How Liverpool will line up in 2021-22

Martin Macdonald
Van Dijk tips helped Kabak find his feet at Liverpool

Liverpool will be hoping to once again become challengers for the Premier League this season, having endured a difficult 2020/21 campaign.

The champions from 2019/20 put up a limp defence of their title, with an array of injuries throughout the squad destroying their chances of retaining the championship.

Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Jordan Henderson, Thiago, Diogo Jota and Fabinho all spent a period on the sidelines, while the first three on the list, all defenders, missed the majority of the campaign.

Jurgen Klopp was forced to field a patched up defence which consisted of the likes of Nat Phillips, Rhys Williams and eventually Ozan Kabak, with Henderson and Fabinho deputising in the backline on occasion when they were fit, too.

They would still manage to qualify for the Champions League, but only on the last day of the season.

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Even though Van Dijk and Gomez, the first choice centre-back pair, are fit for the new season, Liverpool have sought to avoid such a situation happening again as they have gone out and purchased Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig for around £36 million.

The Frenchman will probably come in as Van Dijk's partner, but expect Gomez and Matip to enjoy plenty of game time, too.

Apart from Konate, there have been no major acquisitions at Anfield, though that may change before the end of the transfer window as Liverpool are yet to replace Georginio Wijnaldum, while a winger is also desired.

Liverpool XI for 2021/22

Potential Liverpool XI

Potential Liverpool XI

Alisson recently signed a lucrative new contract to remain at Anfield in the long-term, so he will be their number one goalkeeper for years to come, with Caoimhín Kelleher and Adrian in reserve.

The acquisition of Konate means that he will likely start at the back alongside Van Dijk, but this doesn't mean Gomez will be kept on the sidelines as Liverpool now, crucially, have someone who can act as a back up to Trent Alexander-Arnold, who has played pretty much every game over the last few years.

Andy Robertson will eventually claim his left-back spot back, but will be injured for the start of the season which will allow Kostas Tsimikas to come in.

Thiago had a difficult first season at Liverpool, interrupted by injury and catching Covid, but he will be hoping to kick on in a first choice midfield three alongside Fabinho and Henderson.

Klopp has to choose between Roberto Firmino and Jota as to who will play in the front three alongside Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

There is the possibility of a front four, but if it's a three Jota might get the nod over the Brazilian.

The likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Divock Origi will be available from the bench.