The dream Liverpool starting XI after £82m transfer spend – Liverpool Echo

Liverpool will begin their season with a behind closed doors FA Community Shield clash against Arsenal at Wembley Stadium.

Due to the unusual nature of a shorter period between last season and the new one, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, Jurgen Klopp may use the fixture to experiment with his squad ahead of any big decision in time for the first game of the new Premier League season on September 12.

But who should be in the dream Liverpool XI when the Reds begin to defend their Premier League title in earnest?

Kostas Tsimikas became the club’s first summer siging following his move from Olympiacos, although it’s expected he will be used as a backup for Andy Robertson.

Should he get into the matchday squad at the first time of asking?

And what about rumoured targets of Brighton defender Ben White and Watford winger Ismaila Sarr? If Liverpool can secure deals for either of them, where would they fit in?

Below we take a look at the dream starting XI for Jurgen Klopp’s side should everything fall into place.

Goalkeeper

Alisson’s place in goal is under no doubt.

Unlike other rival clubs like Manchester United, who have big question marks over who starts between the sticks, Liverpool’s purchase of the Brazilian from Roma has been more than vindicated and eradicated previous concerns of who to rely on in goal.

Klopp could be tempted to give Adrian a run out in the Community Shield, with him having been a reliable deputy in cup competitions before and he also stepped up after Alisson’s injury last year.

Nevertheless, a fit Alisson starts on day one.

Defence

Trent Alexander-Arnold was named Premier League’s young player of the season and there’s no illusion that his starting place is under threat. The 21-year-old has now won four major honours with the Reds since breaking through and quickly become a key part of the team so early on in his career. He had the second most assists of the year and fans will hope to see the ongoing competition for goal making with Andy Robertson restart from the off.

More than half of the defence picks itself as Virgil van Dijk hasn’t missed a single game of Liverpool’s previous two Premier League campaigns, playing in every one of the 38 matches each year. There’s no reason he should miss another one any time soon.

After Joel Matip was ruled out for the conclusion of last season, it’s a waiting game at when he can re-enter the fray and so Klopp should continue with Joe Gomez partnering the Dutchman at the back.

Following earlier injury problems, the England man has grown stronger and only looks like improving during his time at Anfield.

Kostas Tsimikas is Liverpool’s first summer signing
(Image: Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

New signing Kostas Tsimikas would be made to wait for his chance following his £12million move from Olympiacos.

Midfield

Midfield seems to be the only area subject to regular rotation in Jurgen Klopp’s side.

But fans should expect the same faces as the final games played after securing the title. Should Jordan Hendersonwin the race for fitness, he slots back in alongside the surely undroppable Fabinho.

Then it’s a question of who is the third midfield option.

Considering his uptake in form during the Premier League’s restart post-lockdown, Naby Keita should be expected to get the nod to pick up right where he left off.

Attack

Much like the Liverpool backline, if the regular front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah are all fit and injury free, they start without question.

Salah missed out on a hat-trick of Premier League golden boots last time out as he was outdone by Leicester’s Jamie Vardy, so the Egyptian will want to hit the ground running and get his tally started sooner rather than later.

If the first gameweek’s fixture is at Anfield, Firmino will want to rid questions over his unusual recent goalscoring record at home. He only managed one last campaign and it came in the final game played in front of the Kop against Chelsea.

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Mane had arguably one of if not his best season in a Reds shirt last campaign despite not quite being in the running for a Golden Boot. Many had the Senegal forward on their lists for player of the season although he’s missed out on those accolades too.

It looks like he still has more to prove and recently made a ‘double demand’ during a Q&A with fans.

Should the Reds bring in any attacking reinforcements, it’s hard to see how they would displace any of the regular front three from the starting lineup but there could be room on the bench for at least one.

The Bench

Speaking of which, if Ismaila Sarr is brought in from Watford, he would earn a spot on the bench.

Reports suggest Watford will demand a fee in the region of £40m for him but he would surely provide an extra dynamic to Klopp’s attack should he join.

He’s recently spoken out on the speculation surrounding his future admitting anyone would want to play for the current champions:””I still have years of contract with Watford, another 4 years. If Watford wants me to stay, I’ll play in the Championship; my departure also depends on them. This is what is most normal for me.

“Liverpool are a really great team, everyone would love to play there.”

Following relegation, Watford may need to cash in on the 22-year-old.

Ben White is also linked with a move to the Reds this summer following Dejan Lovren’s exit to Zenit St Petersburg.

The 22-year-old centre back would be an excellent replacement following his impressive season on loan to Leeds United, helping them gain promotion from the Championship.

Despite claims he could walk in to partner Virgil van Dijk, should he make the move as urged by one of his former managers, he would more than likely start any Reds career on the bench should he sign before September 12.

White is reportedly valued at around £30million.

If captain Henderson is not yet ready to start the first game, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Gini Wijnaldum would have no issue in stepping up with ever reliable James Milner then taking a place on the bench.

This season should be the one fans will hope is when Takumi Minamino finally kicks on and shows the Anfield faithful what he is capable of. He would start on the bench, primed to challenge both regular attacking midfielders and forwards should an opportunity present itself.

New boy Kostas Tsimikas would also lie in wait, already designated a backup option, he may have to wait until the start of domestic cup competitions for his first start.

Michael Edwards and Jurgen Klopp.jpg 

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Notable absentees from the subs bench would be Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri. There still remains questions about their future at the club, with Aston Villa reportedly interested in the Belgian striker.

Key players in both Champions League and Premier League title victories, both would be sought after if available for transfer.

However, in this dream lineup scenario they should still be considered as very much Liverpool players, even if not making the bench on the first day. As the pair have proven on several occasions, having the ability to call upon them in key situations is always a benefit.

Also missing is Rhian Brewster but reports mount on him rejoining Swansea for another loan spell.

As already mentioned, the bench also includes second choice goalkeeper Adrian .

With new additions there wouldn’t yet be room for youngsters Curtis Jones, Neco Williams or Harvey Elliott on the day but they would remain valuable assets to the first team setup and enhance Liverpool’s issue of squad depth.

Liverpool’s dream line-up for the Premier League opening day, 4-3-3: Alisson; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Andy Robertson; Fabinho, Jordan Henderson; Naby Keita, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino; Mo Salah.

Subs: Adrian, Kostas Tsimikas, Ben White, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gini Wijnaldum, Minamino, Sarr.

Total new players: Three

Total transfer spend: £82million (approx.)

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