LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 13, 2023: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold (L) and Ben Doak applaud the supporters after the FA Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

How Liverpool’s non-homegrown quota could affect midfield transfer targets

The departure of three English midfielders has left a hole in Liverpool’s squad, and it could affect the club’s transfer business.

As well as his experience and playing expertise, Jordan Henderson‘s move to Al Ettifaq meant Liverpool lost his status as a homegrown player.

With Fabinho having also left for Saudi Arabia, alongside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner‘s exits, the Reds started the season with fewer midfielders than last, despite two new additions.

In order to comply with competition rules for the Premier League, Liverpool can have a maximum of 17 non-homegrown players in their squad.

Gakpo, Salah, Nunez (Image: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo)

This means anybody after that 17-man limit must be homegrown or born later than 2001.

At the time of writing, Liverpool’s numbers would allow just two more foreign players to sign.

The club’s efforts to pursue Romeo Lavia were likely made, in part, due to the fact he would be classed as homegrown and not take up a place in the squad once he turns 22.

To qualify as homegrown, a player must have been registered to an English or Welsh club for a period of three seasons (or years) before his 21st birthday, with a maximum of 17 non-homegrown players permitted in the Premier League.

This is because he will have been at an FA-associated club for more than three years before his 22nd birthday, therefore would be classed as homegrown.

He appears to be off to Chelsea now, though, making Liverpool’s defensive midfield situation considerably more anxiety-inducing.

The decision to allow Henderson to leave is becoming more questionable by the day. His departure affects things not necessarily because he would be in our starting XI, but because he was a midfield body.

Liverpool’s upcoming season will be a long one, hopefully including a run deep into the Europa League, League Cup and FA Cup, and the Reds will need midfielders fit and firing.

When Ben Doak is inevitably registered for this season’s Europa League squad, it will leave Liverpool with just one foreign spot left due to UEFA’s rules.

    Liverpool’s current non-homegrown list (domestic competitions)

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 13, 2023: Liverpool's Luis Díaz (L) celebrates with team-mate Dominik Szoboszlai after scoring the opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Defenders: Van Dijk, Konate, Tsimikas, Robertson, Matip
  • Midfielders: Thiago, Mac Allister, Szoboszlai
  • Forwards: Salah, Nunez, Jota, Gakpo, Diaz
  • That’s 15 of 17 spots already taken.

Here are Liverpool’s midfield options: Thiago, Dominik Szoboszlai, Alexis Mac Allister, Curtis Jones, Stefan Bajcetic, Harvey Elliott, Bobby Clark

That’s not a lot to choose from, given one is injury prone and five others are still under 23 years old.

That leaves just new signing Mac Allister as Liverpool’s one supposedly-proven reliable midfielder.

None of them are defensive by trade.

KARLSRUHER, GERMANY - Wednesday, July 19, 2023: Liverpool's Alexis Mac Allister during a pre-season friendly match between Karlsruher SC and Liverpool FC at the Wildparkstadion. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

All this suggests Liverpool would be wise to recruit two midfielders, one established No. 6 and another who is versatile.

It would be best if one were a homegrown player, therefore leaving open at least one space that can be used for a defender in this window or next.

In terms of players that have been linked and fit that bill, well there hasn’t really been any.

Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham would have been the two dream signings but they have both moved to different clubs.

Mason Mount also went elsewhere but his ex-Chelsea teammate, Conor Gallagher is one man who could be a potential option.

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 27, 2022: Germany's Jan Thielmann (R) icb England's Levi Colwill during the International friendly between England Under-21’s and Germany Under-21’s at Bramall Lane. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In terms of defenders that Liverpool could sign who would be classed as homegrown or under-22, Marc Guehi and Levi Colwill are the two most prominent names linked.

However, hopes of signing the latter were crushed when signed a new six-year contract at Chelsea earlier this month.

This all leaves the Reds without an immediate problem in the homegrown department, but with one that could arise in the near future if they don’t act now.