Liverpool

Liverpool 2021/22 preview: Transfers, key player, fixtures, new kits, prediction & more

Jamie Spencer
Liverpool & Jurgen Klopp have a big season ahead
Liverpool & Jurgen Klopp have a big season ahead / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images
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Liverpool head into the new Premier League campaign hoping to start afresh following a disappointing defence of their title last season that was derailed by injuries and ultimately only saved from catastrophe by an impressive end to the campaign, which involved eight wins from their last ten.

Jurgen Klopp is starting his sixth full season as Reds boss and will be well aware that the time for transition and rebuilding is coming.

Finances have been tighter than ever as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and a wage bill heavily inflated by success-related bonuses, which suggests it could be another potentially challenging season for the club as they largely make do with what they have.


Transfers

In: Ibrahima Konate (£36m)

Out: Georginio Wijnaldum (free), Kamil Grabara (£3m), Liam Millar (£1.3m), Marko Grujic (£10.5m), Taiwo Awoniyi (£6.5m), Harry Wilson (£12m), Sepp van den Berg (loan)


First-team squad

1. Alisson (GK)
3. Fabinho (MF)
4. Virgil van Dijk (DF)
5. Ibrahima Konate (DF)
6. Thiago Alcantara (MF)
7. James Milner (MF)
8. Naby Keita (MF)
9. Roberto Firmino (FW)
10. Sadio Mane (FW)
11. Mohamed Salah (FW)
12. Joe Gomez (DF)
13. Adrian (GK)
14. Jordan Henderson (MF)
15. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (MF)
17. Curtis Jones (MF)
18. Takumi Minamino (MF)
20. Diogo Jota (FW)
21. Kostas Tsimikas (DF)
22. Loris Karius (GK)
23. Xherdan Shaqiri (MF)
26. Andrew Robertson (DF)
27. Divock Origi (FW)
28. Ben Davies (DF)
32. Joel Matip (DF)
46. Rhys Williams (DF)
47. Nathaniel Phillips (DF)
62. Caoimhin Kelleher (GK)
66. Trent Alexander-Arnold (DF)
67. Harvey Elliott (FW)
72. Neco Williams (DF)


Key player

Fabinho
Losing Fabinho from his best position really hurt Liverpool last season / Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson and the returning Virgil van Dijk are all obviously hugely important players for Liverpool and will remain so in 2021/22.

But the Reds lost so much in terms of shape and structure last season when Fabinho had to be pulled out of midfield to fill in as an emergency centre-back for much of the campaign.

It is absolutely not a coincidence that their best run of results, which secured what had previously seemed an unlikely top four finish, came in the latter stages when the Brazilian was restored to his usual role protecting the back four at the base of midfield.

Now that the defensive injury crisis is over and Ibrahima Konate has been bought to further strengthen, Fabinho can once more be the midfield foundation the rest of the team is built on.


Young player to watch

Harvey Elliott
18-year-old Harvey Elliott is back after a successful loan at Blackburn / Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Liverpool fans are very excited about 18-year-old Harvey Elliott. Already Liverpool’s youngest ever starter when he made his full debut aged 16 in 2019, the winger spent last season gaining invaluable first-team experience on loan at Blackburn and has impressed in pre-season.

Elliott has since been tied to a new long-term contract at Liverpool and the time has come for the youngster to get his chance for a breakout season.


Fixtures

Live TV broadcasts have been chosen for games up to the end of October, other dates and/or kick-off times after that point remain subject to change.

14 August 2021 - 17:30 - Norwich vs Liverpool (Sky Sports)
21 August 2021 - 12:30 - Liverpool vs Burnley (BT Sport)
28 August 2021 - 17:30 - Liverpool vs Chelsea (Sky Sports)
12 September 2021 - 16:30 - Leeds United vs Liverpool (Sky Sports)
18 September 2021 - 15:00 - Liverpool vs Crystal Palace
25 September 2021 - 17:30 - Brentford vs Liverpool (Sky Sports)
3 October 2021 - 16:30 - Liverpool vs Manchester City (Sky Sports)
16 October 2021 - 12:30 - Watford vs Liverpool (BT Sport)
24 October 2021 - 16:30 - Manchester United vs Liverpool (Sky Sports)
30 October 2021 - 15:00 - Liverpool vs Brighton
6 November 2021 - 15:00 - West Ham vs Liverpool
20 November 2021 - 15:00 - Liverpool vs Arsenal
27 November 2021 - 15:00 - Liverpool vs Southampton
30 November 2021 - 19:45 - Everton vs Liverpool
4 December 2021 - 15:00 - Wolves vs Liverpool
11 December 2021 - 15:00 - Liverpool vs Aston Villa
15 December 2021 - 20:00 - Liverpool vs Newcastle
18 December 2021 - 15:00 - Tottenham vs Liverpool
26 December 2021 - 15:00 - Liverpool vs Leeds
28 December 2021 - 15:00 - Leicester vs Liverpool
1 January 2022 - 15:00 - Chelsea vs Liverpool
15 January 2022 - 15:00 - Liverpool vs Brentford
22 January 2022 - 15:00 - Crystal Palace vs Liverpool
9 February 2022 - 20:00 - Liverpool vs Leicester
12 February 2022 - 15:00 - Burnley vs Liverpool
19 February 2022 - 15:00 - Liverpool vs Norwich
26 February 2022 - 15:00 - Arsenal vs Liverpool
5 March 2022 - 15:00 - Liverpool vs West Ham
12 March 2022 - 15:00 - Brighton vs Liverpool
19 March 2022 - 15:00 - Liverpool vs Manchester United
2 April 2022 - 15:00 - Liverpool vs Watford
9 April 2022 - 15:00 - Manchester City vs Liverpool
16 April 2022 - 15:00 - Aston Villa vs Liverpool
23 April 2022 - 15:00 - Liverpool vs Everton
30 April 2022 - 15:00 - Newcastle vs Liverpool
7 May 2022 - 15:00 - Liverpool vs Tottenham
15 May 2022 - 15:00 - Southampton vs Liverpool
22 May 2022 - 16:00 - Liverpool vs Wolves


Kits

Home: The second Liverpool home kit Nike have produced, inspired by the club's switch to an all-red strip in 1964, which legendary manager Bill Shankly hoped would strike fear into opponents.

Away: A nod to the famous off-white jersey worn during the 1996/97 season.

Third: TBC - leaks so far suggest it will be a yellow shirt with red trim, classic Liverpool colours.


Prediction

The harsh reality is that Liverpool are not the same team they were in 2019 and 2020 and are directly worse off following the departure of Georginio Wijnaldum on a free transfer.

The front three are all now 29 and Sadio Mane’s dip in form last season highlighted that, however outstanding they have been in the past, they are not invincible.

The returns of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez from long-term injuries are a huge boost, especially if Van Dijk can quickly return to his pre-ACL form. New arrival Ibrahima Konate is a raw talent with enormous potential, while fans will hope for more from Diogo Jota and Thiago Alcantara, whose respective debut seasons at Anfield were unfortunately defined by injuries.

Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea have all improved, which will make challenging for the Premier League title extremely tough, but Liverpool still have more than enough quality to finish in the top four ahead of the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Leicester.

The primary focus this season has to be ensuring that they still have Champions League football to offer to prospective signings next summer when more serious rebuilding has to begin.

Mounting a challenge in the Champions League might bizarrely be a little easier, although going all the way would still be a stretch, while Klopp has usually been forced to sacrifice the domestic cups in recent seasons to protect a relatively small squad and that could happen again.

Premier League top four, Champions League knockouts, knocked out of both domestic cups.


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