Liverpool's next decade in football has been simulated (2020-2030)

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Liverpool Football Club are living proof that a lot can change in a decade.

The 2010s started in ropey fashion for the Reds as they swapped Rafael Benitez for Roy Hodgson, making a series of terrible summer buys and languishing in the relegation zone after eight games.

But fast forward nine years and Liverpool find themselves European champions, eight points clear at the top of the Premier League and on their greatest ever unbeaten run in England's top flight.

Pretty incredible stuff and it makes you wonder what the Merseyside club could possibly achieve during the next decade, which is now only three weeks away from arriving.

Well, there's no way of predicting the future for certain, but the vast data and statistics used by Football Manager 2020 gives us the best possible chance.

Liverpool's next decade

And the Liverpool Echo decided to simulate the 2020s on the new game to see what the next 10 years at Anfield have in store. So, without further ado, here's exactly what happened:

2019/20 season

Transfers in

Football Manager believes Klopp will try and solidify Liverpool's title challenge with some January business, procuring Italian defender Armando Izzo to the tune of £23.5 million.

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Transfers out

There were no permanent winter departures on Merseyside, but youngsters Sepp van den Berg and Curtis Jones were both sent out on loan to the Championship. 

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Best performing XI

Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Andrew Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Naby Keita, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

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Season summary

The Reds bagged themselves the FIFA Club World Cup, but finished behind Manchester City in the Premier League stakes after the Echo were unable to input their current eight-point lead.

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2020/21 season

Transfers in

Remarkably, Liverpool splurged £422 million on Rafa, Florian Thauvin, Lautaro Martinez, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Sandro Tonali, Marcus Edwards, Jordi Alba, Ruben Neves and more.

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Transfers out

And there were also some notable outgoings as Salah moved to Real Madrid (£129m), Van Dijk jumped ship to Paris Saint-Germain (£116m) and Xherdan Shaqiri moved on to Lazio (£35m).

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Best performing XI

Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Georgi Dzhikiya, Jordi Alba, Fabinho, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Fabinho, Naby Keita, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Lautaro Martinez.

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Season summary

After a trophy-less campaign that ended in a third-place Premier League finish, Liverpool astonishingly terminated Klopp's contract and replaced him with Ernesto Valverde.

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2021/22 season

Transfers in

Valverde went for quality over quantity during his first transfer window, capturing long-term target Kai Havertz and former Arsenal defender Callum Chambers for a combined £95 million.

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Transfers out

Marko Grujic, Liam Millar, Adam Lallana, Ben Woodburn, James Milner, Herbie Kane and Dejan Lovren were all flogged for less than £15 million during the summer of 2021.

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Best performing XI

Alisson Becker, Callum Chambers, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Andrew Robertson, Fabinho, Kai Havertz, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Lautaro Martinez.

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Season summary

Liverpool agonisingly missed out on the Premier League title by just a single point behind City, while the Reds suffered a shock Champions League exit to RB Leipzig in the round of 16. 

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2022/23 season

Transfers in

After another year without silverware, the Reds spent big on the likes of Leon Bailey, Nathan Ake, Ferro, Luiz Antonio and more for over £212 million.

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Transfers out

Milinkovic-Savic followed Salah's path with a Real Madrid move, Divock Origi curiously moved to Norwich City and Jordan Henderson ended his 11-year spell at Anfield by signing with Wolves.

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Best performing XI

Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ferro, Joe Gomez, Andrew Robertson, Fabinho, Kai Havertz, Naby Keita, Leon Bailey, Sadio Mane and Lautaro Martinez.

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Season summary

Liverpool won the FA Cup on penalties and fell just one point short of the Premier League crown again, but that wasn't enough to save Valverde, who was sacked and replaced by Carlo Ancelotti.

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2023/24 season

Transfers in

Ancelotti splashed out on four players for £103 million during his first season, most notably signing PSG stalwart Marco Verratti and Russian playmaker Alexey Miranchuk.

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Transfers out

Loris Karius finally left the club after nearly a decade, moving to Basel for £10.5 million, while Matip linked up with Burnley in one of the simulation's strangest transfers.

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Best performing XI

Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ferro, Fabinho, Nathan Ake, Fede Varela, Marco Verratti, Leon Bailey, Kai Havertz, Sadio Mane and Lautaro Martinez.

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Season summary

There might have been MORE Premier League heartache - this time by just two points - but Ancelotti did lead Liverpool to their seventh European Cup with a 2-1 final victory over Napoli.

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2024/25 season

Transfers in

The newly-crowned European champions looked to defend their title by signing Lucas Paqueta, Rodrigo Bentancur, Albian Sahin and Eduardo Fernandez for over £200 million.

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Transfers out

Youngsters Harry Wilson and Rhian Brewster moved to Atletico Madrid for a combined £60 million, while star man Havertz completed a huge £103 million transfer to Barcelona.

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Best performing XI

Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ferro, Fabinho, Nathan Ake, Rodrigo Bentancur, Naby Keita, Leon Bailey, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Lautaro Martinez.

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Season summary

The Reds suffered a 3-1 defeat to Inter Milan in the Champions League final and missed out on the Premier League to City AGAIN, but did secure the Carabao Cup with a 2-0 win over Arsenal. 

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2025/26 season

Transfers in

Ex-Tottenham midfielder Giovani Lo Celso was the headline arrival at £72 million, whereas Burnley's Dominik Szoboszlai - formerly of Red Bull Salzburg - followed suit for £66 million.

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Transfers out 

Aleksei Miranchuk and Verratti both swapped Anfield for Bayer Leverkusen and West Ham United snapped up Varela for a sweet £38 million.

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Best performing XI

Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Luis Antonio, Joe Gomez, Nathan Ake, Rodrigo Bentancur, Lucas Paqueta, Giovani Lo Celso, Sadio Mane and Lautaro Martinez.

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Season summary

Winning the Carabao Cup was enough to keep Ancelotti in the job despite finishing third in the Premier League and losing the FA Cup final to City on penalties.

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2026/27 season

Transfers in

Cesar Vinicio and Ben Chilwell were both raided from Tottenham for almost £150 million, while Marin Pongracic, Hannes Wolf and Barcelona wonderkid Ansu Fati also joined.

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Transfers out

Robertson and Firmino finally left on free transfers to Lyon and Spurs respectively, but the major departures were Antonio to Barcelona (£107m) and Nathan Davies to West Brom (£51m!?).

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Best performing XI

Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Marin Pongracic, Ferro, Ben Chilwell, Dominik Szoboszlai, Giovani Lo Celso, Leon Bailey, Lucas Paqueta, Ansu Fati and Lautaro Martinez.

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Season summary

Liverpool FINALLY won their maiden Premier League title with Ancelotti guiding them to 98 points over - shock horror - City. However, they did lose the Champions League final to Arsenal.

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2027/28 season

Transfers in

Wonderkids were the name of the game for Ancelotti in the summer of 2027 as he shelled out £141 million on Artur Zagre, Felix Otto, Tony Gordon, Alban Leclere and more.

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Transfers out

Mane, now 34, finally left Anfield on a free transfer to Qatari side Al-Gharafa, but Gustavo Assuncao was the most expensive departure with a £37 million move to Inter Milan.

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Best performing XI

Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Ferro, Ben Chilwell, Rodrigo Bentancur, Lucas Paqueta, Leon Bailey, Hannes Wolf, Ansu Fati and Lautaro Martinez.

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Season summary

Ancelotti resigned at the end of the season after guiding Liverpool to an eighth European triumph, thumping Borussia Dortmund 4-1 in the final. Crazily, Pep Guardiola was hired as his replacement.

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2028/29 season

Transfers in

So, how did Guardiola spend his money? Well, the former City boss spent his first summer signing just two players for £111 million overall: Loran Romualdo and Marciano.

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Transfers out

Ruben Neves was booted out to Inter Milan for £47.5 million, Lo Celso put pen to paper on a West Ham switch and Wolf was sent on loan to AS Monaco despite a superb 2027/28 campaign.

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Best performing XI

Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Marin Pongracic, Ben Chilwell, Loran Romualdo, Rodrigo Bentancur, Harvey Elliot, Leon Bailey and Lautaro Martinez.

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Season summary

Victory in the UEFA Super Cup meant Guardiola got off to the perfect start, but a second place Premier League finish and Champions League quarter-final exit made for a tough first season.

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2029/30 season

Transfers in

Blas Martinez, Stuart Squire, Frederic Laporte and Rubens Antonio were amongst the players Guardiola brought in for £173 million to try and lift Liverpool's league form.

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Transfers out

Felix Otto and Arthur Zagre were sent on their merry way to Barcelona for over £140 million and Ake closed out his impressive spell with a free transfer to PSV Eindhoven.

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Best performing XI

Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Ferro, Ben Chilwell, Blas Martinez, Rodrigo Bentancur, 'E. Hammond', Harvey Elliot, Loran Romualdo and Lautaro Martinez.

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Season summary

Guardiola's dire two-year spell on Merseyside ended after an unacceptable fifth-place finish in the Premier League and Antonio Conte was selected as his successor.

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Liverpool's team of the decade

Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Ferro, Ben Chilwell, Fabinho, Rodrigo Bentancur, Naby Keita, Sadio Mane, Leon Bailey and Lautaro Martinez.

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GIVEMESPORT'S Kobe Tong says

Liverpool are in for a manic decade if Football Manager is correct, that's for sure.

However, I'm inclined to think it's a little idealistic to imagine Alisson stood between the sticks in 2030 when he's almost 38 years old, even by his world-class standards.

I'm also unsure that Gomez will last quite that long at Anfield, but Alexander-Arnold - on the other hand - looks like a solid pick to become a Liverpool legend and see out the next decade.

Liverpool FC v Everton FC - Premier League

As for the near omnipresence of Martinez, it's within the realms of possibility when you consider his form at Inter Milan, but it remains to be seen whether he'll take his career to Anfield.

However, one thing I'm pretty confident in saying is that Guardiola will never take the Liverpool job. Ancelotti? Maybe. Conte? Possible. Valverde? A stretch. Guardiola? No chance.

But when you consider how much can change in 10 years of football, I wouldn't be surprised if everything that Football Manager predicts comes true or absolutely nothing at all.

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