Five players Liverpool should build around in the post-Jurgen Klopp era

Will Ford
Nunez Bajcetic Liverpool
Darwin Nunez and Stefan Bajcetic are the future for Liverpool post-Jurgen Klopp.

The Jurgen Klopp era is coming to a close and the Liverpool chiefs will be not unreasonably concerned by the post-legacy manager malaises that hit both Manchester United and Arsenal.

Their title challenge is all but over after the Reds limped to defeat at Everton, and it’s time to look to next season, when – you don’t know! – they may well be up near the top fighting for the big gong again.

Arne Slot is the current favourite to take the helm, and though we know by now not to become too attached to the Liverpool next manager flavour of the week, whoever takes charge will want to put their stamp on things at Anfield.

They can do without these five players, but we’ve also selected five to build around in the post-Klopp era.


Trent Alexander-Arnold
Amid Conor Bradley’s stunning rise this season, some fools were questioning whether Liverpool even need Trent Alexander-Arnold; £100m from Real Madrid would indeed be tempting. But the fact remains that no Liverpool player, and perhaps only one or two others in the Premier League, can pass or deliver a football like him.

His free-kick and display in general against Fulham was oustanding, and had Mohamed Salah or Darwin Nunez not royally fluffed their lines against Everton, we would currently be extolling Alexander-Arnold’s extraordinary passing range and how it might prove to be the difference in the title race rather than concerning ourselves with the post-Klopp era.

The task for Slot or whoever else takes on the impossible job will be to work out whether they can get Alexander-Arnold and Bradley in the same team, because the best starting XI should feature both.

UNIQUE TO F365: Mediawatch | Mailbox | Winners & Losers | Bespoke PL tables

Alexis Mac Allister
A move into midfield for Alexander-Arnold would be the simplest solution to get him and Bradley in the same team, but that switch creates another problem.

Mac Allister has been their signing of the season, performing admirably as a defensive midfielder when required and thriving when operating slightly further forward, where he’s truly able to utilise his best qualities: playing passes through, round and over the defence and smashing shots into top corners.

He plays as we would expect Alexander-Arnold to in midfield, and the concern will be that Liverpool would lack balance regardless of whoever plays with them in the three. Wataru Endo would mean a lack of forward thrust and dribbling power; Dominik Szoboszlai could make them too open to counters.

But the potential of a position change for Alexander-Arnold won’t be a concern for Alexis Mac Allister, who is a certain starter whichever manager joins and whichever players arrive in the summer.

👉 Arne Slot confirms he ‘wants’ to join Liverpool with Feyenoord ‘negotiating’ his summer exit
👉 Mediawatch: Why Arne Slot is WORSE than Ten Hag and yet somehow loads better

Darwin Nunez
He’s second-worst finisher in the top flight, wedged between Dominic Calvert-Lewin in first and Nicolas Jackson in third, which isn’t the best of company. Missing the second-most big chances (26) in the Premier League also isn’t great, but being pipped to top spot by Erling Haaland (30) with Ollie Watkins (20) just behind may make him feel better.

And though only scoring 11 goals from 104 shots (the most in the Premier League) could also be used as a stick to beat him with, like the missed big chances, at least Nunez is getting in the positions to miss them, unlike the flop of the season contender at Manchester United.

It also doesn’t feel like it will take all that much to turn him from a chaotic nuisance for opposition teams into a chaotic nuisance for opposition teams who also scores goals. Lesson 1: Don’t just hit shots as hard as is humanly possible in every single situation. End of class.

📣 TO THE COMMENTS! Should Liverpool persist with Nunez? Join the debate

Diogo Jota
They’ll need the goals to come from somewhere post-Salah, and though perhaps not quite as good as Jamie Carragher reckons, Diogo Jota is undoubtedly a very good finisher. That’s certainly borne out this season, with Jota scoring his 10 goals from just 41 shots, giving him a rate of 0.24 goals per shot, far better than top scorer Salah (0.14) in second.

It’s perhaps not the very best metric with which to measure the quality of strikers given Chris Wood (0.35), Elijah Adebayo (0.32) and Taiwo Awoniyi (0.27) all have him beat. But if the new manager can a) keep Jota fit and b) get him shooting more often – he currently ranks sixth for Liverpool behind the other four forwards and Harvey Elliott – then Liverpool could reap some serious rewards next season.


Stefan Bajcetic
The forgotten man having been injured for near enough the whole campaign, but he looked the real deal at the end of last season – like Thiago Alcantara with legs.

He’s just 19 and such a lengthy spell out injured should clearly mean greater caution is taken with him in the future, but Liverpool are in great shape to ease him in gently. Wataru Endo, 31, is arguably the ideal player for Bajcetic to be vying for a starting spot with. Neither can expect to or should start every game, with Bajcetic’s role – assuming he continues on the upward trajectory from last term – set to increase as the season goes on.

More: Liverpool | Arne Slot