On the surface, Jurgen Klopp remains coy over the rumoured overhaul of his Liverpool squad this summer, but the club’s Premier League position dictates that bodies will be arriving to replace deadwood when the transfer window next opens.
Although victory over their Capital One Cup conquerors at Anfield could theoretically lift them into seventh place, defeat to Manchester City could hypothetically see Liverpool head into March in 12th spot.
Such underachievement is not acceptable for a club of Liverpool’s stature and the morning gossip columns being awash with players linked to Anfield supports this statement.
Here are the main headline makers who could be lured by Klopp’s rebuilding project and FSG’s chequebook:
Mario Gotze – Bayern Munich
The attacking midfielder worked under Klopp at Dortmund and this affiliation has given the speculation legs. Despite Bayern Munich excelling in Gotze’s long absence through injury, landing the World Cup winner would still be a coup for Liverpool.
Piotr Zielinski – Udinese
From a household name to a player unlikely to feature on the average footy fan’s radar, but the 21-year-old Pole has certainly carved out a reputation as a dangerous attacking threat in Serie A.
Playing centrally off the striker, Zielinski has three league goals and four assists to his name on loan at mid-table Empoli and dribbling is one of his strongest suits.
Granit Xhaka – Borussia Monchengladbach
Another young central midfielder, the 23 year old is more of a deep-lying playmaker than number 10 type. The well-built Swiss has already been linked with Manchester City this season, giving notice of the Bundesliga star’s stock across Europe.
Karim Bellarabi – Bayer Leverkusen
Given Klopp’s strong links with Germany it’s perhaps unsurprising that three of the five rumoured targets operate in the Bundesliga.
Bellarabi is a lightning quick winger who is unperturbed by dribbling past one, two or three players in a Leverkusen shirt. He has a touch of the showman about him, but can also frustrate.
Ben Chilwell – Leicester
Having initially impressed Foxes boss Claudio Ranieri on a loan spell at Championship Huddersfield, the 19-year-old shot to prominence over two FA Cup ties against Tottenham after his January recall.
The auditions against Spurs showed a young left-back way beyond his years. Chilwell is tenacious, brave on the ball and decent in the air.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.