Two months ago, there was not a single cloud floating in the sky over the buoyant city of Liverpool. The Reds were still unbeaten in the league, going strong in the FA Cup, and dreaming of retaining the illustrious Champions League.
The stage was set. Domestic domination, European glory and a first league title in 30 years. This band of brothers would gain legendary status, before Jurgen Klopp would then have to get out the chequebook and strengthen one of the Premier League’s greatest ever teams.
Unfortunately, fate had a big twist in store for the Anfield faithful. The Reds lost their 44-game unbeaten run at the hands of struggling Watford, before being knocked out of the Champions League and FA Cup in quick succession.
But never fear, Liverpool supporters! The Premier League title is all-but in the bag…well, even that is up in the air now. The darkest of clouds threatens to rain on the Reds’ title parade, following the suspension of all football amid the coronavirus outbreak.
And it’s not only on the pitch that the deadly illness has left its mark. Clubs up and down the country are feeling the pinch financially, as they come to terms with a severe loss of match-day and TV revenue.
So, everyone is beginning to look at the summer transfer window as a chance to extend contracts and hold on to the stars they have, rather than splashing the big bucks on improving their current lineups. And Liverpool will be no exception to that rule.
Dreams of Kylian Mbappé, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz have been replaced with a desire to hold onto the likes of Adam Lallana and Xherdan Shaqiri, who both looked destined to ride off into the sunset this summer.
But would this change of tack be such a bad thing? Here we take a look at eight current Liverpool players who could be handed a second chance to revive their Anfield careers.
Shaqiri boasts one of the strangest CVs in world football, suffering relegation with Stoke City and enjoying Champions League glory with Liverpool in the space of 12 months. But the Swiss winger has hardly been a regular in the Reds side, and his form has taken a subsequent dip.
Many expected Shaqiri to be waving goodbye at the end of the campaign in search of first-team football, but Klopp may be reluctant to let him go just yet. The 28-year-old still has plenty to offer to the German’s side and deserves a real run in the starting lineup to make his mark.
A slice of magic is never far away when the diminutive forward is on the pitch, and a fully-confident Shaqiri could be the difference in clutch matches for the Reds next season.
Grujić has been a Liverpool player since 2016, but he has seldom pulled on the famous red shirt since his move from Red Star Belgrade. And now aged 24, time seems to be running out on the midfielder’s Anfield career.
But after excelling at Hertha Berlin over the past two seasons, Grujić is being touted for a possible return to the Liverpool fold. Klopp knows just how competitive the Bundesliga is, and the Serbian midfielder’s upturn in form could have finally won over his German coach.
This guy is certainly not the second coming of Dominic Solanke. Rhian Brewster was itching to get some game time at Liverpool this season but realistically what he needed most was some experience at a lower level.
And he got that aplenty with Swansea, where he made 11 appearances in the second half of the season, scoring four goals. The suspension of all football will have come as a huge blow to Brewster, who was finding his feet at a good level of the game and proving that he’s got the potential to thrive at the top.
The 20-year-old was expected to go out on loan again next year, but could he provide Klopp with an adequate super-sub for the brilliant Roberto Firmino?
Elliott is not to be underestimated. He has impressed his boss since his arrival from Fulham, and the 17-year-old has captured a lot of curiosity with his sharp footwork and maturity on the field.
A loan move to another Premier League side or a Championship outfit may be the best option for a player at this stage in his career, but Elliott would continue learning at a rapid pace at Anfield should he stay, with the possibility of adding to his handful of Premier League minutes.
Wilson looks to have the makings of a future Premier League regular – though sadly not at Liverpool. With his magic left foot, the wicked free-kicks and his ability on the flanks, the Wales international is destined for big things.
Liverpool were rumoured to be willing to cash in on the 23-year-old this summer, as he holds no obvious place in Klopp’s plans. But that could all have changed, and the Bournemouth loanee may offer some vital cover in the Reds’ cup competitions or in midweek rotation.
The most wanted man in football may end up without a move after all. Not because interest has dropped, but because Liverpool might reassess their decision to allow him to leave.
Lallana is a wonderful footballer when fully fit and can do a job anywhere across the midfield, making him a valuable asset to any squad. And although his time at Anfield seemed to have reached its end, he could be set for a reprieve.
The fact so many clubs are keeping tabs on the 31-year-old shows just how highly he is regarded in the football world, and Klopp may be wondering if they’d be missing a trick by letting him walk away for nothing.
Of all of Klopp’s brilliant work in the transfer market, this deal is the one which has yet to bear fruit. There is no question that Keita is a wonderful player, but he has struggled to make the Liverpool midfield his own and patience is growing thin.
But any thoughts of cashing in on the Guinean star may have been quashed by the financial implications of the coronavirus, and the 25-year-old will be keen to finally show what he can do next season. Plenty to prove, but he’s got all the tools to do so.
Type this fella’s name into YouTube and a whole host of compilation videos will appear, showing him humiliating countless opponents. Ejaria has stepped up in the Championship with Reading and his fancy footwork has lit up the entire division this season.
Ejaria was likely to be farmed out for another year of learning his trade elsewhere, but the 22-year-old’s attacking style may have convinced Klopp to keep him around the first team a little longer. You never know what he could conjure.