How Liverpool could line up next season with new formation and two Arne Slot transfers

Mats Wieffer and coach Arne Slot of Feyenoord during the UEFA Champions League match between Atletico Madrid and Feyenoord at the Civitas Metropolitano Stadium on October 4, 2023 in Madrid Spain.
Mats Wieffer and Arne Slot -Credit:Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Liverpool is about to enter a period of serious transition. Numerous key roles at the club are changing hands this summer, and while the Reds should be competitive in 2024/25, there is naturally valid reason to wonder how things will be different next season.

The most obvious change will be in the dugout, with Jürgen Klopp leaving after almost nine years at the helm. While his replacement has not been confirmed, it looks incredibly likely to be Arne Slot, manager of Feyenoord.

The 45-year-old won’t be responsible for transfers, with new sporting director Richard Hughes no doubt aided by the returning Michael Edwards, taking charge there. Despite this, Liverpool is inevitably linked with several of Slot’s current players as the transfer rumour mill starts heating up ahead of the summer. There are two who could make the transition from Klopp to his successor more seamless.

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The Reds have played in a 4-3-3 formation for much of the Klopp era and Slot has frequently used the same tactical framework in 2023/24. However, he has also deployed his troops in a 4-2-3-1 system, and it’s a possibility that he could use that with Liverpool next term.

The existing squad could easily fill the roles within it, and it may even prove beneficial to some players. Transfers could unlock some interesting possibilities though.

The Feyenoord player most strongly linked with a move to Anfield is Lutsharel Geertruida. He was present at the Reds’ recent 2-2 draw at West Ham and was in among the Liverpool fans for good measure. Per FBRef, he has captained Slot’s men nine times when they have been in a 4-2-3-1 formation this season, collecting six wins and two draws. The only defeat occurred in a Champions League dead rubber at Celtic too.

Geertruida can play along the backline but has made 31 of his 43 appearances at right-back this season. If he played there for Liverpool, competing with Conor Bradley and to a lesser extent Joe Gomez, it would enable Trent Alexander-Arnold to move into midfield.

In a double pivot at the base of the 4-2-3-1 framework, the Reds’ number 66 would be playing in areas of the pitch that he already frequents when inverting from full-back. But it would likely take time for Alexander-Arnold to become a fully-fledged midfielder. Having an established number six alongside him would ease that transition.

Enter Mats Wieffer, Feyenoord’s 24-year-old defensive midfielder. He was linked with Liverpool last summer (per Liverpool Echo), long before Klopp announced he was leaving the club or Slot was in line to replace him. The Wieffer stories have continued flowing, and either he or Wataru Endō could accompany Trent in the Reds’ new look midfield. The returning Stefan Bajčetić would get some minutes there too.

The acquisition of Wieffer would in turn allow Alexis Mac Allister to play further forward, where he has often done his best work. He could accompany a couple of wide forwards behind a central spearhead, or the likes of Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones could thrive in those roles.

It doesn’t need Geertruida or Wieffer to make most of these changes happen. Their familiarity with Slot’s system would make the transition easier, though, and in this summer of upheaval at Liverpool, that could be priceless.

Suggested line-up (4-2-3-1): Alisson; Geertruida, Konaté, van Dijk, Robertson; Alexander-Arnold, Wieffer; Salah, Mac Allister, Díaz; Jota.