Three Liverpool players who could become starters next season

Three Liverpool players who could become starters next season

The Premier League season is drawing to a close but there are plenty of Liverpool stars who have played there way into contention for a place in the starting XI next season.

Jurgen Klopp has already had some big selection decisions to make in 2016-17 including the number one spot between Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius.

The two goalkeepers have gone head-to-head for a spot between the sticks and ultimately Mignolet has come out on top this season.

Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi have also had to settle for a place on the bench for the majority of the campaign as Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane’s dominance up front has come out on top.

There have been battles between Georginio Wijnaldum and Emre Can too, as well as a tussle for the full-back positions.

With plenty of options available to Klopp and a few arrivals expected to come in the summer, there could be even bigger competition for places next season.

However, here are three players who could force their way into the starting XI based on this season’s performances…

Trent Alexander-Arnold

The 18-year-old has simply been a sensation this season. After progressing through the academy ranks, Alexander-Arnold caught the eye in pre-season with composed performances against Fleetwood, Tranmere and Wigan.

Despite playing in a central midfield role for the majority of his academy career, he was moved to right-back under the guidance of Michael Beale at the start of the season.

While with the under-23s, Alexander-Arnold continued to impress in a variety of roles, including a few stints in midfield.

Nathaniel Clyne has established himself as Liverpool’s starting right-back but he has had relatively little competition up until now.

Alexander-Arnold has certainly provided some this season though, after earning the man-of-the-match award on his debut in the EFL Cup against Tottenham from the full-back position.

He followed it up with an impressive display against Leeds and was outstandingly composed when he was thrust into the starting line-up against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The defender was more than a match for Anthony Martial despite a slightly nervy start and he provided a threat when going forward due to his pinpoint accuracy on crosses.

While Clyne has proven to be a stable defender, Alexander-Arnold offers more creativity and energy going forward, while remaining solid at the back.

Klopp will certainly find his playing style attractive and his short 15-minute cameo against Everton in midfield suggested the youngster could play a key role in the team in the future.

If he continues to develop over the summer and has another strong pre-season campaign, Alexander-Arnold could be pushing for a start next season.

Loris Karius

Karius was signed in the summer with the intention of becoming Liverpool’s number one for the 2016-17 campaign but he struggled to adapt to the Premier League.

He was regarded as one of the best young keepers in the Bundesliga during his time with Mainz and it’s clear he has some valuable traits.

However, Karius’ hesitance on set-pieces and shakiness when catching high balls, ultimately cost him this season as he lost his place following a number of costly mistakes.

He is still a young keeper and can only improve. It’s clear he is Liverpool’s long-term solution to the ever-struggling Mignolet.

After dropping him this year, it was always going to be hard to bring him back into the team without thrusting unnecessary pressure on him so it’s likely Klopp will make the transition going into the new campaign.

Karius must continue to work hard over the summer and pre-season will be the time in which he must command the role for himself.

Joe Gomez

When Gomez signed from Charlton Athletic, he was relatively unknown to Liverpool fans but he quickly made a positive impression.

At left-back, he was explosive, consistent and solid despite only playing seven games under Brendan Rodgers in the unfamiliar role.

As a centre-back by trade, Gomez offers plenty of options in defence for Klopp but his development was seriously dented when he suffered a cruciate knee injury, ruling him out for over a year.

It has certainly put him on the back foot, with Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan joining the squad as further defensive options this summer.

However, Gomez could emerge as Liverpool’s first-choice left-back by the end of next season. Alberto Moreno has been well and truly axed by Klopp and while Milner has provided encouraging cover, he has obvious limitations.

The vice-captain’s lack of pace is the most obvious weakness and Gomez’ athleticism certainly gives him an advantage over Milner.

Should Klopp be open to giving Gomez an opportunity, left-back is certainly a position which holds great potential for the youngster.