Explained: Liverpool’s homegrown options – and why it impacts their transfer plans

Liverpool head into the transfer window needing to strengthen Arne Slot‘s squad in key areas, but must consider the Premier League‘s homegrown rules in doing so.

Here, we take a look at Liverpool’s homegrown quota and what it could mean for their transfer plans.


What is a homegrown player?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 18, 2024: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In the Premier League, a player counts as homegrown when they have been registered to an English or Welsh club for a period of three seasons (or years) before his 21st birthday.

A club requires eight homegrown players to register a full 25-man Premier League squad – a maximum of 17 non-homegrown players can be registered.

Players aged 21 or under can be homegrown but do not need to be registered.

For the 2024/25 campaign U21 players will have been born on or after January 1, 2003.


Which homegrown players are already in the senior squad?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 5, 2024: Liverpool's substitute Curtis Jones on the bench before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-2. (Photo by Ryan Brown/Propaganda)

While Liverpool went into the 2023/24 campaign with six homegrown players registered for the Premier League, that was reduced to five upon Paul Glatzel‘s January switch to Swindon Town.

That leaves Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Curtis Jones, Caoimhin Kelleher and Vitezslav Jaros, with three slots vacant.

However, there are question marks over the futures of both Kelleher and Jaros, with both goalkeepers expected to attract interest from elsewhere as they find themselves behind Alisson in the pecking order.

Either – or both – leaving the club would require further homegrown options to be registered in order to name a full squad for the Premier League.


Who else could be added?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 27, 2022: Liverpool's Fábio Carvalho celebrates after scoring the eighth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. Liverpool won 9-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There are a number of homegrown-eligible players already on the books at Liverpool, however, including three who are newly qualified as of this summer.

Fabio Carvalho, Owen Beck and Tyler Morton are now required to be named as senior players, rather than U21s, and if they stay as part of Slot’s squad would fill the homegrown quota.

Other options include centre-backs Nat Phillips, Sepp van den Berg, Billy Koumetio and Rhys Williams, but all four are expected to depart the club on a permanent basis, as could midfielder Tom Hill.

Liverpool’s homegrown players: Alexander-Arnold, Beck, Carvalho, Gomez, Hill, Jaros, Jones, Kelleher, Koumetio, Phillips, Pitaluga, Van den Berg, Williams

Goalkeeper Marcelo Pitaluga is also now eligible as homegrown, but his loan spell with St Patrick’s Athletic runs to the end of the year.

The likes of Harvey Elliott, Conor Bradley, Stefan Bajcetic, Bobby Clark and Ben Doak could be registered as homegrown – and some may in the Champions League due to differences in UEFA rules – but it would use up space otherwise reserved for overage players.


What does it mean for Liverpool’s transfer window?

GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - Sunday, June 16, 2024: England's Marc Guéhi lines-up before the UEFA Euro 2024 Group C match between Serbia and England at the Arena AufSchalke. England won 1-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Put simply, if Liverpool are planning to head into a busier-than-ever season with a squad big enough to compete, they will need to fill their homegrown quota with genuine quality.

That will likely inform their decision-making process when it comes to signing players in key positions such as centre-back, defensive midfield and the right wing.

Reported interest in Crystal Palace centre-back Marc Guehi is a prime example, with the England international not only first-team ready but also eligible as homegrown in the Premier League and Champions League.

Conversely, any move for Lille defender Leny Yoro would not impact the homegrown situation in the league as the Frenchman is only 18 and therefore does not need to be registered.

If Yoro did make the switch to Merseyside, however, he would take up a senior spot in the Champions League squad – though that is a matter for another day.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 17, 2024: Liverpool's goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher looks dejected after the FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. Man Utd won 4-3 in extra-time. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

By the same token, while homegrown eligibility is expected to partly dictate Liverpool’s plans for signings, it could also force tough decisions on which players are allowed to leave.

For example, the likelihood of both Kelleher and Jaros departing in the same summer without another homegrown goalkeeper arriving is slim.

Southampton‘s veteran stopper Alex McCarthy, who will be a free agent upon the expiry of his deal in July, could be one such solution, particularly if Adrian moves on.


How many non-homegrown slots are left?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, February 28, 2024: Liverpool players form a pre-match huddle before the FA Cup 5th Round match between Liverpool FC and Southampton FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool will also be looking beyond the pool of homegrown-eligible players, with the likes of Riccardo Calafiori, Johan Bakayoko and Bryan Mbeumo already linked.

There are currently 14 non-homegrown players in the senior squad, with a maximum of 17 permitted in the Premier League.

That, in theory, would allow three more foreign players to be signed this summer – or more if they are replacing another, such as Luis Diaz, on the way out.

Liverpool’s current senior squad

Goalkeepers (HG: 2): Alisson, Kelleher**, Jaros*

Defenders (HG: 5): Van Dijk, Quansah (U21), Konate, Gomez*, Phillips**, Van den Berg**, Alexander-Arnold*, Robertson, Tsimikas, Bradley (U21), Beck*

Midfielders (HG: 2): Mac Allister, Szoboszlai, Jones*, Elliott (U21), Endo, Gravenberch, Morton*, Clark (U21), Bajcetic (U21), McConnell (U21)

Forwards (HG: 1): Salah, Gakpo, Jota, Diaz, Nunez, Carvalho*, Doak (U21)

* HG
** HG but likely to leave

Much will depend on whether Slot retains the likes of Jaros, Beck, Morton and Carvalho, all of whom are yet to establish themselves as genuine first-team options but have the potential to do so.

But it highlights a delicate balancing act for Richard Hughes and the transfer staff to watch over – as it is not always as straightforward as signing the best players available.