At this point doubting Jurgen Klopp seems silly.
Everything he has touched at Liverpool has worked, more or less. He has delivered a league title, pushed Manchester City season after season and made an unprecedented bid for a quadruple until the end of May last season.
He has moved quickly on the transfer market: winger Fabio Carvalho arrived first from Fulham, then came club-record signing Darwin Nunez from Benfica in a deal expected to fetch £85m, and now the finishing touches are priced at £6.5m. deal for Aberdeen winger Calvin Ramsey.
Fabio Carvalho (left) and Darwin Núñez (right) are two of Liverpool’s summer signings
Liverpool have also made a breakthrough in their search for Aberdeen star Calvin Ramsay.
Two exciting young talents and one of Europe’s most wanted shooters is a brilliant summer of business in many ways. Sadio Mane will move on and other outings may follow, but as far as innings go, that seems to be it.
Klopp has his 2022-23 squad.
However, there has been a persistent feeling among Liverpool supporters and spectators that they have been in need of reinforcements in the central midfield for some time now.
As things stand heading into next season, Klopp will be able to call on Thiago Alcantara, James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Harvey Elliott, Naby Keita, Curtis Jones and Carvalho, should he be deployed more centrally than in a role. spacious, all ready. for Luis Díaz to close on the left.
The ages of the fateful eight said: 31, 36, 32, 28, 19, 27, 21 and 19. A true mixture of youth and experience.
Why many have targeted midfield is creativity, rather than depth.
Jordan Henderson (left) and James Milner (right) provide the midfield experience
Thiago Alcantara represents Liverpool’s most creative midfielder for 2022-23
Liverpool’s two main playmakers last season were Mohamed Salah, the league leader with 13 assists, and right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, second in the league with 12.
Left-back Andrew Robertson was third with 10, tied with Chelsea’s Mason Mount, Leicester’s Harvey Barnes and West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen.
Much of Klopp’s success is due to the world-class skills of the full-backs. The combination of 22 assists over the course of a campaign is unrivaled compared to City, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United.
But in midfield, an analysis of Thiago, Milner, Henderson, Fabinho, Elliott, Keita and Jones in the league last season shows they combined for just 13 assists between the seven.
Of those players, only Jones (15) and Elliot (9) played fewer than 23 league games in 2021-22.
Ramsey, one of the summer signings is a former midfielder who has adapted well to creating from right back, he will be added to the production but more responsibility will be put on midfielders to step up in 2022-23.
|League 2021-22||jordan henderson||fabinho||Thiago||James Milner||naby keita||curtis jones||harvey eliott|
|Opportunities created from Open Play||36||sixteen||29||18||fifteen||10||8|
|Step Accuracy (%)||85.5||87.5||89.1||86||86||90.5||84.2|
|attempted dribbles||27||sixteen||33||6||26||3. 4||10|
Fabinho (left) scored five goals last season, but much more is needed from Naby Keita (right)
While no central midfielder is scheduled to arrive, Liverpool had planned to take a different route, only for Real Madrid to screw up that plan.
They were chasing French international Aurelien Tchouameni but recognized it was difficult to add him as he was keen to join Real Madrid, and he joined them from Monaco in an £85m deal.
Jude Bellingham also has fans at Liverpool, but there was never a chance the England international would leave Borussia Dortmund this summer.
So any midfield remodeling will wait until this time next summer.
By then, Milner will be 37, Keita will be out of contract and the development of Elliott and Jones will be food for thought.
No midfielder played more games last season than Henderson, who finished with 35 appearances in 38 league games, starting 29 of them.
He was the midfield leader in assists with five, created the most chances with 38, and made the most passes, finishing with 2,157.
This season should give Harvey Elliott (left) and Curtis Jones (right) more opportunities.
So Henderson, who is under contract until 2025, is a metronome keeping Liverpool going.
Given Liverpool’s fearsome attack, there’s not a heavy reliance on goals coming from midfield, with Fabinho top of the table with just five over the course of the season.
The question mark for Liverpool is that an injury to the Brazilian or Thiago, who is their most creative option in midfield, would leave Klopp needing to rely more and more on their younger and less proven stars.
Elliott has been climbing the ranks but suffered a nightmarish injury at Leeds that stunted his progress and saw him finish with just six league games in 2021-22.
Jones has had more experiences but it is unclear if he can carry the midfield on his back if the call comes from Klopp amid injuries and only time will tell if he is prepared to break through and dominate a team looking to get back in the hunt. . for a quad.
Then there’s Milner, who signed a new contract to stay for another season. He won just nine starts of his 24 league appearances and, while he said he only signed the new deal on the basis that he can contribute, his presence in the locker room with the likes of Elliott and Jones is invaluable.
Jurgen Klopp will look at his midfield next summer and hope that not signing one is not a mistake
“He is a role model,” Klopp said in April.
“I’ve told you, I can tell the whole world: Nothing we’ve achieved in recent years would have happened without James Milner, it’s as easy as that.”
“Whether he was in the field or not, he’s set standards in a way that not a lot of people can set standards, and he educated all of us.”
Look, if Klopp is comfortable with his options in midfield heading into the new season, so should the supporters.
He will only hope that it is a decision that he will not bite again.