Liverpool are set to add another midfielder to their ranks with a deal agreed to sign Thiago Alcantara.
The midfielder has said his goodbyes to Bayern Munich and will now sign with the Reds in a deal which could eventually be worth over £26million.
The Champions League winner, formerly of Barcelona, brings plenty of pedigree to Anfield in a position which has been a key part of the well-oiled machine that is Jurgen Klopp’s title winning side.
The likes of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Georginio Wijnaldum all played crucial roles in their title triumph last year.
Thiago’s capture simply adds more depth to a position with a host of options – and this is the state of play for Klopp when Alcantara links up with his new side.
Liverpool’s central midfield depth chart
1st string: Jordan Henderson
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is the man that makes the Reds tick – and that is unlikely to change.
The Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year symbolised last season’s historic title triumph and has come to personify Klopp’s side.
Henderson’s attributes both in and out of possession make him a crucial member of the side and one of the first names on the team-sheet.
2nd string: Fabinho
Fabinho took some time to adjust when he made the move to Anfield.
But he has become integral to the way in which Jurgen Klopp plays, sitting just in front of the defence, breaking up play and controlling the transition.
Far from a flashy player, Fabinho is still vital and the three goals conceded in his absence against Leeds last weekend showed why he is unlikely to be the one to make way for Thiago due to the balance he adds to the side.
3rd string: Thiago Alcantara
Thiago Alcantara will take some time to adjust to the Premier League – but it is hard to imagine it will take long.
With Bayern Munich and Barcelona experience, the Spain international is as well-rounded as they come in the middle of the park.
Liverpool are keen to repeat last season’s success – and you don’t want to miss a thing, surely?
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Liverpool got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds.
In terms of transfers. The Reds have agreed a deal for Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara, but Georginio Wijnaldum continues to be linked with Barcelona. There’s a lot to keep track of.
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His strong decision making in order to keep the game ticking over and get the best out of Bayern Munich’s playmakers was crucial in their Champions League success.
His grasp of managing the game and picking the right passes means he could well be just what Liverpool need to kick-on even more after their dominance last season.
4th string: Georginio Wijnaldum
Georginio Wijnaldum’s future is uncertain – and the signing of Thiago Alcantara is unlikely to do anything to quell concerns.
Still yet to commit his future to the club, the Dutchman seems the obvious contender to make way to fit in the new signing.
With Ronald Koeman interested in taking him to Barcelona, Wijnaldum looks the only real established Liverpool star who could leave the club.
As it stands, he is still important to Klopp’s side but Thiago’s arrival makes him more expendable as probably the fourth in the pecking order with everyone fit and in form.
5th string: Naby Keita
Naby Keita was primed for a big season after ending the previous campaign strongly.
Like Fabinho, there has been a period of adjustment for Keita since his big-money move.
But something seemed to click after lockdown and he has started to show his worth.
The signing of Thiago will come as a blow to Keita and his hopes of establishing himself as a regular starter.
But the demands of the schedule this season mean Keita will still feature regularly and look to continue his progess.
6th string: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been threatening to kick-on at Liverpool for some time.
He is clearly a player valued highly by Klopp with different attributes to many team-mates as a driving force from midfield.
Unfortunately for the former Arsenal man, injuries keep getting in the way.
Another knock has ruled him out of the early part of the season, and Thiago’s signing means opportunities are likely to be harder to come by.
7th string: James Milner
The experienced James Milner has found himself in a funny position.
Often asked to cover at left-back last season, the signing of Kostas Tsimikas has allowed him to focus on being in midfield once again.
But the arrival of Thiago now bumps him further down the pecking order.
Still, Milner’s experience and leadership makes him a safe pair of hands and a player who is sure to get his fair share of minutes across a variety of roles, whether off the bench or in the starting line-up.
8th string: Curtis Jones
Curtis Jones is an intriguing case for Liverpool this season.
Generally used out wide as a youth player and in his early appearances, he has since been deployed in a more central role by Klopp.
The German clearly sees that the youngster can make an impact making bursts from midfield and getting on the ball as a free-roaming playmaker.
He will be hoping for more minutes in the Premier League as well as taking his chances again in the cup competitions as he carves out a first-team role.
9th string: Marko Grujic
Does Marko Grujic have a future at Anfield?
That is the big question.
The midfielder has impressed on loan at Hertha Berlin the last two seasons and is now back with the Reds in pre-season.
He is pushing for a role under Jurgen Klopp but opportunities are likely to be limited in pre-season.
But Liverpool will not sell unless they get the right fee, and cup competitions could give Grujic a chance to stake his claim.