SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

Crysencio Summerville, Michael Olise & Liverpool’s complex transfer plans explained

It is perhaps because Liverpool’s January transfer window is expected to be so quiet that attentions are already turning to the summer.

With a raft of players set to return from injury this month, the Reds believe they are sufficiently equipped to keep their push for trophies on track until May.

And so plans for further tweaks to Jurgen Klopp‘s squad must wait until the end of the season.

But that hasn’t stopped speculation regarding who might arrive next from emerging and, as ever, it is the links to attackers that have most excited supporters.

The latest came this week, when it was claimed that Liverpool are preparing to battle rivals Man United for the signature of Crystal Palace star Michael Olise.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 16, 2023: Crystal Palace's Michael Olise celebrates after scoring the second goal to level the score at 2-2 in injury time during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Crystal Palace FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This report quickly followed on from a suggestion that Leeds‘ Crysencio Summerville is also being watched, leading to a consensus forming among supporters that the Reds will be in the market for a winger this summer.

Unfortunately, as ever, the situation is slightly more complex than that.

As a starting point, it is worth noting that both players are firmly on the radar of the club’s scouting network.

Olise is still just 22, was liked by recruitment staff during his time at Reading, and has taken up the mantle of being Palace’s best player since seamlessly adapting to the Premier League.

Summerville, meanwhile, is the same age, and has scored 12 in 23 league appearances so far this season – impressive numbers even accounting for the fact he plays in the Championship.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 5, 2023: Liverpool's Cody Gakpo (L) and Darwin Núñez line-up before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 7-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

However, there is no guarantee that the Reds will follow up on their interest this summer as they continue to grapple with the key question of whether their forward line will require renewal at all.

It is an area that has been strengthened greatly over the last two years, with Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo all arriving prior to their peaks to provide a potent mix of profiles.

That trio have perfectly complemented the work of a prime-age Diogo Jota and of course Mohamed Salah, who remains the best player in the Premier League.

Consequently, the key to any recruitment plans arguably lies in the huge decision that awaits on the latter’s future, particularly as it is hard to envisage a new forward earning sufficient minutes without the aid of a departure.

TOULOUSE, FRANCE - Thursday, November 9, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the UEFA Europa League Group E match-day 4 game between Toulouse FC and Liverpool FC at the Stadium de Toulouse. Toulouse won 3-2. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Anfield insiders regularly cite Harvey Elliott, Ben Doak and Dominik Szoboszlai as potential stand-ins up top, but the fact that this trio have barely been asked to take those roles this season is a decent indication of just how well stocked Liverpool are.

Furthermore, it is fair to ask whether, in the event of Salah leaving, either Olise or Summerville have yet proven themselves worthy of being considered successors.

Questions over Summerville’s ability to step up to the Premier League were hardly answered by his four goals in 34 appearances in the division first time around – even if one ended Liverpool’s 29-game unbeaten league run at Anfield, earning Leeds a shock 2-1 win.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 29, 2022: Leeds United's Crysencio Summerville celebrates after scoring the winning second goal in injury time during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leeds United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

And as for Olise, five goals in nine outings this season is an impressive rate, but he has scored just nine in 72 appearances in the top flight in total – not the levels of production that usually tempts Liverpool in.

Perhaps both will continue to kick on in ways that cement them as key targets in the coming months, and that will coincide with space in Liverpool’s attack opening up.

But with so many pieces needing to fall into place, it is far too early to say whether the Reds will go beyond keeping tabs on two players who currently offer little more than promise.