Jurgen Klopp’s transfer plans at Liverpool this summer are slowly beginning to take shape.
The Reds will go into the Premier League season as defending champions and will be keen to retain their crown.
Liverpool have already bolstered their squad with the addition of left-back Kostas Tsimikas who will provide competition with Andy Robertson.
With several more weeks left of the transfer window, speculation continues to swirl over who could sign for, or indeed leave the Reds.
As such, we hosted a Q&A with Reds correspondent Paul Gorst to discuss all of the key talking points at Anfield.
Below is a full transcript of the webchat:
I know that he doesn’t really fit the current FSG recruitment strategy, but Luis Suarez on a free? Not a bad player to have on the bench and cover when required?
PG: If you’re asking me, then definitely imagine Suarez putting in those relentless performances off the bench for a season or two. He would thrive off that reception if he returned, too. But you are right, his profile is not exactly what the club or the owners are looking at. Would love to see it though.
Yesterday’s Van Dijk injury “scare”, coupled with Matip being out (again) and Gomez’s injury record suggest Liverpool could be in serious trouble if Van Dijk does miss some matches. What is the strategy for the role? A senior CB or promote from within?
PG: I think Liverpool need a senior centre-back to replace Lovren, no question. I think the club are looking but I would say they are relaxed at present. Matip does have injury concerns, yes. So that would leave them down to just two seniors in Gomez and Van Dijk. It’s a priority for me. Hopefully someone can be brought in.
What’s the latest on Rhian Brewster, do you think he’ll be loaned out this season?
PG: Six PL clubs have made contact over a loan. The three relegated last term have also been in touch. Liverpool will take their time over this next month. The thinking is a PL or top-flight European club would be best for Brewster, but his pre-season performances haven’t gone unnoticed, that is for sure. I think he will be loaned, though. As things stand.
If Sancho would remain at Dortmund this summer, would Liverpool pursue him as a genuine target next season?
PG: I believe, if finances were back to what would be considered ‘normal’ and Sancho was still a Dortmund player, then yes, I think LFC would take a look. The issue is the price Dortmund are currently demanding.
Hi Paul, you stated that Thiago is not an active target for Liverpool. Have things changed since Melissa Reddy indicated that there is interest from the club? Also, do you think Gini will run down his contract like Emre Can did? If so, it would be a real shame.
PG: Was told recently there are currently no active talks with Wijnaldum over a new contract. So, as it stands, he would be in line to leave as a free agent next summer. Hopefully that changes as he is so vital to Klopp’s LFC. No change on the Thiago front.
It seems that Messi is interested in playing for Guardiola. Do Liverpool have any chance, has the club even had a chance to think about this?
PG: Messi is desperate to win the CL again before he retires. Only Bayern Munich perhaps offer a better chance at that than LFC right now. The sticking point would be wages. Messi earns a reported £90m per year at Barcelona. A massive reduction would have to be taken. LFC will never have a better chance of signing him though. I highly doubt they will be in the running though, sadly.
How about Gini?
PG: No active talks with Wijnaldum as things stand.
How about Ben White? If he’s as good as people say then he could be a mainstay in our defence for the next decade.
PG: I’m confident Ben White was scouted last season. Brighton reportedly turned down £30m from Leeds recently. Liverpool won’t pay that for a fourth-choice centre-back. Haven’t seen enough of him to comment on his long-term suitability at Anfield.
Will Harry Wilson and Grujic definitely be sold? Also whats on with Shaq and we do we hardly ever see him play?
PG: Wilson and Grujic are both in the shop window but the club aren’t interested in any more loan deals for those two. Shaqiri is a really intriguing one. Was told in Jan the club had put an asking price on his head of around £25m. Sevilla and Roma were interested. If they don’t find a buyer, Klopp will be happy to keep him. There’s no question he didn’t massively contribute last season though.
Any interest in Aouar?
PG: It would remiss of the club if they weren’t interested in him, as he is a class act and so highly rated at 22, but the term ‘interest’ is vague. I don’t believe he will be a Liverpool player by the end of the transfer window.
Is there any truth in the Origi plus cash deal for Adama Traoré?
PG: That’s an interesting one. Wolves were keen on Origi a couple of years back but he opted to stay at Anfield. I think it would have to be LFC doing the pushing on this one as Traore is one of their star men. Origi could prove to be a useful bargaining chip on that front but suspect Wolves would still ask £30-£40m on top of Origi.
Do you believe Rhian Brewster and Curtis Jones have secured some first team football based off of the strength?
PG: In the case of Jones, he can expect to feature more this coming season, regardless of his displays over the summer. He will slot naturally into the gap left by Lallana in the squad. Brewster is different. A loan to a PL or top-flight European team is currently the plan, but he has caught the eye in Austria.
What about links with Ismaila sarr? Is he an active target?
PG: Ismaila Sarr I was told recently is someone definitely being looked at. Whether that turns into a formal bid remains to be seen but LFC like him. He’s the right sort of profile and has a high ceiling to improve. They could also take advantage of Watford’s relegation too.
Koumetio seems to be one to keep an eye on and impressed me in pre-season. Even though he will stay with the U23’s most of the time, do you see him getting some first team minutes this year?
PG: Was speaking to someone who was part of the Austria trip this morning. Was told everyone was so impressed with him while there. Koumetio is someone who could maybe feature on the bench on League and FA Cup games potentially but think at 17 it’s a bit too early for him to be starting games for Klopp’s side.. Centre-backs generally mature a little bit slower than attackers.
If we aren’t able to sell Grujic, would you think he’ll feature for us consistently this season? I honestly love him as a player and would love to see him given a chance here.
PG: Not sure. He was Klopp’s first-ever signing in January 2016 and he’s made 14 apps in total – the same he managed during a half-season loan at Cardiff. It’s now or never for him and I fear it may be the later.
What’s one centre back do you think the club would go after this summer? Can we see a signing like Klavan a few years ago?
PG: I think a Klavan-esque signing is probably the best way to view whoever might come in, actually. I don’t think it’ll be someone who can challenge Gomez for Van Dijk’s shirt regularly. Maybe it will be another 12 months before the club sign a more long-term option at centre-half.
Paul, any chances of Ben White?
PG: Confident he has been scouted but with Brighton reportedly turning down bids of £30m from Leeds, I can’t see LFC making a move for a fourth-choice centre-back at that price.
Hey Paul, now club has greater idea of prize money etc coming in where does the stadium expansion sit in the landscape and when is the move to the new training facility look like happening.
PG: The expansion of the Anfield Road stand was pushed back 12 months, so work will begin – according to that timeframe – December 2021. In terms of the new training ground, LFC are relaxed as they have full use of Melwood for another year. It shouldn’t be too far behind given work resumed in May, even if the workforce was reduced numbers given the covid crisis.