By Max Chaytor
We saw plenty of times last season that the Reds can’t play their swashbuckling style of football in
every game. Even the Champions League final victory was not a game to remember, but we also saw
that when that change was needed, it worked. Whether it be one of Klopp’s subsitutions, or a Pep
Lijnders-inspired tactical change, Liverpool could get over the line in games such as Everton with the
introduction of Divock Origi and in the victory over Manchester United where Xherdan Shaqiri came
off the bench to score twice. So, with no new marquee names to look to, how can Liverpool do the
same thing this season?
One of the main reasons Klopp didn’t make any major signings this summer was due to the return of
first-team players who barely played a part last season. Adam Lallana played very much a bit-part
role last year, but Klopp surprised us all when, in pre-season, he announced plans to put Lallana in a
deeper role for 2019/20 season; almost as a number 6 in a role similar to that of Chelsea’s Jorginho –
Klopp even joked that Maurizio Sarri could launch a bid after seeing Lallana in a position the Italian
favours. If Henderson is starting in that role and things need changing, Klopp can push our captain
forward and allow Lallana to be creative in that role, especially if there is another man in attacking
midfield that didn’t play a part last season.
One of those men could be Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who, after a cruciate ligament injury in the
17/18 season CL semi-final against Roma, didn’t play first-team football until Huddersfield at home
towards the latter part of the 18/19 season, so the Ox really is like a new signing. And with LFC now
playing in more tournaments such as the Club World Cup, and if Klopp wants more realistic
silverware, he could be a key player in the squad, and will no doubt get serious game time in the
league and Champions League also. He can play in a more attacking role and create more
opportunities in the final third if things aren’t going well for someone like Naby Keita.
Speaking of Naby Keita, he was a name highly talked about this time last year. The energetic
midfielder arrived from RB Leipzig in the summer of 2018 after his move was announced in January.
But the Guinean didn’t have the impact he, and I’m sure all Liverpool fans, had hoped for judging by
his £48 million price tag. But at the same time, all parties know the ability of the man – and after a
late season bloom scoring crucially in games such as Southampton away and Porto at home in the
UCL Quarter Finals, he was struck by injury in the game against Barcelona at the Nou Camp, leaving
him out for the rest of the season. He played in the Africa Cup of Nations, but an early exit for
Guinea meant Keita rejoined with the LFC squad in a training camp in Evian, shortly before a friendly
against Lyon, in which he played no part in. There is no doubting the ability and skill of our number
8, but he must gain confidence early in the season to really get a stranglehold of a position in
Liverpool’s busiest area of the pitch.
Daniel Sturridge’s strikes against Chelsea away and PSG at home last season gave LFC fans a
reminder of the ability of a player riddled with injury ever since arguably his best season in 2013/14.
But after the club let the forward go this summer, Klopp needs another player to bolster his attacks
from the bench. Already armed with the now prolific Divock Origi, he can now look to youngster
Rhian Brewster if Salah, Mane or Firmino are misfiring. Being an unknown quantity to clubs, the 19-
year-old can bring something different off the bench. Quick and agile with a nouse for goals, the U17
World Cup and Golden Boot winner of 2017 is part of that generation of players coming through at
Premier League clubs, along with the likes of Phil Foden at Manchester City and Callum Hudson-Odoi
at Chelsea. Klopp already hinted that he would give Brewster a big opportunity for the upcoming
season after the former Chelsea youth product scored 4 goals during pre-season. Brewster can make
a name for himself this season, as long as he takes his opportunities well.
There are just a few ideas as to how LFC can bring some names off the bench if things aren’t going to
plan for Jurgen this year, and how affective they can be. These are players worthy of starting for
midtable clubs alone, but such is the competition in this truly remarkable Liverpool team, they will
have to settle as fringe players. But this role means that they are just as important to the first-team
players, and without a doubt will start games in differing competitions this year.