Liverpool’s midfield will be almost unrecognisable next season as figures have demonstrated just how much game time is to be lost with the summer departures.
The middle of the park was always likely to be the area in which most of the surgery took place, with James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita all leaving for free at the end of the campaign.
Alexis Mac Allister became the first arrival of the transfer window as the Reds secured a cut-price £35 million deal for the World Cup winner, with Dominik Szoboszlai following for £60 million from RB Leipzig.
It left many believing that an additional recruit in defensive midfield would leave Liverpool in good shape heading into 2023/24, but unforeseen developments plunged Jurgen Klopp‘s rebuild into further chaos.
Once the Brazilian’s move is confirmed, it will mean that five of Liverpool’s top six midfielders for minutes played are no longer at the club, equating to a remarkable 81.16 percent of time spent on the pitch that will effectively be lost.
Minutes for Klopp’s Liverpool:
— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) July 27, 2023
The figures, provided on Twitter by Andrew Beasley, demonstrate the severity of Liverpool’s midfield overhaul and the difference we are likely to see in starting XIs from next season.
Thiago, who has suffered numerous injury setbacks since his arrival in 2020, is now the Reds’ most experienced midfielder in terms of playing time despite his ongoing availability issues.
Henderson, Milner, Fabinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keita’s overall Liverpool minutes add up to an enormous 69,820 and that total is only taken up to 86,019 when factoring in those who remain at the club.
Liverpool undoubtedly needed to replenish the midfield this summer to add fresh legs and bring down the average age, but the wholesale nature of the changes represents something of a gamble at the top level.
Whether the Reds can get the new signings to gel with the relatively less experienced current midfield crop, along with any further potential additions such as Romeo Lavia, remains to be seen.
The manager will be hoping that a revitalised engine can help fire his side to success across multiple competitions after a disappointing 2022/23 campaign.