Using Liverpool to see how Arsenal title winners will look…

Date published: Thursday 16th July 2020 12:52

So Arsenal are winning the 2023/24 Premier League title. And Liverpool show they'll do it with Tom Ince.

Liverpool were 10th when Jurgen Klopp took over from Brendan Rodgers in October 2015. Little under five years later, they were crowned Premier League champions. Arsenal were 10th when Mikel Arteta was appointed as Unai Emery’s replacement in December. And he has a better record than the German in his opening 18 games. It’s happening.

As a bit of fun, we thought we’d take Liverpool’s title-winning squad from 2019/20 and use it as the Arsenal blueprint to glory. So let’s see where every current Reds player was when Klopp took charge in 2015/16 and replicate that to reveal the Gunners side that will stroll to the championship in 2023/24.

For any player who was and still is at Liverpool, their current Arsenal counterpart will be used instead. Let us proceed.

 

Goalkeepers

Alisson
Where was he in 2015/16? First-choice keeper at Internacional.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Marcelo Lomba. He’s already 33 but goalkeepers don’t age, right?

Adrian
Where was he in 2015/16?
First-choice keeper at West Ham.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Lukasz Fabianski. The triumphant return is on.

Caoimhin Kelleher
Where was he in 2015/16? A fresh, 16-year-old recruit to the Liverpool youth system.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Arthur Okwonwko. The 18-year-old has been on the Arsenal books for over a decade.

Andy Lonergan
Where was he in 2015/16? First-choice keeper at Fulham.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Marek Rodak. He has the best clean sheet percentage (45.2%) of any goalkeeper with ten or more appearances in this Championship season. Could be worse.

 

Defenders

Virgil van Dijk
Where was he in 2015/16?
First-choice centre-half at Southampton.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Jan Bednarek. He is the same age now – 24 – as Van Dijk was when he joined Saints. And he ranks second for clearances across Europe’s top five leagues. Bloody James Tarkowski.

Dejan Lovren
Where was he in 2015/16? First-choice centre-half at Liverpool.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? David Luiz. If you don’t want to see him starting regularly in a Premier League defence at 37 then we can’t be friends.

Joe Gomez
Where was he in 2015/16? A teenage utility defender at Liverpool.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart?
William Saliba. He’s 19, has played at right-back before and is expected by some to become “one of the best”.

Andy Robertson
Where was he in 2015/16? First-choice left-back at Hull.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Callum Elder. Maybe let him get that 8-0 out of his system first.

Joel Matip
Where was he in 2015/16? First-choice centre-half at Schalke.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Ozan Kabak. Perfect.

Ki-Jana Hoever
Where was he in 2015/16? Being 13 at Ajax.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Dies Janse. He’s 14 and has been described in glowing terms by scouts as ‘Dutch’.

Trent Alexander-Arnold
Where was he in 2015/16? A regular for Liverpool’s U18 side, with one appearance for the U23s.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Daniel Oyegoke. The 17-year-old right-back had to turn down an England U17 call-up in September due to injury.

Sepp van den Berg
Where was he in 2015/16? Playing Minecraft as a 13-year-old at PEC Zwolle.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Rav van den Berg. It is thankfully difficult to find much information on teenagers playing for Dutch youth teams but Sepp’s slightly younger brother is the ‘crown jewel’ of Zwolle’s academy.

Neco Williams
Where was he in 2015/16? Doing constant crossing drills in Liverpool’s academy at 14.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Henry Jeffcott. He’s a left-back but what a possibly Thierry-inspired name.

 

Midfielders

Fabinho
Where was he in 2015/16? First-choice midfielder at Monaco.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Aleksandr Golovin. Don’t tell Pavel Kucherov.

Georginio Wijnaldum
Where was he in 2015/16? First-choice midfielder at Newcastle.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Isaac Hayden. The band is getting back together.

James Milner
Where was he in 2015/16? First-choice midfielder at Liverpool.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Granit Xhaka. He’ll still have those house keys well into his 30s.

Naby Keita
Where was he in 2015/16? First-choice midfielder at Salzburg.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Dominik Szoboszlai. This actually isn’t a bad idea.

Jordan Henderson
Where was he in 2015/16? First-choice midfielder at Liverpool.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Lucas Torreira. Just don’t use him as a No. 10.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Where was he in 2015/16? A midfield utility player at Arsenal.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Adam Lallana. Imagine the Cruyff turns.

Adam Lallana
Where was he in 2015/16? Doing Cruyff turns as first-choice midfielder at Liverpool.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Dani Ceballos. It means more weird jokes from Martin Tyler about him being a trainee hairdresser but it will be worth it.

Xherdan Shaqiri
Where was he in 2015/16? First-choice right winger at Stoke.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Tom Ince. Yes please.

Curtis Jones
Where was he in 2015/16? Having the middle name Julian. And spending his hours in Liverpool’s academy.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Mauro Bandeira. Those more knowledgeable than I say the 16-year-old is ‘an all-action midfielder’.

Harvey Elliott
Where was he in 2015/16? Plotting his future rejection of Real Madrid despite being 12 and playing for Fulham.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Elliott Harvey. He exists. Shut up.

 

Forwards

Roberto Firmino
Where was he in 2015/16? First-choice forward at Liverpool.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Alexandre Lacazette. Wednesday proved it.

Sadio Mane
Where was he in 2015/16? First-choice forward at Southampton.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Nathan Redmond. He can aggressively shout praise in Pep Guardiola’s face while lifting the trophy if he wants.

Mo Salah
Where was he in 2015/16? First-choice forward at Roma.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Nicolo Zaniolo. Again, that’s worth pursuing.

Takumi Minamino
Where was he in 2015/16? First-choice forward at Salzburg.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Hwang Hee-chan. And another.

Divock Origi
Where was he in 2015/16? Back-up striker at Liverpool.
Who is his 2019/20 counterpart? Eddie Nketiah? Or Gabriel Martinelli? They’re both probably better than Origi now…

 

Arsenal’s 2023/24 starting XI: Lomba; Oyegoke, Bednarek, Saliba, Elder; Golovin, Hayden, Torreira; Redmond, Zaniolo, Lacazette.

Bench: Fabianski, Luiz, Kabak, Xhaka, Szoboszlai, Ince, Lallana, Hee-chan, Nketiah.

Manager: Lucien Favre. Them’s the rules.

 

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