How Liverpool’s dream and worst line-ups could look in 2022 after January transfer window

The January transfer window has rarely been a time of much activity for Liverpool during Jurgen Klopp’s six years as manager.

The obvious exception was the transformative winter of 2018, during which Virgil van Dijk joined from Southampton and Philippe Coutinho departed for Barcelona, setting the Reds up for the vast success they would enjoy over the following two years.

So, although drastic business is unlikely, the Anfield faithful can dream of a marquee signing who can help Liverpool close the gap on Manchester City in the Premier League title race.

Even if there is no big-money arrival this month, Klopp may decide to improve his side’s depth, which has been called into question due to injury and coronavirus at times this season.

Liverpool have rarely been heavily-active in the January transfer window under Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool have rarely been heavily-active in the January transfer window under Jurgen Klopp

However, the Reds’ most-pressing priority is to resolve the future of their goalscoring talisman, Mohamed Salah, with less than 18 months remaining on his contract.

The Egyptian has been in the form of his life this season with 22 goals and nine assists in 25 appearances, but his drawn-out extension talks are still yet to bear fruit after many months at the negotiating table.

Without further ado, here is how Liverpool could line up for the second half of the season if they pull off a dream January window – or suffer a nightmare one.

Best-case scenario

Liverpool have a starting XI strong enough to compete with any side in Europe, even Pep Guardiola’s imperious City outfit, so their January business may revolve around giving Klopp more options in various positions.

The additions of Kylian Mbappe and Florian Wirtz would give Liverpool a star-studded XI
The additions of Kylian Mbappe and Florian Wirtz would give Liverpool a star-studded XI

A particular problem area this month is in attack, where Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have left an enormous void after travelling to Cameroon for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Liverpool have been linked with Leeds’ Raphinha and West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen, both of whom would be valuable additions to the forward line in the absence of Salah and Mane.

Neither Raphinha nor Bowen would necessarily get into Liverpool’s strongest XI with all players available, however, and it would take a transfer of epic proportions to shake up the attack.

To that end, the Reds remain heavily linked with Kylian Mbappe and received a welcome boost in late December as the Paris Saint-Germain star distanced himself from joining Real Madrid.

Signing the Frenchman would represent one of the biggest transfers in Liverpool history, even if he has less than six months left on his contract.

Another player who could be on the move for a sizeable sum is Bayer Leverkusen wonderkid Florian Wirtz, who has a price tag of at least £70million and is on the radar of numerous European giants, according to the Daily Star.

A gifted attacking midfielder, the 18-year-old could add creativity to the Reds’ spine, easing the burden on the attacking trio and bolstering a squad which lost Georginio Wijnaldum this summer.

Worst-case scenario

Losing Mohamed Salah would be disastrous for Jurgen Klopp
Losing Mohamed Salah would be disastrous for Jurgen Klopp

While Klopp will be confident of keeping hold of his key players in January, Liverpool fans are understandably concerned about Salah’s situation.

The noises coming from the Egyptian’s camp as well as the Anfield hierarchy are positive, but his future remains unresolved after months of negotiations.

Salah deciding he has had enough of life on Merseyside would spell disaster for Liverpool given his astonishing form since arriving in 2017, but it is not entirely out of the realms of possibility he could decide to pursue a new challenge.

The former Chelsea winger will turn 30 next summer, so he may only have one big transfer left in his playing career, with Real Madrid, Barcelona and PSG among his previous suitors.

A nightmare series of events for Liverpool would see Salah outright reject a new contract before being sold late in the January window, leaving the club with no chance to sign a replacement.

It is a scenario which does not bear thinking about for supporters, who simply hope to hear positive news of an extension soon.

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