10 things every Liverpool fan needs to watch out for at the Euros
Liverpool took a backwards step in 2020-21.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds managed to finish in third place in the Premier League, however Liverpool ended the campaign 17-points behind champions Man City.
Liverpool will be hoping to be improved next season, especially when Virgil van Dijk returns to action. But what other changes will there be at Anfield?
As the summer unfolds, below are 10 things every Liverpool fan needs to watch out for at Euro 2020.
List of Liverpool players featuring at Euro 2020
- Andrew Robertson (Scotland)
- Jordan Henderson (England)
- Harry Wilson (Wales)
- Neco Williams (Wales)
- Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland)
- Diogo Jota (Portugal)
- Georginio Wijnaldum (Netherlands)
- Thiago Alcantara (Spain)
1) No Van Dijk: How will the Netherlands cope without the star man?
Liverpool’s title defence was derailed almost from the beginning after losing a number of key players in the specific area of central defence.
Firstly, losing world-class Dutchman Virgil van Dij,k but soon after further problems arose with Joe Gomez and Joel Matip. Ultimately, the Reds rescued their season by finishing in the top 4 on the final day of the season.
It is fairly well accepted that had Liverpool not lost these key figures, in particular Van Dijk, they would have not experienced such poor runs of form and damning results.
Now the focus will turn to the European Championships, which Van Dijk will also miss.
How will the Netherlands cope in VVD’s absence?
Unlike Liverpool, the Dutch national side do have a lot of other talented defender to call upon in his stead.
Nathan Ake, Daley Blind, Matthijs de Ligt, Jurriën Timber, Joel Veltman and Stefan de Vrij can all play in one of the two or three centre-back positions.
De Ligt will of course be the standout man, however the experienced De Vrij is just off the back of winning the Italian title with Inter Milan.
2) Andy Robertson: Scotland’s driving force
Like many of the other Liverpool players this season, Andrew Robertson returned less goal involvements compared to their title-winning campaign.
Yet, the Scottish International still managed 7 assists and a goal in the Premier League.
For Scotland however, Robertson is tasked with a much more important role of being the side’s main protagonist and captain. Scotland have the issue of playing with both Kieran Tierney and Robertson as arguably their two best players.
Scottish coach Steve Clarke has found a way to fit both left-backs into the team.
Playing a back-3 system, Kieran Tierney operates as the left-sided centre-half, with Robertson playing further ahead in a wing-back role.
This means that Robertson doesn’t have to be as concerned with his defensive duties, covered by the Arsenal man, and can instead focus on his devastating attacking runs and crosses.
Liverpool fans will hope he stays fit throughout and comes back with his crossing skills honed.
3) The Welsh connection: Harry Wilson and Neco Williams
Two players who are very much on the fringes of the Liverpool squad are Neco Williams and Harry Wilson.
Williams is the effective backup option to Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back, and has been a solid asset to the Welsh national side.
Despite not playing in any of the Euro qualification matches, making his debut in 2020, Williams has operated as a wing-back in the 3-4-3 system on both the right and left-hand sides.
It is very evident that Williams has been coached at Liverpool because he is valued for his crossing abilities. For Wales, Williams delivers balls into the box for the likes of Gareth Bale to get their head onto.
Wilson, despite being sent out on loan multiple times, is a regular for his country. His ability in possession and over dead-balls combined with his commitment to the cause has made him an easy pick for Wales
Should Wilson have a good tournament, will he finally be given a shot to prove his worth by Jurgen Klopp?
4) Jordan Henderson: A captain’s return
Like many other Liverpool assets, Henderson has experienced a difficult campaign also blighted by injury.
His fitness remains in question to this day, although Henderson was named on the Liverpool bench on the final day of the Premier League season. Back then, Klopp admitted his captain was ‘fine’ and would be ready for Euro 2020.
“He will be fine, I don’t know if he will be in the squad but he is fine, he trained the last two days with us, he is fine,” said Klopp. “He can return to training as normal – he will be one of the few players in the squad who are fresh which is good news.”
In a very young England squad, Henderson’s experience and leadership will be very valuable to Gareth Southgate. Playing in midfield alongside the young yet composed figure of Declan Rice, England have a very grounded midfield base.
He may not be able to give a full 90 minutes from the off, but thankfully the depth in the position is strong with the wonderful talent of Jude Bellingham also available.
5) Diogo Jota: The passing of the mantle
The Portuguese national side is one of the most interesting nations at the European Championships despite being the current champions of the competition.
Winning the tournament back in 2016 thanks to a solid defensive display throughout the tournament, the side has since grown into a much more balanced team with quality strewn throughout the squad.
Since leaving Wolves for Liverpool, Diogo Jota has taken his game to the next level. Many believed he would simply be a backup option to Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane but he soon showed himself to be a competitor. Klopp even starting him with the aforementioned pair.
An injury midway through the season was a big blow but he came back strongly and is now looking to be Fernando Santos’ starting left-winger. He has 3 goals in his last two games from the left flank and will hope his showings have nailed down the role.
Sadio Mane’s disappointing campaign from the left this year could mean scope for Jota to compete and steal the position for himself next season. A strong tournament would go a long way to helping with that.
6) Ozan Kabak: One to regret?
One of the ways in which Liverpool reacted to the defensive crisis at the club was to sign Turkish international defender, Ozan Kabak, from Schalke on loan until the end of the season.
Despite putting in some strong defensive displays, the club has seemingly decided not to make the deal permanent despite having an option to do so. RB Leipzig’s Ibrahima Konate has instead been selected and the deal was announced recently.
Kabak has been highly-rated in a poor Schalke team having joined from Stuttgart after very little time at all. He has also impressed for the national team alongside Leicester City’s Caglar Soyuncu. Juventus’ exciting defender Merih Demiral is in competition for a starting spot but Kabak has started the majority of recent matches.
Unfortunately, Liverpool will not be able to see if Kabak has a strong tournament to make a decision as whether to activate their purchase option, as that option reportedly expired at the end of May.
7) Thiago Alcantara: A sign of the best
Hampered by both injury and affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, it took a while before Thiago Alcantara could get his Liverpool career underway.
Thought to be a bit of a coup in the summer after leaving Bayern Munich, the Spanish international showed his class in plenty of his displays for Klopp’s side.
Although he didn’t manage too much in relation to goals, it was the control that he brought to the midfield which was of such value.
He, along with Sergio Busquets and Koke, are the last of an aging era of Spanish midfield talent.
Long gone are the days of Xavi, Andreas Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas, new talent has emerged such as Fabian Ruiz, Rodri and Marcos Llorente.
How much game time will Thiago get for Spain at Euro 2020? The Liverpool maestro’s starting berth in very much in the balcen, as Barcelona’s Pedri has been a regular pick of late alongside Sergio Busquets.
In the tough clashes though, Thiago could bring the much-needed maturity to a transitional period for La Roja.
8) Jadon Sancho: A man in demand
It appeared as though Manchester United were destined to land Jadon Sancho – perhaps they still are.
However, the Sancho transfer saga which has extended to 2021, which has opened up the possibility of other sides coming in for the Borussia Dortmund superstar.
This is the case for both Chelsea and Liverpool, who have been credited with holding an interest in Sancho.
The aforementioned lacklustre form of Sadio Mane has contributed to Liverpool’s interest in investing a new wide player. They have also been suggestions that Mohamed salah could leave the club in the near future in search of a new challenge.
Sancho has been unbelievably good at Dortmund despite his young age. His creativity and goal threat would replace either of the two Liverpool wide men and he also presents as a long-term investment with significant sell-on value.
How he performs at the Euros and any interviews which he conducts will be thoroughly analysed with a fine-tooth comb.
9) Youri Tielemans & Ruben Neves: Other midfield options on Liverpool’s radar
Central midfield is an area that Liverpool may also be looking to invest in depending upon who could leave the club this summer.
Naby Keita has struggled for game time under Jurgen Klopp, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been linked with a move away.
Two players which will feature the European Championships are Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans for Belgium and Wolves’ Ruben Neves for Portugal.
Neves, the former Porto midfielder, has been reportedly made available for £35 million, which could interest the Reds. He has become known for his midfield exploits is a long-range goal scoring specialist, but also brings top quality traits in defensive quarters and passing.
Meanwhile, Tielemans was responsible for the long-range wonder strike against Chelsea in the FA Cup final which awarded Leicester their first-ever title in the competition.
He has been an excellent addition to the team and the league overall since his arrival from Monaco. With Leicester and unable to achieve Champions League football next season, and Liverpool being the side to oust them from the top 4, could they deliver a double blow and steal away their prize midfielder?
How the pair perform at the Euros could ultimately have a big impact on how they are viewed by Jurgen Klopp and the club. Therefore Liverpool supporters should keep a close eye on the duo.
10: Xherdan Shaqiri: A man in the shop window
Xherdan Shaqiri has been used as a utility player at Liverpool ever since his arrival from relegated Stoke City. The move itself came as quite a surprise to many, to see a player who had been relegated suddenly popping up in the Champions League and even winning the trophy for a second time.
Turning 30 later this year, however, it seems the Swiss midfielder has made a decision that he wishes to play more regularly for a side as his career comes to its later stages.
Shaqiri will be looking to put himself into the transfer shop window whilst playing for Switzerland, characteristically cutting in on his deadly left foot to take long-range strikes at goal.
Liverpool may then need to look at bringing in further reinforcement to strengthen the depth in their squad should he leave.
10 things every Liverpool fan needs to watch out for at the EurosLiverpool took a backwards step in 2020-21.Jurgen Klopp’s Reds managed to finish in third place in the Premier League, however Liverpool ended the campaign 17-points behind champions Man City.Liverpool will be hoping to be improved next season, especially when Virgil van Dijk returnsFootball (soccer) greatest goals and highlights | 101 Great Goals – Feed