As Liverpool embark on another season under Jurgen Klopp, we take a look at the players who have the most to prove in 2022/23.
It really is a good time to be a Red.
The club continue to set incredible standards both on and off the pitch and, despite the loss of some key players over the summer, you could argue the squad is looking stronger than ever.
However, there are a handful of players who will feel they must step up this year.
Some are approaching a crossroads in their Liverpool careers and are playing for new contracts. Others are looking to improve on their performances last season, which they may feel didn’t quite go to plan.
Here, we take a look at six Liverpool players who, for different reasons, have a point to prove to Jurgen Klopp in 2022/23.
However, that hasn’t made the challenge of working his way up the pecking order any easier.
At the moment, there is no doubt that Gomez is Klopp’s fourth-choice centre-back option.
The last campaign saw Joel Matip enjoy what was probably his best season in a red shirt, while Ibrahima Konate excelled in his first year with the club and ended 2021/22 as Klopp’s preferred partner for Van Dijk.
Many of Gomez’s opportunities came at right-back, but since signing his new deal, he has made clear that he believes he can eventually establish himself in Liverpool’s first XI once again.
If it’s another season on the fringes, you have to wonder whether Gomez will eventually live to regret his decision to stay.
“It’s a big season for Naby Keita.”
We hear that every year, don’t we?
However, with the Guinean now entering the final year of his Liverpool contract, there’s no denying that 2022/23 really is an important campaign for the midfielder.
Much of Keita’s time at the club has been hampered by persistent injury problems, but you could argue that last season was his best yet.
He played 40 matches for Liverpool and was heavily involved in the Reds’ success in all competitions.
The question now, though, is whether he can kick on from here. Continue to impress, and the club won’t hesitate to hand him that new deal, but more injury problems and they could become more open to offers.
Plenty of fans want to see Liverpool sign a new midfielder this summer, but some of those same supporters also want to see a player like Curtis Jones begin to fulfil his potential.
One of the main reasons the club have not added to their ranks in the centre of the park is because, at the age of 21, a player like Jones needs opportunities to impress.
The reintroduction of the five substitutions rule should help with that, but there’s no doubt this is a big season for the England under-21 international.
At youth level, Jones looked every bit the ultimate attacking midfield player, but we’re yet to see that consistently for the first team.
Part of that is because he’s playing in a slightly more reserved midfield role than he was during much of his time in the academy, but Jones himself will admit he has plenty more to offer.
It’s easy to forget that Harvey Elliott began last season as one of Klopp’s first-choice midfielders.
Who knows what he’d have gone on to achieve if it wasn’t for the nasty ankle injury he sustained against Leeds last September?
Elliott is another reason why the Liverpool boss has ignored calls to bolster his midfield options this summer.
Earlier in pre-season, Klopp described Elliott as “a new signing,” with the 19-year-old now back to full fitness and one of the standout performers during pre-season.
He has been deployed both in midfield and on the right of a front three in the friendly matches this summer and is another who could benefit from the five substitutions rule.
Recapture his form from the early stages of last season and the sky really is the limit for Elliott in 2022/23.
This looks increasingly likely to be Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain‘s final season at Liverpool, with the midfielder now into the final year of his contract.
A serious hamstring injury during pre-season has further hampered his chances of any potential new deal.
If he has any hopes of extending his stay at Anfield, he’ll need to hit the ground running when he returns to action later this year.
Firmino is another player who is set to see his Liverpool contract expire next summer.
It remains to be seen whether the club will offer him a new deal, but the Brazilian has made clear how much he enjoys playing for the Reds on numerous occasions in recent months.
If he has any aspirations to extend his stay at Anfield beyond this summer, he surely needs a more successful individual campaign than his last one.
Much of his 2021/22 was disrupted by injury problems, and with the likes of Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez all part of a new-looking Liverpool attack, Firmino faces a battle to prove he is still a valuable asset to Klopp’s team.