Finding the Right Replacement for Every One of Liverpool's Key Stars (if They Had to)

Liverpool's track record of replacing their key players is...mixed at best.

Recently, we were reminded of the time that Rafa Benitez tried to try a fill a Xabi Alonso shaped void with Alberto Aquilani - a name that still sends shivers down the spines of Reds fans around the globe.

This is not the only occasion when the Merseysiders' recruitment strategy went awry. Remember when Luis Suarez was replaced by Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert? Those were some dark, dark days.

Liverpool have long since left flops like this behind and rarely put a foot wrong in the transfer market these days.

However, the champagne can't flow forever and at some point in the future the Redmen's stars are going to have to be replaced. Here's who we'd bring in if any of Liverpool's stars do walk out the door - for whatever strange reason - at the end of the season.

Jan Oblak (to Replace Alisson)

Liverpool FC v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg

You know what they say. If you can't beat them, join them - and Liverpool certainly could not beat Jan Oblak when they met Atletico Madrid in the Champions League round of 16 in March.

In the second leg alone, the Slovenian made nine saves to keep his side in the game and help them dump the holders out. It was a typically imperious performance from the former Benfica stopper.

Though his distribution is nowhere near as good as Alisson's, Oblak is the best shot stopper in the world and at the end of the day, isn't that what a goalkeeper's there for? The pair are also exactly the same age, with both 27. If that's not a sign that it's meant to be, then we don't know what is.

Achraf Hakimi (to Replace Trent Alexander-Arnold)

Borussia Moenchengladbach v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga

Trent Alexander-Arnold is the best right-back - if not full back - in the world, so finding someone better is not just challenging, it's actually impossible.

Right...moving on then.

Only joking. As this article exists in a purely hypothetical world, we propose that the 21-year-old's replacement should be Borussia Dortmund's Achraf Hakimi.

Like our aforementioned goalkeepers these two are the exact same age and possess similar key attributes. Both shine when going forward - evidenced by their combined 22 league assists this season - and both are tenacious defenders. Maybe replacing TAA isn't such an impossible task after all. Next please, we're on a roll.

Caglar Soyuncu (to Replace Virgil van Dijk)

Leicester City v Aston Villa - Premier League

The phrase 'To Replace Virgil van Dijk' just looks wrong. You'd have to be absolutely bonkers to consider life at Anfield without the big Dutchman just yet, but if one was forced to choose his successor - which we are - Caglar Soyuncu is a fantastic option.

The Turkey international has enjoyed a breakout year with Leicester this season as part of a back four that can boast the third best defensive record in the Premier League.

He is dominant aerially and in the tackle and is also comfortable with the ball at his feet. Yes, he's not Van Dijk, but what defender is? The guy nearly won the Ballon d'Or for goodness sake.

N'Golo Kante (to Replace Jordan Henderson)

Chelsea FC v Manchester United - Premier League

Is this a bit crazy? Maybe. But the more you think about it, the more it makes sense. Chelsea are rumoured to be open to selling the diminutive Frenchman and he would slot into Henderson's role nicely.

Kante has an even greater engine than the Liverpool skipper and he is far from just a ball winner. There are many more strings to the former Leicester man's bow.

He can carry the ball nicely through the lines - like Henderson - has a deceptively impressive passing range - like Henderson - and even pops up with the odd goal now and then. Like...well, you get the picture.

So, are you convinced? Don't answer that actually. Let's move on.

Jadon Sancho (to Replace Mohamed Salah)

Borussia Moenchengladbach v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga

Jadon Sancho needs no introduction at this point - what a bloody player, eh?

The former Manchester City man has racked up an outrageous 14 goals and 16 assists in the Bundesliga this season and although he looks set to join Manchester United in the summer, he'd make the perfect replacement for Mo Salah.

When appearances in all competitions are factored in, the pair have actually registered the exact same scoring tally this season, while Sancho has set up a shed load more. Interesting stuff...

Timo Werner (to Replace Roberto Firmino)

UEFA Champions League"Red Bull Leipzig v Tottenham Hotspur FC"

Finding a like for like swap for Roberto Firmino is an thankless task, given there's not a single other player in the world who offers such a unique approach to the centre forward position.

With that in mind we've taken a different tact, selecting someone who loves pressing almost as much as he loves goals - Timo Werner.

The tireless RB Leipzig frontman has been in the form of his life this season, notching 21 Bundesliga goals - including two hat tricks. He's also absolutely desperate to work with Jurgen Klopp and he's not been afraid to tell anyone who will listen, which is nice to see in such an unfeeling and cynical world.

Kylian Mbappé (to Replace Sadio Mané)

Olympique Lyonnais v Paris Saint-Germain - French Cup Semi Final

This one's quite interesting in the sense that it might actually happen - how exciting!

There's been a few murmurings - mainly from former Fulham striker Diomansy Kamara to be fair - that Sadio Mané should be considering moving on in the summer while #Mbappe2020 continues to be furiously tweeted by thousands of Liverpool fans.

The Frenchman is a sickeningly good footballer who has already won the World Cup and looks destined to lift a lot more shiny trophies throughout the rest of his career. The thought of him tearing up the Premier League is making our mouths water - let's hope it happens one day.

Source : 90min