Four Liverpool stars with most to prove before transfer window and Arne Slot arrival

Alexis Mac Allister, Darwin Núñez and Luis Díaz of Liverpool during the UEFA Europa League 2023/24 quarter-final first leg training and press conference at  on April 10, 2024 in Liverpool, England.
Some Liverpool stars will still feel they need to make a point ahead of the summer transfer window, including plenty of the front line. -Credit:John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Liverpool stands on the precipice of seismic change. Old though it makes me feel, there will be plenty of fans who can't remember anyone other than Jürgen Klopp as manager of the Reds.

Those supporters are very fortunate, for they have known the kind of sustained success that had not previously been seen since the 1970s and 80s. Fans in between those two vintages have been treated to more of a rollercoaster, with some historic highs and some low lows.

The hope is that the transition from Klopp to a new manager can resemble the handover from Bill Shankly to Bob Paisley, building on what came before and actually making Liverpool even more of a trophy-winning machine. But the truth is that we are more or less entering the unknown — even if the identity of the new manager now appears to be decided.

READ MORE: Emre Can makes honest Liverpool admission as he gets second Champions League final chance

READ MORE: Club reaches agreement with Liverpool 'target' as Man United 'makes final Erik ten Hag decision'

Arne Slot looks to be the man tasked with the huge responsibility of taking over from Klopp. He does have the advantage of inheriting a massively talented squad, but he will also arrive at Anfield with questions he needs to answer.

With all the change going on, there's a line of thinking that transfer market plans should prioritize continuity. But some players will be using the two remaining games under Klopp to try and prove a point ahead of the summer window, with nobody's future truly set in stone as a brand new era beckons.

Virgil van Dijk

The captain will have a compatriot as his new head coach if Slot joins as expected. But that won't give him a free ticket into the next iteration of this Liverpool side.

In reality, it's Michael Edwards and incoming sporting director Richard Hughes whom Van Dijk might need to convince. And while it's strange to think that his future could be in any kind of doubt, it's worth remembering that he turns 33 in the summer, and has just a year left to run on his Liverpool contract.

In all likelihood, he will at least have that final year to try and prove his continued worth to Liverpool, with a summer transfer unlikely. That being said, there have been one or two links, and Van Dijk would be more grateful than most if the Reds could finally get back to keeping clean sheets in the last couple of games under Klopp.

Alexis Mac Allister

First things first, Alexis Mac Allister clearly isn't going anywhere in the summer. He's a contender for Liverpool's Player of the Season, and is almost certainly the club's signing of the season.

However, these last two games of the campaign are a chance for Slot and the recruitment team to assess whether an elite number six is needed. Manchester City and Arsenal have pulled away with Rodri and Declan Rice in the ranks, and while Mac Allister has been really impressive from a deeper base, it's still up in the air whether Liverpool needs to pursue a true specialist.

It did try and sign Moisés Caicedo last summer, of course. With Van Dijk and the defense clearly not solely to blame for the lack of recent clean sheets, it would take some massive defensive midfield performances to end the season in order to convince Slot he does not need to bring somebody in. Should he look to the market, Mac Allister would move up the pitch, as he has done this season when Wataru Endō has played.

Darwin Núñez

He had to crop up at some point, didn't he? Darwin Núñez has been the talk of the town lately after social media activity sparked transfer speculation.

If he ends up angling for a move, perhaps he won't be especially set on proving a point to his current club in these final two games. But from a Liverpool perspective, it would love to see something positive from Núñez as it mulls over whether to entertain any potential offers.

The club-record signing has bags of potential. But that has not translated to end product recently, and Núñez is on a barren run. He could put a swift stop to discussions over whether it would make sense to cash in by finding some form in front of goal in the last couple of fixtures of Klopp's reign.

Luis Díaz

The one man at Anfield who should probably be grateful for Núñez's profligacy, Luis Díaz has also been wasteful in front of goal this season. While it's slightly more forgivable in a winger, the fact remains that his output is not where it needs to be if Liverpool wants to compete for the highest honors.

There has been some more credible transfer chatter around Díaz, too, with PSG thought to be taking an interest. He could do with using the next two games to show Liverpool just how valuable he is to the team.

Still contracted until 2027, the club holds most of the cards. But with Díaz now 27, it's getting to the point where Liverpool will either offer a bumper renewal or else let him move on. Edwards and Hughes will base that call on far more than a two-game sample, of course, but a strong end to the campaign would be timely.