Liverpool’s Likely Starting X1 For Next Season – With Carlos Bacca & Firminho

Liverpool have had a pretty busy summer on the transfer front , having already confirmed deals for five new players to join the club next season in James Milner, Adam Bogdan , Danny Ings, Joe Gomez and Roberto Firmino and are reportedly close to signing top targets Nathaniel Clyne and Carlos Bacca in the coming days. Change was always inevitable after the debacle of last season, where the Reds finished Sixth and also endured their worst defeat in over half a century , a 6-1 mauling at the hands of Stoke City. This , coupled with the departure of long time servants Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson , alongwith the failure of last summer’s signings , always meant that an influx of new players this summer was inevitable.

Here we take a look as to how the Reds will probably line up for the start of the next season. We have not considered Daniel Sturridge and Jon Flanagan as both are out with long term injuries and not expected to be back until late October.

Goalkeeper – Simon Mignolet

The Belgian International had a truly remarkable campaign where his awful performances earlier in the season found him out of the playing eleven by December, but then an unexpected revival in his fortunes saw him lead the league in terms of clean sheets come the end of the campaign. Even though many are not yet convinced by him, it seems Rodgers is and therefore, barring an unexpected top quality goalkeeper signing, he is expected to keep his place next season.

Full-backs – Nathaniel Clyne & Alberto Moreno

Clyne’s transfer is set to be confirmed in the coming days and that would come as a welcome news for Liverpool fans. The highly rated Englishman will be expected to take over the mantle of Right-back from Glen Johnson just as he has done at the International level. At £12.5 million, Liverpool may have found a bargain.

On the other flank, Alberto Moreno will be in his second season with the Merseysiders and will be expected to improve significantly upon his displays last season. The 23-year-old started brightly but faded away after some encouraging performances. Liverpool are rumoured to be interested in signing Lucas Digne from PSG, but Moreno is expected to keep his place at least for the start of the season.

Central Defenders – Martin Skrtel & Mamadou Sakho

Skrtel is involved in talks with the club over a contract extension. His apparent rejection of an earlier deal had seemed to flare up interest in some quarters. However, Brendan Rodgers is reportedly willing to keep the Slovakian, who is now the most experienced Liverpool player in the squad, and that might be enough for Skrtel to stay in the line-up come next season.

Partnering him will be the French International Mamadou Sakho , who many deem the best defender at the club. The left footed center-back is a fan favourite and his return to the team last season saw a major improvement in Liverpool’s defence.

Midfielders – Jordan Henderson , James Milner & Emre Can

Jordan Henderson is widely tipped to take over the captaincy of the club next season. The 25-year-old England International signed a new 5-year-deal at the tail-end of last season and has already led the Reds out on multiple occasions in Gerrard’s absence. He will hope to pick up from where he left next season and will hope to live up to Gerrard’s legacy as Liverpool’s captain.

Next to him will be James Milner, who has signed this summer as a free agent on a 4-year-deal. Milner will be expected to provide the steel, leadership and experience to the Liverpool midfield that they have lost in Gerrard. The England International rejected a better contract at Manchester City in favour of regular football at Liverpool and Reds supporters will be hoping that the versatile player can fire them towards the coveted Champions League places.

Partnering the aforementioned duo will be the versatile German youngster Emre Can, who joined the club last summer and featured mostly at the right hand side of a 3-man defence. He has , however , laid down a marker to Brendan Rodgers with his strong performances in midfield for the Germany side in the European under-21 championship and is expected to feature in midfield next season.

Wide forwards – Roberto Firmino & Philippe Coutinho

Liverpool have made Brazilian Roberto Firmino their second most expensive signing at £29 million and their fans have huge expectations of the versatile player, who can play all across the front three and also in an attacking midfield role. He will be expected to take his place as a wide forward in the team come August and to live up to his billing as one of the best young talents in Europe.

Firmino’s partner in crime will be his compatriot Philippe Coutinho, who is absolutely adored by the Anfield faithful and was voted the club’s player of the season in May. The little magician is one of the best playmakers in the Premier League and the Reds will be looking to this pairing of Brazilians to weave their magic and bamboozle the Premier League’s defences.

Striker – Carlos Bacca

Lack of goals was the major reason for Liverpool’s fall from second to sixth last season. They have been constantly linked with Sevilla hitman Carlos Bacca who scored 28 goals for the Spanish outfit last season and are expected to sign him in the coming days. Bacca will be expected to fire in the goals that Liverpool have missing since Suarez left for Barcelona and Sturridge got injured.