Jurgen Klopp has created special Liverpool team, but 11 completely new players could replace them

(Image: ROBERT MICHAEL/AFP via Getty Images)
Liverpool have evolved into quite an unorthodox side under Jurgen Klopp. The Reds exhibit a variety of unique traits on the pitch that can't truly be copied by opposing teams because of the players that Jurgen Klopp has at his disposal, and the lack of alternatives in the transfer market.
His front three are unpredictable and aggressive, with Roberto Firmino retreating into midfield while Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah run in the opposite direction before cutting inside onto their favoured foot.
In midfield, Klopp has energy, industry, discipline and fight, which could be problematic due to the lack of creativity, but is compensated by the offensive nature of his full-backs, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson.
Then in central defence, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez showcase speed, strength and a rare completeness that is further reinforced by Alisson Becker between the sticks.
Passes in behind, long passes, switches of play, set-pieces, counter-attacks - Liverpool can do it all.
However, what if Klopp wanted his team to perform in exactly the same manner, with the same attacking dynamics, but without a single one of his current regular starters?
Josh Williams and David Hughes have scouted Europe to identify players who could essentially form an alternative Liverpool XI, with the same strengths and weaknesses in the same key areas.
Let's take a look at the team forwarded by Josh.
Josh Williams' alternative Liverpool XI

GK - Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao)

To find an Alisson alternative, a technical and commanding presence who's brilliant at stopping shots is required. Unai Simon seems to have great quality and potential. The Spaniard is just 22 years-old and he's 6-foot-3, meaning that he's the same height as Alisson. The Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper has conceded around 6.7 goals fewer than his post-shot xG suggests he should have, which offers an insight into his shot-stopping ability, and he places 7th in La Liga this season for how far from goal his defensive actions take place on average, which signals his willingness to come off his line.

LB - Aaron Martin (Mainz 05)

Andy Robertson was signed for around £8m and he's since progressed into a player who's arguably worth over £50m. He's been able to thrive largely because of his mobility, energy and attacking intent. Aaron Martin of Mainz 05 appears to have a comparable game. The 22 year-old Spaniard takes set-pieces for his team, has a very good delivery when crossing, and likes to influence proceedings in the final third by joining attacks.

LCB - Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)

Van Dijk is undeniably well-rounded. The Dutchman is the rock of Klopp's defence and he's able to thrive because of how few weaknesses he has. Dayot Upamecano is similar and interestingly, he's just 21 years-old. The RB Leipzig defender is 6-foot-1, quick, strong aerially, attempts the same number of long passes per 90 with around seven, and wins around 80% of his defensive duels based on this season. He's complete enough to assume the role of Van Dijk without struggling.

RCB - Wesley Fofana (Saint Etienne)

An alternative for Gomez must be fast, physical, assertive and good aerially. In Wesley Fofana, Saint Etienne have a very promising centre-back alongside William Saliba, who's interestingly joining up with Arsenal in the summer. Fofana is 6-foot-1 and has a very good reading of the game considering he's still a teenager. He's also mobile and strong aerially, suggesting that he'd partner up well with Van Dijk or in this case, Upamecano.

RB - Mehmet Celik (Lille) or James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)

Trent Alexander-Arnold was probably the hardest to replace like-for-like because of how differently he interprets the role of full-back compared to others. He takes set-pieces, switches the play, plays through passes and long passes, and accumulates assists regularly. Mehmet Celik looks to be a promising talent at Lille. He's 23 year-old and has inventive qualities when going forward, but it's also worth noting a wildcard option in James Ward-Prowse. The Southampton man is technically a midfielder, but he's amassed around 900 minutes as a right-back since 2016, and his crossing delivery is deadly. If he was deployed as a right-back for Liverpool, would his game have to change that much?

DM - Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City)

Leicester's Wilfred Ndidi is one of the best around without the ball. He's just 23 and his defensive output is rivalled by very few as he contributes plenty of the work that James Maddison and Youri Tielemans don't. Crucially, Ndidi is tall, standing 5-foot-11 which is a vital advantage of Fabinho's considering the directness of Klopp's outfit and has allowed him to step in as a centre-back when required.

RCM - Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid)

An alternative to Jordan Henderson isn't easy, mostly because of what he offers to Liverpool beyond footballing ability. However, in terms of his physical presence, his vigour and his defensive strength, Thomas Partey appears well suited. The Atletico Madrid man is 26 years-old meaning he's the oldest of this makeshift XI, but he possesses few weaknesses, has an authority in the centre of the park and was one of Diego Simeone's best performers in the recent Champions League clash at Anfield, which offers an insight into his character.

LCM - Denis Zakaria (Borussia Monchengladbach)

Gini Wijnaldum, although he tends to deliver big goals sporadically, is predominately a balanced performer. The Dutch midfielder is efficient, clever and tends to take few risks in possession. Denis Zakaria is very similar. He rarely loses the ball with a pass completion of 89.4% in the Bundesliga this season, and once compared with every central midfielder in Europe who's amassed over 1,000 minutes, his defensive duel success is the best at 70.8%, narrowly bettering Wijnaldum's 69.6% in second place.

LW - Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)

Arguably the biggest no-brainer move is Timo Werner in Sadio Mane's place. The German international is lightning quick, has scored and assisted a total of 39 goals this season, and he's right-footed which permits him to drive inside towards goal. He'd be able to provide much of what Mane does.

RW - Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal)

Mohamed Salah is one of the trickiest to find an alternative for largely because he delivers, he's fast and he's left-footed. There are very few players in Europe who blend those qualities as impressively as Salah does. Bernardo Silva is left-footed but he's too slow, for example. However, Samuel Chukwueze seems to have potential at just 20 years-old. He's not yet close to Salah's level of product, but he fits the criteria in terms of a right-sided forward who's fast and left-footed with a high ceiling.

CF - Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen)

Roberto Firmino is one of the most unconventional strikers around, as he's hard-working, comfortable in midfield, links up with others well and has a superb awareness of what is around him. To ensure those qualities are retained, Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz appears suited. The German is just 20 years-old but he's 6-foot-2 and has fantastic vision and spacial awareness. If he was instructed to come deep before feeding quicker teammates running beyond him, it's likely he'd thrive.

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