Liverpool

Liverpool

Premier League • England

How Liverpool could line up under Thomas Frank if they fail to slot in new No.1 managerial target

Ryan Baldi
Thomas Frank, Goncalo Inacio, Jamal Musiala, Ivan Toney

TT looks at a Liverpool XI who could player under Thomas Frank next season

TEAMtalk takes an in-depth look into how Liverpool could line up next season if outstanding Brentford coach Thomas Frank was given the reins at Anfield, as has been mooted.

Ever since Xabi Alonso took himself out the running by committing his immediate future to Bayer Leverkusen, Sporting CP manager Ruben Amorim had been considered the frontrunner to replace Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool next season.

But amid recent reports that the 39-year-old Portuguese tactician is not a contender for the soon-to-be-vacant post and that West Ham are instead favourites to appoint him, there has been speculation over who else might be selected as Klopp’s successor.

The name of Arne Slot has seemingly jumped to the front of that particular queue, following fresh reports on Tuesday, with the Feyenoord boss cancelling a scheduled press conference amid all the talk of a switch to Anfield.

However, nothing is concrete at this stage and TEAMtalk exclusively revealed this week that Brentford’s Thomas Frank is also among those being considered to assume the Liverpool role.

And here is how the Reds could line up under the Danish manager in 2024/25 (3-4-3 formation)…

GK – Alisson

Back-up Caoimhin Kelleher deputised admirably for the Brazilian while he was out injured for a significant spell mid-season, but Alisson remains arguably the best goalkeeper in the world and will be vital to Liverpool’s future under a new manager.

Alisson combines shot-stopping, command of his penalty area and passing ability to levels rarely seen even among those at the highest level in his position. And at 31, he is still well within his prime years.

RCB – Ibrahima Konate

France international Ibrahim Konate continues to shine at the heart of the Liverpool backline since arriving from RB Leipzig in a £36million deal in 2021.

Although he has yet to fully shake off the injury-prone tag that he earned in Germany, restricted to just 16 Premier League starts so far this term, he is a reliable performer when fit and could slide comfortably into a right-sided centre-back role in a back three under Frank.

CB – Virgil Van Dijk

The linchpin of the Liverpool backline, Virgil van Dijk has every attribute required of the modern defender and is the perfect man to lead the Reds into their post-Klopp era as the anchor of a reimagined backline.

The one snag is that the commanding Dutchman’s Anfield contract is entering its final year. The new boss and the club’s new decision-makers, Michael Edwards and Richard Hughes, will be keen to tie Van Dijk down to fresh terms.

LCB – Goncalo Inacio

Goncalo Inacio, Sporting, April 2023

Goncalo Inacio in action for Sporting

Even if Amorim is no longer a contender to replace Klopp, Liverpool shouldn’t be deterred from their interest in one the Portuguese coach’s greatest developmental successes at Sporting.

Left-sided centre-back Goncalo Inacio came through the Lisbon club’s academy and was given a senior debut by Amorim in the manager’s first full season in charge. The 22-year-old has been a mainstay ever since, impressing with his strength, athleticism and ability to build attacks from deep with his passing skills.

And with a €60m release clause, he would be a value signing for the Reds.

RWB – Trent Alexander-Arnold

Alexander-Arnold is another Liverpool star with just a year remaining on his current contract. The 25-year-old academy graduate has enjoyed another stellar campaign, with three goals and nine assists.

There has been debate among fans over whether the England international is best suited to his usual right-back position or a role in midfield. Unleashing Alexander-Arnold as a wing-back would free him of some defensive responsibility and allow his creative gifts to further flourish.

CM – Alexis Mac Allister

One of the signings of last summer, Alexis Mac Allister’s first season at Anfield following a £35m move from Brighton has seen the World Cup winner establish himself as the future of Liverpool’s midfield for years to come.

With the versatility to shield the backline and conduct play from deep or to push forward and create as a No.10, Mac Allister will be an asset to whoever takes over from Klopp in the Liverpool dugout.

CM – Dominik Szoboszlai

It hasn’t been all plain sailing for Dominik Szoboszlai in his maiden campaign as a Liverpool player since signing from RB Leipzig in a £60m deal last summer.

The Hungarian midfielder started brightly, scoring a handful of spectacular goals, but his form over the second half of the season has been inconsistent.

However, the 23-year-old has shown enough to suggest that he has the potential to develop into a long-term hit at the club, displaying valuable versatility and energy in the middle of the park.

LWB – Andrew Robertson

Like Alexander-Arnold on the other flank, left-back Andrew Robertson’s ability to aid the attack with driving runs and a reliable quality of delivery could see him shine in the slightly more advanced role of wing-back.

The Scot is 30 now and is thus a player the Reds might have one eye on replacing with a younger, more athletic upgrade in the position at some point in the near future.

But with so many needs to address this summer and a new manager to integrate, Robertson’s experience and dependability will be a boon.

REFRESHED FRONT THREE AT ANFIELD

RW – Mohamed Salah

A third Liverpool superstar entering the final 12 months of his contract, Mohamed Salah’s future at the club is likely less certain than fellow prospective 2025 free agents Van Dijk and Alexander-Arnold.

The Egyptian goal-getter will be 32 by the start of next season and, since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations mid-season, has looked a shadow of his best down the stretch this term.

But Salah is still extremely productive, with 24 goals and 13 assists this season. Any incoming manager would surely rather keep him than lose him at this stage.

LW – Jamal Musiala

It would be a signing of seismic proportions and a club-record fee would likely be required to prise him away from Bayern Munich, but if Liverpool were able to land Jamal Musiala, their front line would take on a new dimension.

Linking up with compatriot Frank to operate in one of the wide positions in a 3-4-3, the 21-year-old German has immaculate close control, dizzying dribbling skills and the ability to conjure chances for himself and others in areas of limited space.

Musiala could take Luis Diaz’s place in the Liverpool line-up, with Paris Saint-Germain said to be interested in the Colombian winger, and eventually take over from Salah as the focal point of the Reds’ attack.

ST – Ivan Toney

As Darwin Nunez continues to veer between the sublime and the ridiculous in front of goal, Liverpool may wish to pursue a more reliable striker this summer.

Sporting’s in-demand Viktor Gyokeres has been linked, but if interest in the Swede wanes along with Amorim’s managerial candidacy, they could do worse than reunite Frank with Ivan Toney.

The England striker has a proven track record in the Premier League, will likely be available at a reasonable price given his Brentford contract has only one year remaining, and he is a Liverpool fan!