While we are all focused on how our own side is performing in this summer’s transfer window, we have decided to have a look at how Liverpool’s rivals are shaping up.
Many fans have been disappointed with the Reds’ lack of activity thus far. Ibrahima Konate has been the only new signing, despite hopes of a big summer.
Meanwhile, Liverpool’s Premier League rivals are making huge moves.
It looks like next season’s league title race will be one of the most competitive in years.
Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United will all be challenging.
So, we have decided to have a look at their potential starting XI’s and see where their strengths and weaknesses may lie.
Like Liverpool, Manchester City have had a quiet summer thus far.
However, it looks unlikely to stay that way for long.
According to numerous sources, including Manchester Evening News, City want to sign both Harry Kane and Jack Grealish this summer.
The plan appears to be to get both if they can afford them. We believe that they will get at least one.
Considering that they won the league title at a canter last season, they will be insanely good next year with both of those players.
They could potentially line up as follows:
They could possibly do with a left-back upgrade, although Oleksander Zinchenko will do for a year if they get their attacking targets.
If City, as reported by The Athletic, see Grealish as a “free 8” rather than a winger, then Rodri will have an awful lot of defending to do.
While Pep Guardiola’s side defend excellently from the front, we can see Liverpool’s midfield dominating their rivals in both games next season.
There is definitely defensive vulnerability in Kevin De Bruyne, as shown by Guardiola’s tendency to play him further up the pitch recently.
If teams can counter-attack quickly and beat the City press, then the Blues could be got at next season.
One thing for sure is that they will be an out-of-this-world attacking side.
After winning last season’s Champions League, Chelsea will be hoping to build on it strongly.
They have made a huge effort to do just that, with a big push for Erling Haaland.
However, we do not see that move happening this summer.
So, will they turn their attention to another striker, or will they wait and try get Haaland next year?
One move they have made is Jules Kounde from Sevilla. The 22-year-old is one of the best centre-backs around and will be a big addition to their back three.
This is how Thomas Tuchel’s men could line up in 2021/22:
Considering that this team won a Champions League, it should be well capable of winning a Premier League too, especially with the addition of Kounde.
We expect Timo Werner to find his shooting boots eventually, while Kai Havertz could be a dark horse for Player of the Year.
If Christian Pulisic and Ngolo Kante can stay injury-free, then the Blues will have a great chance of winning the league.
Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised if Kounde isn’t the only big signing this summer either.
Perhaps outnumbering the midfield is the way to beat them, but that is near-impossible if Kante is at his best.
Utilising the half-spaces between the centre-back and wingbacks is another good way of getting around the 3-4-3.
Of all the sides in the Premier League, Manchester United have had the biggest summer so far.
They have also found a great partner for Harry Maguire in Raphael Varane. While each of them have their weaknesses, the other’s strengths should make up for them.
The word is that United will adapt slightly and play a 4-3-3 next season, rather than a 4-2-3-1.
This will leave Bruno Fernandes as a No 8, rather than a No 10, which could limit his influence somewhat.
There is no outstanding No 6 at the club either, which may not be addressed this summer. Declan Rice has been linked, but we are not sure if he will actually sign.
Then there is the Paul Pogba issue – if he leaves, United will probably have to sign two midfielders to complete their side. They will need a No 6 and a box-to-box No 8.
Even if he stays, does a midfield with Pogba and Fernandes as No 8’s really work? Replacing him with Eduardo Camavinga could make sense.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could start a side that looks something like this:
The weakness here is the leaky midfield.
Bruno Fernandes is a hard worker, but we can see him getting caught high up the field at times.
If he abandons the right side, will Aaron Wan-Bissaka provide adequate cover? He is phenomenal in 1v1’s, but his positioning can be questionable at times.
Aside from that, balls in behind Harry Maguire will still be threatening, especially with uncertainty over who will be behind him in goals.
A lot depends on who else is brought in this summer.
The attack should be excellent, especially if Sancho takes off as expected.
Mason Greenwood should begin his transition into becoming United’s starting No 9 as well.
Liverpool’s greatest rivals are certainly looking the strongest they have in years, despite certain areas of weakness.
Liverpool’s other rivals
Of course, there are three other sides that will want to be involved in this conversation.
Here is the possible starting XI of Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester:
A very solid XI all-round, although they will hope to sign a right-winger, while James Maddison and Youri Tielemans continue to be linked with moves away.
Maddison meanwhile would fit in well at Arsenal:
The back four will look very solid if they can afford a right-back.
However, this may not be possible as they still have gaps in centre-midfield, No 10 and up top.
Finally, their north London rivals Spurs could have the huge job of trying to replace Harry Kane.
They could line up like this:
Nuno Espirito Santo will probably play a back three. We think that a midfield three would suit them brilliantly so a 3-5-2 could be the solution.
They do need centre-back reinforcements, while Matt Doherty could rediscover his best form under his old manager.