With Jordan Henderson and Fabinho linked with moves to the Saudi Pro League we considered how Liverpool’s midfield could line up next season.
Liverpool captain Henderson is widely reported to be leaning towards accepting an offer from Saudi Pro League side Al Ettifaq, who are managed by Reds legend Steven Gerrard.
The 33-year-old is expected to make a decision imminently, with the Athletic having claimed he the player received a “life-changing offer” which would quadruple his Liverpool salary.
Meanwhile, the same publication alleged on Thursday that Al-Ittihad are set to make a concrete offer worth £40million for Fabinho.
While the bid is yet to be officially submitted it is expected to arrive soon and a decision from the club and player “will move quickly one way or the other”.
Of course, should the Reds lose both players, having already sanctioned the departures of James Milner, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Fabio Carvalho earlier this summer, they would look awfully short in midfield. Here are three ways they could line up come the new season.
The Lavia option
Having already signed two potential starters in Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Max Allister this window, the Reds theoretically only need to add a defensive-minded player to have a competitive midfield three.
Indeed, should the club continue with the 3-box-3 system they finished the season in, Mac Allister profiles as the ideal left-sided No 10 and Szoboszlai the right-sided No 10.
With regards to signing a defensive midfielder, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal have all been linked to Southampton’s Romeo Lavia. There had been growing speculation once the Merseyside club had completed the signing of Szoboszlai that Jurgen Klopp’s side would turn their attention to the Belgian teenager.
But at the time, while the Athletic claimed Lavia was admired by the Liverpool hierarchy, they did not believe they had a gap to fill and also felt that an asking price of £50million was far too high for a teenager.
Perhaps, given the likely departures of two of Liverpool’s midfield stalwarts, they will revisit a deal for Lavia.
The ‘second chance’ option
Tchouameni has been tentatively linked with an exit from Real Madrid for months. The Mirror even claimed earlier in the summer that a bid of £90million could persuade the Spanish giants to part with the 23-year-old.
Like Lavia, he is a player that can slot in for Fabinho at the base of midfield, though Tchouameni inarguably has more pedigree than the Southampton player, having reached a World Cup final with France.
Earlier in the window, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano deemed a move for Tchoumeni, who Liverpool also tried to sign last year, as unlikely.
However, should Henderson and Fabinho depart perhaps Liverpool would be more open to forking out the £90million necessary to sign the Frenchman.
The ‘no signings’ option
Even with the injection of energy and creativity Mac Allister and Szoboszlai provide, Liverpool will look short in midfield should Fabinho and Henderson leave.
If the worse happens and they fail to sign anyone, 18-year-old Stefan Bajcetic would be a natural successor to Fabinho. The Spaniard impressed at the base of midfield last term, displaying a good passing range with the ball and defensive discipline without it.
Yet, despite Bajcetic’s undoubted talent, that is exceptional responsibility to put on a teenager, and one that could have implications on his confidence and development should things go awry.
The Reds also have Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott, who could both provide cover for the two eights on either side of Bajcetic. Moreover, as proven for Liverpool and England in the past few months, Trent Alexander Arnold can also excel in midfield.