers to those posted by Fabinho throughout his Anfield career.

© Proshots - Aurelien Tchouameni

Aurelian Tchouameni would be a tricky deal to do but if he’s available, the Reds should be at the front of the queue. He was  Klopp’s first-choice midfielder during the 2022 summer transfer window but the Frenchman instead opted for a move to Real Madrid.

It hasn’t really worked out for him with Los Blancos and the arrival of Jude Bellingham doesn’t help the 23-year-old in his quest for regular football. Real Madrid are also looking to put together a package to lure Kylian Mbappe to the club and sacrifices will have to be made to raise funds.

If they could recoup the majority of their £75m outlay, they could be tempted into cashing in on the former Monaco man.

The 6ft 3in midfielder is dominant with and without the ball, ranking in the 95th percentile for passes attempted, 99th percentile for passes completed and interceptions as well as in the 89th percentile for aerial duels won with a success rate of 67%, per FBref.

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