Comparing Liverpool’s 2017/18 squad to a year ago

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The transfer window is closed, and Liverpool’s 2017/18 squad is now finalised – assuming no deals involving players heading to Spain on Friday (!!)

The debate now will turn to whether Liverpool have improved their squad during a transfer window that promised much but effectively delivered just one first-team player in Mohamed Salah.

The additions of Andrew Robertson, Dominic Solanke and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain bolster the squad, but none are as yet seen as players who will improve the starting XI.

We take a look at each position within Jurgen Klopp‘s 4-3-3 formation, listing players only deemed in contention a year ago, to now. So for example, Trent Alexander-Arnold was barely established at under-23s level a year ago so wasn’t considered part of the first-team squad then.

Goalkeepers

A year ago: Mignolet, Karius, Manninger

Now: Mignolet, Karius, Ward

Verdict: Stronger, especially with Mignolet improved

 

Right back

A year ago: Clyne, Randall

SINSHEIM, GERMANY - Tuesday, August 15, 2017: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the UEFA Champions League Play-Off 1st Leg match between TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and Liverpool at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Now: Clyne, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez

Verdict: A LOT stronger

 

Left back

A year ago: Milner, Moreno

Now: Moreno, Robertson, Milner

Verdict: Probably stronger, but still some uncertainty

 

Centre back

A year ago: Matip, Lovren, Klavan, Lucas

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 12, 2017: Liverpool's Joe Gomez in action against Tranmere Rovers during a preseason friendly match at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Now: Matip, Lovren, Klavan, Gomez

Verdict: No change

 

Holding midfield

A year ago: Henderson, Can, Lucas, Stewart

Now: Henderson, Can

Verdict: No change

 

Centre midfield

A year ago: Can, Lallana, Wijnaldum, Grujic, Ejaria

Now: Can, Lallana, Wijnaldum, Coutinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Milner, Grujic, Ejaria

Verdict: Stronger; more depth

 

Wide forwards

A year ago: Mane, Coutinho, Ojo

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, August 23, 2017: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah prays as he celebrates scoring the second goal during the UEFA Champions League Play-Off 2nd Leg match between Liverpool and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Now: Mane, Salah, Coutinho, Woodburn

Verdict: Stronger, faster; but still few options if injury hits

 

Centre forwards

A year ago: Firmino, Sturridge, Origi, Ings

Now: Firmino, Sturridge, Solanke, Ings

Verdict: No change

 

Overall

The squad overall is stronger, and the first XI is stronger for the addition of Salah. Much of this is due to improvements in players already at the club; the emergence of Alexander-Arnold, the return of Joe Gomez, the improvements in Alberto Moreno.

In midfield, there are plenty of options, and we could see the likes of Lallana and Oxlade-Chamberlain used in wide forward roles in the odd league game to allow Mane and Salah what will be much-needed rest – especially when games arrive thick and very fast in December.

But much like a year ago, we are hugely dependent on injuries. Last January they hit hard and we couldn’t cope.

This year there will be no AFCON, so that’s a bonus.

The failure to sign a centre-back could prove costly, something we will only know for sure in the months to come.

 

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