Jürgen Klopp could change his Liverpool system to fit thee of his new Liverpool signings into the same team following the arrival of Ryan Gravenberch from Bayern Munich.
On transfer deadline day, Liverpool concluded its business with a $43m (£34m/€40m) move for Bayern Munich midfielder Ryan Gravenberch.
Gravenberch became the Reds’ fourth and final signing of the window after previous deals for fellow midfielders Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai and Wataru Endō.
The 21-year-old Dutchman has penned a five-year contract with the Reds and will be viewed as a long-term acquisition, but it’s still interesting to ponder where he might fit into the side in the short term.
Gravenberch is predominantly a number eight, and it may be hard to see him dislodging Mac Allister and Szoboszlai in the side. Equally, he’s not an out-and-out defensive midfielder so, unless Jürgen Klopp has an attempt to redeploy him, he shouldn’t be viewed as an immediate replacement for Fabinho.
One of the reasons the Dutchman would have been willing to make the move to Anfield in the first place was that his game time at the Allianz Arena was limited — he only started three Bundesliga games last season and has been named on the bench for the team’s first three games this year — so you’d imagine he’s been given certain assurances about game time from Klopp.
One way that the German can fit Gravenberch, Mac Allister and Szoboszlai into the same team is to once again change his system. He may be slightly reticent to do again after making a change in April (one that sees Trent Alexander-Arnold moved into midfield when Liverpool has the ball), but it could make for a very exciting midfield combination.
Theoretically, Gravenberch could operate in a defensive midfield two, as he did at Ajax, alongside Mac Allister, who played in a similar role at Brighton. Neither are specialists at the destructive side of the role, but the hope would be that the newest addition could hone that side of his game with tutelage from his manager.
Szoboszlai would then operate in front of them, while doing his share of the dirty work of course, almost like a number 10.
That would mean Endō dropping to the bench, but he might be more suited to a squad player role, as opposed to a starting berth. Stefan Bajčetić, Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones and, when he’s fit again, Thiago would offer Liverpool some enviable depth in what had been a problem area.
Alexander-Arnold would revert to a more traditional right-back role, while Andy Robertson, who has to sit in a back three in the current set-up, would relish the restoration of his attacking license on the opposite side.
Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konaté are both unavailable at the moment, with the former suspended and the latter injured, but will unquestionably make up Liverpool’s best defensive partnership when they return.
On form, Klopp’s best attack probably comprises Mohamed Salah, Darwin Núñez and Luis Díaz.
The question now is whether Liverpool’s XI, and its squad more generally, has what it takes to be a dark horse in the title race, or will have to be content with a top-four battle.
Liverpool’s ideal line-up (4-2-3-1): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Van Dijk, Robertson; Mac Allister, Gravenberch; Salah, Szoboszlai, Díaz, Núñez.