Liverpool: The first six fixtures of the new Premier League season
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Though Liverpool ended their three-decade long wait for a league title in the 2019/2020 campaign, the defence of their crown capitulated in spectacular fashion.
Much of this was down to a remarkable injury list which saw Jurgen Klopp’s three first-choice centre-backs all struck down with season ending injuries, losing Virgil van Dijk as early on as October.
However, Liverpool have immediately sought to rectify this and ensure it doesn’t happen again by dipping into the transfer market to secure the services of RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate.
Setting them back £36m, that figure could prove to be a steal if the Frenchman can replicate the kind of form that saw him establish himself as one of the Bundesliga’s best defenders.
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Not only have Liverpool potentially bagged themselves one of the signings of the summer, the deal represents forward thinking and strategic planning to ensure Klopp’s side are kept ticking over until van Dijk returns, where Konate will vie with Joe Gomez and Joel Matip for the role of the Dutchman’s partner.
This kind of long-term planning is the exact kind of transfer tactics they will have to deploy when it comes to rebuilding their attack.
While the front three of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino have given many defenders across the continent sleepless nights, all three are 29 years of age and are approaching the end of their cycle of dominance.
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Mane endured his worst season in terms of goal-scoring since he arrived in Merseyside, bagging 16 goals in all competitions, to put that into context, he notched more than that in the league alone the season prior.
It was a similar story for Roberto Firmino, who scored just nine all season – the first time he ended the campaign with a single-digit goal tally since he joined the Reds in 2015.
As a result, it is time for Liverpool to start building an attack for the future, the first piece already arriving at the beginning of this season in Portuguese forward Diogo Jota, who took to life at Liverpool with ease.
Recent reports have indicated Klopp may have identified Sweden star Alexander Isak as a potential replacement for one of his three stars, though it is likely to be one of Mane or Firmino who departs given Salah has maintained his usual goal-scoring exploits.
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Isak, who plies his trade for La Liga outfit Real Sociedad at club level, notched 17 goals at club level last season.
The 21-year-old has established himself as one of the breakout stars of Euro 2020, helping to guide his nation to the top of their group and into the knockout stages.
One of the most highly-rated young attackers on the continent, Isak’s Real Sociedad release clause currently sits at €70m (£60m), but Liverpool will have to fend off interest from the likes of Premier League rivals Arsenal and Chelsea who are also rumoured to be monitoring his situation.
While it is unlikely that any of the famous front three will leave Merseyside this summer, next year could prove to be a different story, one that would have a happier ending if Isak was waiting in the wings.
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