Liverpool has a big task ahead this summer to give Jürgen Klopp the squad that he needs. Changes are going to be plentiful, but most fringe players will be retained.
It is already absolutely clear that Liverpool has plenty to do in the summer transfer window. As well as sorting out the midfield, which will require at least two additions and arguably more, there could also be gaps that pop up elsewhere in the team.
At center-back, there are question marks over both Joël Matip and Joe Gomez’s performances this season, while if Caoimhín Kelleher decided it was time he played regular football, he too could be on the move — even if the ideal situation for Jürgen Klopp would be to keep the Irishman, who is the best possible number two to Alisson Becker.
With John Henry having made clear that FSG has no intentions of going anywhere, it will fall upon Liverpool’s owners to bankroll a big spend in what could be a pivotal summer in deciding what the next few seasons look like, regardless of what happens in the race to make the Champions League spots.
That is why it makes little sense to sign more than four or five players in the space of one window, not least when one of those in Jude Bellingham will cost well above $100m if his signature can be acquired.
Quite simply, there is a lot to be done at Anfield over a short period of time, meaning that some players that some people might want to see leave remain part of the plan.
James Milner, for instance, could stick around for another year — not instead of making midfield signings, but in addition to them. With Naby Keïta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain already heading out of the door, that makes sense.
The same can be said of Fabinho and Curtis Jones, for whom this season has not gone to plan. The Brazilian has not played to the same level as he has reached previously and the 22-year-old Scouser is yet to kick on and find regular minutes.
Neither player, though, should be shunted toward an exit. Enough players are departing already to make space for new arrivals, and while the pair could bring in funds, they would need to be replaced.
Aside from teenager Stefan Bajčetić, Fabinho is Liverpool’s only natural holding midfielder. There is an argument that you need another one of those rather than letting another go.
At the back, Gomez should be retained even if Matip goes. Gomez is English (ticking the homegrown quota box), is six years younger, and can also deputize at right-back. It might end up that both are kept.
In an ideal world, perhaps Milner, Fabinho, Jones and Gomez could be improved upon and Liverpool could find other squad players to freshen things up. For Jones (and arguably Gomez), from a personal perspective, a move away might be edging closer to being seriously considered given his lack of playing time.
But for Liverpool, adding in more than four or five quality players this summer would be unrealistic, and so while big changes are needed, the squad is not going to completely change overnight.
Perhaps one of the four examples above might leave this summer. But that would only add to an already-lengthy to-do list, with Liverpool having placed itself in a position where it might need to compromise. Changes are coming, but they are almost certainly not going to be quite as wholesale as some might like, and nor do they need to be.