Jurgen Klopp’s charges must win their final two matches to end on 71 Premier League points and hope Newcastle or United do not amass more than that. The pair are currently both on 66 and each have three games left to play, in contrast to Liverpool’s two.
More likely than not, it seems the Merseyside club will be back in Europe’s second-tier competition for the first time since the 2015-16 campaign. And if they are, it becomes even more important that they make three signings this summer.
Two of those much-needed additions are obvious – in midfield. Liverpool needed a minimum of two new players in the engine room even if they failed to qualify for Europe altogether. That’s because Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner and the on-loan Arthur Melo will all depart in the offseason.
That will leave Klopp with Fabinho (29 years old), Thiago Alcantara (32), Jordan Henderson (32 but 33 in June), Curtis Jones (22), Harvey Elliott (20) and Stefan Bajcetic (18) next term. They simply need more options than that to allow Klopp to regularly rotate his team, especially as they lack players in the mid-20 age range.
Alexis Mac Allister (24) is one target while Mason Mount (24), Ryan Gravenberch (21 today) and Conor Gallagher (23) are other potential Anfield newcomers. They will not be the only new entrants before next season though with a new goalkeeper also a top priority.
That is of course nothing to do with Alisson Becker, Liverpool’s likely Player of the Year. Instead it is a reflection of the fact that No 2 Caoimhin Kelleher is likely to leave on the basis he is too good to only play 5-10 times a year. Third-choice Adrian is also out of contract.
If they are to embark on a Europa League campaign, Liverpool need a solid back-up to allow them to rest Alisson in midweeks. An academy shot-stopper – namely Marcelo Pitaluga or Harvey Davies – can then replace Adrian as the No 3.
Veteran Ron-Robert Zieler is expected to be Kelleher’s replacement for a nominal fee. The 34-year-old’s five years with Manchester United earlier in the year means he qualifies as a homegrown player. Premier League clubs are required to register seven homegrown players in order to name a maximum size 25-man squad.
And given Zieler is a German international with over 400 club appearances to his name, including nine in the Premier League after a year at Leicester in 2016-17, he would be a dependable keeper for the Europa League.
Liverpool will be targeting a trip to Dublin for the final in May 2024, but in the pre-Christmas group stages, a raft of changes to the starting line-up are likely. And strengthening in goal and in midfield will allow Klopp to mix up the team and give much-needed game time to the likes of Calvin Ramsay, Elliott, Bajcetic, Fabio Carvalho and Darwin Nunez.