Liverpool 2.0: Diaz and Jota sign a converting of the guard, who else involved?

Jurgen Klopp inherited a baggy and lacklustre Liverpool squad upon his arrival in 2015 however the transformation beneathneath the Reds boss has been not anything quick of spectacular.

The German and transfer maestro Michael Edwards have built a Premier League and Champions League title-winning dynasty in just over six years.

But as Liverpool’s star-studded squad begins to age and the uncertainty over their attacking trident’s future at Anfield looms, Klopp must look to the future and the club’s next generation to maintain their status as title challengers.

Jurgen Klopp has developed a fearsome front three in Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino but there is a cloud looming over the trio’s future with all three currently embroiled in contract negotiations.

The first real sign Klopp was preparing for a changing of the guard of his frontline was the signing of Diogo Jota.

The Reds splashed out £40million for the forward in September 2020 to the mockery of Wolves fans who claimed they had overpaid but he has proven to be a revelation, evening usurping beloved Brazilian Firmino.

The Portugal international has excelled on Merseyside since joining from Wolves, proving his £40million price tag to be worth the value.

The 25-year-old has been vital for the Reds while they have been without to key members of their attacking machine, Salah and Mane, due to the Africa Cup of Nations.

Jota has scored 15 goals in all competitions this term, including 10 in the Premier League – second only to the top-flight’s top scorer Salah, naturally.

Additionally, his two goals in Liverpool’s semi-final win over Arsenal to book the Reds’ place at Wembley and an opening header in their FA Cup victory over Cardiff were a case in point.

The Reds swoop for Luis Diaz is now the next jigsaw piece in the Liverpool 2.0 puzzle.

Diaz seems likely to pick up Mane’s mantle, as  a left winger, he is the perfect substitute for the Senegalese, replicating his ability to cut in from the left.

While Firmino and Mane’s next generation counterparts are locked and loaded, the general consensus among fans is that Salah must be kept at all costs.

Liverpool’s Egyptian King has 23 goals in 26 appearances this season and shows no sign of decline.

But even Salah can’t play on forever and with his contract dilemma still unresolved, it would be a smart move for Liverpool to have a replacement waiting in the wings.

The Reds looked to have a target in sights in the January window as they made a move for Fulham’s Fabio Carvalho.

The highly-rated 19-year-old has established himself in Fulham’s starting XI this season, and has been a revelation for Marco Silva’s men, scoring seven goals in 18 Championship appearances.

He plays primarily in an creative midfield role but can also play on either wing and it is not unusual for Klopp to develop players in other roles, take false No 9 Firmino for instance.

Liverpool’s move the starlet in January fell through at the last minute but the Merseyside club are still expected to secure his signature with his deal expiring in June.

Liverpool raided the Cottagers for another future starlet in 2019 as they began discreet midfield renovations.

Premier League veteran James Milner looks set to leave at the end of the season, while captain Jordan Henderson is a stalwart in the middle of the park but has already hit 31.

Fabinho and Thiago are likely future first team choices but Liverpool still need to begin reinforcing.

Harvey Elliott dazzled at the start of the season before a horror ankle injury cast him to the sidelines for five months.

However, the 18-year-old has bounced back in magnificent form, marking his return with a goal in Liverpool’s 3-1 FA Cup win over Cardiff.

Curtis Jones has stepped up after being forced to be patient at the start of the season, mostly due to Elliott’s unexpected impact, but needs to improve his consistency.

Georginio Wijnaldum was not directly replaced after he was allowed to leave for Paris Saint-Germain at the end of last season.

And the Dutchaman, who made an insane 51 appearances for the Reds last season, has left a gaping void in Klopp’s engine room.

Latest links suggest that Liverpool could finally look to replace him as they reportedly eye a swoop for Barcelona wonderkid Gavi and are ready to offer him a deal worth £3m per year – double what Barcelona can afford – while also dangling the incentive of an £8m signing on fee.

Gavi would inject some much-needed energy into Liverpool’s midfield three and with his contract set to expire in 2023 the Reds could pounce this summer.

Meanwhile, Jude Belligham was a name churning round on the rumour mill with the Reds linked to a move for the Borussia Dortmund star.

Still only 18 years old, Bellingham already has 75 Dortmund appearances to his name and 10 England caps and could be a star for club and country for years to come, key to rejuvenating Liverpool’s ageing squad.

While the biggest unknowns lie in midfield, Klopp’s defence is already looking pretty future-proof.

For most Liverpool fans the though of life without Anfield colossus Virgil van Dijk is unbearable after the defensive stalwart almost single-handedly salvaged their backline catastrophe and helped them to Premier League and Champions League titles.

However, the Reds have already prepared for the painful, but inevitable, post-Van Dijk era.

After a series of injury blows at the back saw Liverpool’s title defence crash and burn last season, Klopp immediately looked to reinforce his backline in the summer transfer window.

Ibrahima Konate was the sole arrival at Anfield last summer and has looked at home in 14 appearances this term.

The Frenchman may not be a regular starter under Klopp so far but the Reds boss  could be taking the gradual and considered approach that he did when introducing Fabinho and Robertson.

Given the time to adjust and grow into life in the Premier League, especially under the guidance of Van Dijk, Konate easily has the potential to become Liverpool’s nest defensive leader.

At just 23, homegrown talent Trent Alexander-Arnold is already an Anfield great and with a long career still ahead of him he can become a Liverpool legend.

With the England international holding down the fort at right-back, the position is probably of the least concern to the club but his counterpart is slightly more precarious.

Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson on the left have revolutionised the role of a traditional full-back, charging down the flanks and attacking just as much as defending.

But Robertson is approaching 28, and with his game so reliant on his ability to race the touchline incessantly it is likely he will eventually drop off in a few years.

Liverpool struggled for a decade to find a left back capable to living up to the Anfield standard.

From Paul Konchesky and Aly Cissokho to Alberto Moreno, Liverpool’s options for a dependable left back have been scarce.

So much so, that midfielder Milner was shoehorned into the position for a spell, and while he did a commendable job, it was not a permanent solution.

Then Andrew Robertson came along to answer the Anfield faithful’s prayers and the thought of scrambling to find someone of a similar ilk would have been enough to send the fans – and the manager – into frenzy.

Or would have, if not for new kid on the block Kostas Tsimikas waiting in the wings.

The 25-year-old arrived in the summer of 2020 from Olympiacos for £11.7m to provide cover and competition for the star left back but could be the next hero.

Tsimikas took a while to adapt at Liverpool and with Robertson in flying form last season he barely got a look in, making just seven appearances across all competitions.

But he snatched his chance this season, taking centre stage while Robertson has been sidelined and quickly endeared himself to the Kop, earning the title of ‘Greek Scouser’.

If Liverpool’s search for a left back was a struggle, it paled in comparison to the nightmare of their goalkeeping horrors.

From Simon Mignolet to Loris Karius, the Reds endured several horrific howlers in goal – note the 2018 Champions League final, if it is not still too painful to remember.

Then Alisson Becker came along with the golden sky at the end of the storm.

The Brazilian still has a few years ahead of him but Liverpool are already pretty well-stocked in goal.

Caoimhin Kelleher has been a solid and dependable No 2 – probably the best Liverpool have had in years.

However, the only concern lies with whether the Irishman will be willing to remain in Alisson’s shadow for a few more years or seek a No 1 spot elsewhere.

But in the instance the 23-year-old heads for greener pastures, the Reds have a potential Alisson 2.0 for Liverpool 2.0.

Klopp could already have Alisson’s heir lined up in fellow Brazilian Pitaluga.

The £1million signing from Fluminense impressed for the Under-23s since his arrival last year but picked up an injury in February.

However, he trained alongside Van Dijk in pre-season and has been on the bench for two Premier League games this season.

Klopp and Alisson have already been singing his praises, with the Reds boss saying, via The Guardian: ‘Marcelo is an incredible talent, so the next one in line.’

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