Five for Free

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Today, I want to take a look at some of the players coming out of contract in 2016 who might strengthen Liverpool's squad or first team. To be honest, there are a limited number of players that fall into the category of the right fit, the right quality, and of course who play in the right position to fill one of our needs available on a free. So in a way, the list kind of picks itself.

When there were options, I tried to favour younger players, but there is a smattering of experience in the list, too.

Here you go:

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Left Back: Does Alberto Moreno get another season to prove he can be a top talent in this position? From the amount of Klopp cuddles he gets, I think so. What I’m not so certain of is Brad Smith’s future at the club. He showed a bit of promise earlier in the season when brought in to get some game experience, but to my mind, at the age of 22 and considering Albie is only 23, we probably need a bit of experience as back up. I like the rumours of getting in a prospect such as Ben Chilwell (a move I would think effectively pushes Smith out of the door), but we could still use an instant impact player as well. As a result, I'm also happy with the Hector Moreno links, as he brings some of that experience. He would also bring in something different to Albie, and as a more mature player perhaps brings a different dynamic to the dressing room.

But if Liverpool go looking for that experience in the free transfer marker instead, my pick would be Ismail Koybasi. Wheras Albie bombs forward, Koybasi is more of a traditional full back and a bit like Flanagan, he can operate on the opposite side of the pitch. I don’t think Koybasi takes Albie’s first team shirt, but I think we benefit from the experience of an international player with a slightly different skill-set to our current first choice left back. Plus he can cover a couple of positions on the field bringing us flexibility when naming a squad.

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Centre Back: I don’t think that Steven Caulker, Tiago Ilori, or Martin Skrtel survive the summer. Kolo Toure might, but he's 35, while Joe Gomez is still a teen and recovering from a serious injury. Mamadou Sakho may have to sit on the sidelines with a lengthy ban as well. That leaves us with Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren, with Kolo and Gomez as cover. That’s fine until we get an injury, Kolo gets a muscle spasm, or Gomez struggles with form as a teenager in one of the hardest positions on the park to gain valuable experience.

Nicolas Nkoulou, then, is a well built defender who likes a tackle, is good in the air, and has decent pass completion stats. He does lots of things well. He also plays for Cameroon, so if he is not able to prove he is our starting centre back, we have legitimate periods such as the ACN where he can be rotated in and out. With his first team and international experience, he could be a useful rotational piece for Klopp next season.

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Centre Midfield: I think our current crop of centre midfielders lacks a bit of variety. We have Kevin Stewart and Lucas Leiva, who are predominantly deep lying DM’s, Emre Can and Jordan Henderson who have similarities in the dynamic they bring to the team, and then James Milner and Joe Allen.

Tonny Vilhena might just bring a slightly different style of player to the squad as he is a more attack-minded central midfielder. He's also left-footed, and could potentially perform a role similar to what Coutinho does, but coming in from the wide right position. At 21 years of age he is still young and unfinished, but then this is a free transfer and low risk, and he would bring good technique and some versatility – something I think Klopp likes his players to have.

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Wing: We only really have Jordon Ibe and Sheyi Ojo as out-and-out wide men in our squad (I would describe Lallana and Coutinho as attacking midfielders used wide more than traditional wingers or wide men), so I think we would benefit from bringing in a couple of players to fill out the squad and give us a couple of options.

Sofiane Feghouli would bring similar traits to Lallana but with an added positive – he has much greater pace and is offers more natural width. He has predominantly been played as a right winger, but can play in an attacking midfield role as well.

Andrija Zivkovic also ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to the skills needed to succeed as a wide attacking player: pace, acceleration, dribbling skill, and creativity. He also likes interchanging position throughout the game. I also have a lovely image of Lazar, Gruijic, and Zivkovic drinking mate together and having games nights with the South American boys. And did I mention the kid is left footed?

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So there you have it, five players I think would make our squad better, both from a starting line up perspective, but also by adding potential and rotation pieces. But what do you think, and do you agree with the choices? If not, who would you be looking at instead?

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