Liverpool strength and depth check - midfield

Morning fellow Reds, I hope all present, past and looking in are keeping well. Hopefully we're starting to see glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel. The C19 numbers look to finally be heading in the right direction although it's very gradual and important we keep up our lockdown and social distancing efforts. While we do so we can move up the pitch slightly to consider our midfield.

In the last two articles in the series we looked at goalkeepers and defenders and the general consensus was we need to recruit a new second choice keeper and possibly a new centre back, while we're happy to see Karius, Adrian and Lovren move to pastures new. In midfield we appear to have a multitude of options but do we have enough to cover all bases with the quality we'd like?

If we consider midfield as a whole, attacking as well as defensively, then we're looking at Fabinho, Henderson, Milner, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wijnaldum, Shaqiri and Lallana, plus possibly Jones. We have other promising youngsters but he seems the most likely to break through first.

On loan we also have: Grujic (Hertha BSC) and Harry Wilson (Bournemouth).

One of the first things that stands out with the core of our midfield is their ages: Henderson 29, Milner 34, Lallana 31 and Wijnaldum 29. Right away I think it's safe to conclude Milner and Lallana are not long term future LFC players. Possibly they'll not be with us at all next season and at best will have ever decreasing roles. We'd generally agree Lallana won't be a massive miss. Milner will be but sadly age will catch up with him at some point.

Henderson and Wijnaldum are also entering the twilight periods of their careers but while we need to plan ahead, at the moment they are both fantastic players for us - providing Gini signs a new contract which I'm sure he soon will. That said he does sometimes come up a little short in attacking terms.

So if we put Milner and Lallana to one side where does that leave us? Defensive midfield is probably okay, Fabinho is superb and Henderson can also play that role to a very high standard. Attacking midfield we have Oxlade, Naby and Shaq. This is where I start to worry because all three appear injury prone and it's not clear in Shaq's case if he'll even be a Liverpool player next season.

Can we afford to gamble on fitness? Could Grujic be brought back from Hertha where I believe he's done well, how about Wilson from Bournemouth. In my view Wilson will probably not make it with us, I feel he lacks a little pace. Grujic looks promising though and could be good cover for injuries but overall, factoring in the loss of Lallana and most likely Shaq, I'd like to see us bring in a new attacking midfilder. However if we sign Werner we might see a bit of a shake up including Firmino moving to a ten role which could make a difference.

That leaves central midfield where it's hard to judge our requirements without knowing if Gini will still be with us. Also will Keita find a better run of fitness. Both can transition from central duties to attacking ones, carrying the ball forward into the final third and either shooting or playing someone else in. Henderson can do this too and has a decent passing game. What I feel we maybe lack is a player who can excel at all these things and I believe there's room in our midfield for a high level maestro. In time that might be Curtis Jones or even Alexander-Arnold but it's too soon to expect them to reach Gerrard-esque levels and I'd like to see a new signing of that ilk - no easy task of course.

Overall then I feel we're okay defensively - although another DM wouldn't hurt I don't think it's a priority but would like to see us sign a new CM and AM. Again if we sign Werner or similar perhaps Klopp will mix things up and one or two roles will change to give a different picture. Do people agree, are we all good in the hood or do we need some summer additions?

To finish, it may be a touch early for next season but as well as a very promising Curtis Jones here's perhaps a clue to another Scouser who could be key to an exciting Liverpool midfield future.

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