Liverpool focused their summer attention on addressing their midfield needs in the transfer window, but we are already seeing Jurgen Klopp‘s squad depth being tested.
The Reds signed four new players over the summer, all of them midfielders after Klopp saw six of his options from the previous season move on.
Dominik Szoboszlai, Alexis Mac Allister, Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch represented the incomings, while the likes of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Roberto Firmino and James Milner represented the outgoings.
Liverpool’s every move, or lack thereof, in the window was scrutinised along the way and that included overlooking a new signing for the defence.
Klopp has previously said, “the size of the squad is not that important to me, the quality of the squad is very much so,” but what does the Reds’ depth look like for 2023/24?
Here, we visualise just that:
It is important to note there is further versatility throughout the squad than shown in the graphic above, but, in this case, simplicity is key.
What we can see and have already witnessed in the opening few matches is that the defence all but picks itself if fit and available.
Beyond that, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, Jarell Quansah and Kostas Tsimikas are available as back-up options, the former trio we have seen more than expected thanks to injuries and a red card and it is still up for debate if the latter is suited to the new hybrid role.
The inability to select Konate and Van Dijk against Aston Villa quickly brought to light why fans were eager to see defensive additions this summer, which was further stretched by Alexander-Arnold’s injury.
The hope is this will quickly be resolved after the international break, but with Conor Bradley facing a spell on the sidelines with a stress injury, it takes only knock to the No. 66 before Gomez is needed at right-back.
Klopp has been tried and tested in the defensive department before – we all remember 2020/21, don’t we – and the manager admitting Liverpool need “luck with injuries” hit too close to home.
Liverpool should not be at the point of still needing to have luck on their side, as it has not always been the case. But here we are.
Ahead of the defence
While Konate may be the only first-team centre-back signed since that 2020/21 season, the midfield and attack have been tended to, providing Klopp with options further up the field.
Another No. 6 was on the wish list for many this summer, but Klopp appears content with Mac Allister continuing to offer his services in addition to Endo, who still has some adjusting to do.
With Klopp having noted the need to be unpredictable, the new system in addition to versatile midfield profiles offers just that – even if Mac Allister and Szoboszlai are now two first-choice starters.
Liverpool’s attack is enviable for its threat and versatility, a deadly combination that has been buoyed by the profiles added in midfield, which has injected creativity and fresh legs.
The Reds have some of the best attacking options in Europe and they do look top heavy when assessing the depth of the squad, the last thing you want is consistent kamikaze football.
As Klopp has already alluded to, Liverpool do need luck when it comes to injuries – especially in defence – but they do have a squad that is capable of achieving something this season.
What that is remains to be seen, but while it is clear that Liverpool could have done with extra bodies in defence, they have the adequate firepower and piano carriers to cause any team trouble.