Four English players Liverpool could sign to comply with UEFA rules | Football | Sport

Liverpool only named 21 players out of a possible 25 in their Premier League squad for the second half of the season – because of a lack of homegrown players. The Reds are able to register an unlimited number of under-21 players born after January 1st 2002, and thankfully have a handful of top-class young talents able to help them out.

In the Champions League, though, the rules are even stricter. Eight of the 25 spots in a squad are reserved for ‘locally trained players’. No more than four of those can be ‘association-trained players’ – which means they would’ve been on another club’s books in the same association for three years between the ages of 15 and 21. The other four must be ‘club-trained’, AKA those on the club’s books for at least three years between 15 and 21.

Liverpool’s 21-man Premier League squad contains just five homegrown players – Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Curtis Jones, Rhys Williams and Caoimhin Kelleher. But the long-term futures of Williams and Kelleher are unclear and so Liverpool need more talent to fill the homegrown quota.

Many of their young players will not be eligible to take a homegrown slot for a few seasons yet. Harvey Elliott and Conor Bradley, for example, are not eligible until the 2025-26 season, which leaves Liverpool in need of some clever signings for their next manager. So which English players could they look at in the transfer market?

Tosin Adarabioyo

The aforementioned Adarabioyo is a confirmed target. The 26-year-old centre-back has impressed at Fulham who he has been with since the summer of 2020, making 69 Premier League appearances for the Cottagers. But he’s out of contract at the end of the season, meaning he would be available for nothing.

The England youth international came through Manchester City’s academy and played seven times for the first-team under Pep Guardiola. While a right-footer, Adarabioyo would be a handy replacement for the left-footed Joel Matip who is likely to leave on a free this summer.

Though he’d come in initially as back-up, the step-up should appeal to the former Championship Team of the Year defender given Liverpool would offer him the chance to win trophies and play in the Champions League again.

Lloyd Kelly

A target back in 2019 when he played for Bristol City, Lloyd Kelly is still just 25 and has spent the last five seasons at Bournemouth, three of which have come in the Premier League. He joined Adarabioyo in the 2021-22 Championship Team of the Season and has done well in the top flight since.

Capped 10 times by the England under-21s, Kelly can play at left-back and centre-back and is a left-footer. Liverpool do not have any other left-footed defenders if Matip departs.

Best of all, just like Adarabioyo, Kelly is out of contract at the end of the season. And that makes him an even more attractive prospect just like his Fulham counterpart but Tottenham are massive fans too and may already have the jump on Liverpool.

Conor Gallagher

Leeds’ Archie Gray is a target but born in 2006, he wouldn’t be eligible for a homegrown slot for several seasons either. Instead, the most likely midfield option would be Conor Gallagher who enters the final 12 months of his Chelsea contract this summer.

That means the Blues might be forced to accept bids below their valuation, especially because they are no closer to agreeing a new deal for the England international despite him captaining the team multiple times this term. Gallagher could go for around £30m or so.

The Reds already have a lot of options in midfield but Thiago Alcantara’s exit means there is a vacancy for the 24-year-old. Tottenham are also massive fans of the player, though, and are said to be readying a summer bid for him.

Jarrod Bowen

Should Mohamed Salah depart, one of the best possible successors stylistically would be West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen. Bowen has long been admired by Liverpool, and by Klopp in particular, and the left-footed right-winger has a decent output of direct goal contributions.

But the Englishman is 28 this December and would cost at least £80m if not £100m or more. That means any deal would be solely dependent on the Reds getting a big fee for Salah, should he go to Saudi Arabia, and Klopp’s successor being insistent that Bowen is his man.

Still, given the long-term interest and Liverpool’s status as challengers in all competitions, it is a move that might appeal to the player.

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