Liverpool ended the 2018/19 season as UEFA Champions League winners and also finished in second place in the Premier League with 97 points. Jurgen Klopp will be keen to add depth to his present squad to compete on all fronts next season and these five players could be on their way to Anfield.
#5. Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal)
Liverpool need to add depth to their attack ahead of next season but it’s not an easy task. The Reds have one of the best front three in the world at the moment, so any player they sign will have to be content with being a squad player. That is unless Jurgen Klopp decides to rotate his squad more often or opt for a different formation.
Klopp has a track record of moulding young players which is why Villarreal’s 20-year-old winger, Samuel Chukwueze, could be the right candidate to add depth to the Liverpool attack.
Chukwueze enjoyed his breakthrough season with the Yellow Submarines and was one of the positives for the club in a lacklustre campaign. He ended the season with eight goals and three assists in only 2411 minutes across all competitions.
The Nigerian international is quick and has been compared to Arjen Robben for his dribbling skills. Maybe, Klopp could be the right manager to help him realise his potential.
#4. Nabil Fekir (Lyon)
The biggest issue with the current Liverpool squad is the lack of a creative midfielder who can make a difference in a tight game and that has been the case since Philippe Coutinho’s departure. The midfielders in the squad at the moment are known more for their work rate rather than their creative output.
It is no secret that Klopp attempted to address this issue last summer by signing Olympique Lyon’s Nabil Fekir but the transfer broke down in the eleventh hour. However, the rumours linking the player to Liverpool simply refuse to go away even after a year.
Fekir is entering the final year of his contract with Lyon and it looks like the Ligue 1 club is willing to listen to offers for the player. There is a good chance that Liverpool will be able to sign the player for a bargain price and in that case, Klopp might be tempted to overlook the factors that broke down the move a year ago.
#3. Neil Etheridge (Cardiff City)
The goalkeeping department was Liverpool’s Achilles heel for many years and after Loris Karius cost Liverpool the Champions League title in 2018, Klopp went ahead and signed Alisson Becker for a then world record fee for a goalkeeper.
Alisson’s arrival demoted Simon Mignolet to the bench permanently and the Belgian only played one game each for the Reds in the League Cup and FA Cup last season. Mignolet has been an excellent professional despite his limited opportunities but the 31-year-old is keen to join a club where can be the number one.
If Mignolet leaves, Liverpool will need a new backup goalkeeper and there aren’t many better candidates than Neil Etheridge of Cardiff City.
Despite Cardiff City’s relegation, Etheridge had a fine season in 2018/19. He kept ten clean sheets which were bettered by only six goalkeepers and he made 141 saves which were only seven fewer than the tally of Lukasz Fabianski who made the most number of saves.
#2. Bruno Fernandes (Sporting CP)
Liverpool have done quite well to cope with the departure of Philippe Coutinho but there are games when they miss his creative spark and his ability to find the back of the net from outside the box. The Reds scored plenty of goals last season, however, only five of Liverpool’s 89 Premier League goals last season were from outside the box.
Liverpool need a midfielder who can create goalscoring chances and also score from distance which is why Bruno Fernandes could be an ideal candidate to bolster the squad.
Fernandes has 48 goals and 38 assists in only 109 games for Sporting – of which 32 goals and 18 assists were in only 53 games in the 2018/19 season. The Portuguese international is a set-piece specialist and scored five goals from outside the box in the Liga NOS and Europa League last season.
If Liverpool add a goalscoring creative midfielder like Fernandes to their ranks then the Reds could become an even bigger force to reckon with.
#1. Nicolas Pepe (Lille)
As mentioned earlier, Liverpool need to add depth to the squad and if they can find a top quality player who can replace any of their first-choice front three without compromising the quality, then that would be the ideal scenario.
Lille’s Nicolas Pepe has been linked with a host of top European clubs and Liverpool are in the race for his signature. The Ivorian is a pacey versatile forward who can thrive in a system like Liverpool’s.
The 24-year-old ended the 2018/19 season with 23 goals and 12 assists in all competitions. He had the second highest number of goals and also the second highest number of assists in the Ligue 1 in 2018/19 and his impressive form helped Lille finish in the second place. He was also one of only a handful of players in Europe’s Top 5 leagues last season with at least ten goals and assists each.
Pepe will cost over €60 million pounds and Liverpool are definitely one among the few clubs that can afford to spend that kind of money at the moment.