How Liverpool could line up with Saul Niguez

Cameron Smith
Man Utd want Saul Niguez as Pogba replacement

Liverpool will begin their attempts to regain the status of Premier League winners this season, but having lost key midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum to Paris Saint-Germain, replacing him will be vital.

The return of Virgil van Dijk to fitness, and the addition of Ibrahima Konate will be more than welcome additions, but finding a suitable player to do Wijnaldum's job will be crucial.

There have been many names touted as replacements for the Dutchman, with Brighton's Yves Bissouma, Leicester's Youri Tielemans and Lazio's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic among the players targeted.

However, according to reports in Spain, Atletico Madrid central midfielder Saul Niguez is the man at the top of their shopping list.

He has been a long-time target of the club, and with Wijnaldum's role of ball retention needed to be filled by someone else, he's seen as the perfect candidate.

Furthermore, Liverpool have been handed a boost in their attempts to land him, after Atletico announced the signing of Udinese midfielder Rodrigo De Paul. By adding the Argentine playmaker to his ranks, it seems as though Diego Simeone is willing to let Saul leave if the reported asking price of €40 million is met.

Saul's contract doesn't expire until 2026, so Liverpool will have to lay down some serious money for the Spaniard, but with Atleti seemingly keen to run a midfield consisting of Koke, Marcos Llorente, and De Paul, now is the time to strike.

How Liverpool could line up with Saul

Liverpool - Football tactics and formations

Liverpool's starting XI has been fairly predictable over the past few seasons, and without the depth available to Manchester City or even Chelsea, they rely on a rather small group of players.

Saul would act as a direct replacement for Wijnaldum, though Klopp would still need to pick three from Saul, Thiago, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.

Diogo Jota or Roberto Firmino up top remains a question to be answered, too.

Whilst Klopp almost always uses 4-3-3, he sometimes deviates to a 4-2-3-1 to accommodate all four of his attacking options. If that is the the case, then Saul is the most likely to drop out, with Fabinho and Henderson partnered in a double pivot.

The future of Naby Keita still seems up in the air, although if the Reds do sign Saul, then it's likely the former RB Leipzig man will be restricted to brief appearances off the bench, rather than regular starts.

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Academy graduate Curtis Jones may also be affected, although he managed to muster up 13 Premier League starts last term, and will be expecting a similar amount in 2021/22.

Rotation will occur in Liverpool's midfield, but Saul will be the primary Wijnaldum replacement if he does put pen to paper on a deal at Anfield.