Predicting Liverpool's summer transfer business

The 2024 January transfer window promises to be a quiet one for Liverpool.

While a host of players have returned to the club from loan spells, there will almost certainly be no brand new faces through the Anfield doors before deadline day, with the Reds' keeping their wallet firmly pocketed until the summer.

Though the last two winter windows saw the arrivals of relative big-money signings Luis Diaz and Cody Gakpo, Liverpool under FSG have – generally speaking – preferred to do business in the off-season.

But just because there probably won't be any announcements this month, that doesn't mean things aren't happening in the background.

Regardless of how the second half of 2023/24 plays out, you can be sure plans are already underway in the Liverpool recruitment team, with targets being scouted, assessed and courted ahead of the summer.

Some of the areas of focus are already quite clear, while there have been plenty of names linked in recent weeks and months.

Here's a position-by-position breakdown of what to expect from Liverpool in the transfer market at the end of the season.


Goalkeeper

With Alisson still comfortably the best keeper in the league and under contract until 2027, the Reds' goalkeeping position has rarely looked more secure.

However, behind Liverpool's number one there are question marks in the department.

Third-choice Adrian is out of contract this summer, and whether the 37-year-old gets another year added to his already five-season stay remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, there is talk that Caoimhin Kelleher could finally push for first-team football, with Celtic among those linked. If that were to happen, the Reds would have to enter the market to source that trickiest of positions: sub keeper.

Caoimhin Kelleher, ProShots

Kelleher has been ideal in that respect in that he has the quality to step up when called upon (and has an exceptional penalty saving record, which is extra useful in cup competitions), but he is not of the level where his position at the club makes things awkward (see: Arsenal's situation with Aaron Ramsdale and David Raya).

Sunderland and England Under-21 star Anthony Patterson is one keeper who has been linked to Liverpool as a possible replacement should Kelleher leave.

Centre back

The most obvious area of focus for Liverpool's recruitment team this summer.

With all other roles on this list up for debate, it's a near certainty that the Reds will buy a defender before the start of next season. The real question is how many?

It has been widely reported that Liverpool are interested in a left-sided centre back – possibly someone also with the potential to feature at left back, and as part of a back three, with Klopp's tweaked tactical system in mind.

Anfield Watch reported on Liverpool's interest in Levi Colwill last summer before he signed long-term contract extension with Chelsea, while the Reds are thought to maintain an interest in the England international.

While that deal may be hard to pull off there have been a host of other names mentioned, including Sporting CP's Goncalo Inacio – who has a release clause of €60m (£52m) – and PSV's David Hancko.

In addition to that left-sided centre back, Joel Matip's long-term injury and contract situation raises the chances that the Reds could also sign another defender if the 32-year-old were to leave this summer.

Ousmane Diomande, ProShots.

While Jarell Quansah's progression has been a pleasant surprise this season, the squad's injury issues have laid bare the need for more depth at the back – particularly given Ibrahima Konate's patchy fitness record and Joe Gomez's dual role as cover for both the central and wide positions.

20-year-old Ousmane Diomande (also of Sporting CP) has been linked and fits Klopp's profile. He has a release clause of €80m (£69m).

Borussia Monchengladbach's versatile Ko Itakura would be a cheaper option, with a reported buyout clause of between €10m (£8.5m) and €15m (£10m).

Full back

Full back may be the area of least concern for Liverpool heading into the summer.

The Reds have a unique talent in Trent Alexander-Arnold at right back, with the homegrown star thriving in his new hybrid role. The only issue will be tying him down for more years, with his current contract set to expire in 2025.

Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool vs Man Utd Premier League

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold pictured in action during the Premier League game vs Man Utd on Sunday December 19, 2023 (Copyright ProShots)

Meanwhile, young Conor Bradley looks a very decent prospect as the vice-captain's deputy.

Anfield Watch understands the Reds have been monitoring AZ's Yukinari Sugawara, who can play a range of positions, but has mainly featured at right back. Whether anything comes of that interest remains to be seen.

On the other side, Andy Robertson and Kostas Tsimikas may not be ideal when forced into a reduced attacking role when Liverpool play a three-box-three, but there are few better pure left backs.

Gomez and Owen Beck are also options on that side, reducing the likelihood of more summer arrivals unless there are major developments in the coming months.

Midfield

With Liverpool spending last summer focussed solely on the midfield rebuild, it is unlikely there will be major change in the engine room this year.

After growing into a key role in 2023/24, Anfield Watch understands that Curtis Jones is to be offered a new and improved deal to keep him at his boyhood club.

However, Thiago is unlikely to be offered an extension, as his four years at Anfield wind down with a disappointing season that has seen him confined to the treatment room.

Though the new-look midfield is now pretty settled, there have been calls for another defensive-minded addition, and an arrival in that mould isn't out of the question.

Morten Frendrup, ProShots

Anfield Watch was the first to report on the Reds' interest in Morten Frendrup. The Denmark international at Genoa could be a relatively cost-effective option to contend with Wataru Endo and Alexis Mac Allister for a role at the base of the midfield.

Attack

Whether Liverpool go big on a forward player this summer surely depends on the future of one Mohamed Salah.

The Egyptian has been in scintillating in recent months, with Klopp insisting the Reds' all-time top Premier League scorer is 'not biologically comparable' to other players the wrong side of 30.

Anfield Watch understands Salah is now leaning towards renewing his contract at Liverpool once again, despite continued interest from the Saudi Pro League.

With Salah's current deal expiring in 2025, there have been concerns that stopping a big-money sale this summer would see the Reds miss out on the chance to cash in on a declining asset. However, the winger's 2023/24 form shows there's every chance he will continue to play (and excel) at the elite level deep into his fourth decade.

Kylian Mbappe (Paris SG)

That extension would rule out an audacious move for Kylian Mbappe, whose Paris Saint-Germain future remains up in the air.

For some context, there are suggestions that the French superstar will be offered as much as €100m (£85m) a year to renew at PSG. By comparison, Salah – Liverpool's highest earner – is on around £20m in pre-tax basic salary.

While Mbappe and other huge-name deals are off the table, Liverpool may move for cheaper targets to bolster the front line.

Michael Olise is one to watch this summer, with the Crystal Palace winger seemingly set to move on from Selhurst Park one way or another.

Anfield Watch has also reported on the Reds' interest in Leeds' 20-year-old star Crysencio Summerville – the man who scored the goal which ended Virgil van Dijk's unbeaten streak at Anfield.

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