Liverpool have again been linked with a move for Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe in 2021.
French publication L’Equipe (via Get French Football News) have reported that the Reds have been in regular contact over a deal for the superstar striker next season.
The French outlet claim that Mbappe’s future appears to be with one of the following three clubs: PSG, Real Madrid or Liverpool.
The Reds have already shown this summer the immense pulling power they possess, having jumped to the front of the queue to begin transfer talks with 2019/20 Champions League winners Bayern Munich for world-class midfielder Thiago Alcantara.
This got us thinking, what kind of impact could Mbappe have at Liverpool in 2021 if the tentative links prove to be accurate?
And, what would the team look like at the start of next season with Mbappe?
To have a bit of fun and try to predict the future, we used popular football management simulation game Football Manager 2020 to predict what could happen *if* Mbappe joined Liverpool in 2021.
Kylian Mbappe ‘signs’ for Liverpool in 2021
To set up this simulation, we booted up the Football Manager 2020 editor and arranged for Kylian Mbappe to join Liverpool on July 1st 2021 for £200million. We then simulated until the start of the 2021/22 season on the game, to see what kind of impact the PSG striker would have at the club.
The Football Manager database currently contains data on more than 800,000 individuals and 45,000 active clubs, with data sourced from their international on the ground scouting network which numbers roughly 1,000 people, among their ranks are some who are involved in football in professional capacities, including scouts and coaches.
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In addition, each annual iteration of Football Manager has built-in algorithms which check for outliers and data discrepancies. Data accuracy is further ensured by input from contributors who are active within the professional game (players, agents etc.) who provide regular feedback.
We also used a community database to run the simulation, so all real-life transfers, manager changes, 2019/20 results and more are all up-to-date.
This is what Mbappe’s profile looks like in Football Manager 2020 in July 2021.
A once-in-a-generation player joining an already world-class team, with Mbappe now still just 22 years old.
In our simulation, Liverpool retained the Premier League in 2020/21, so the best team in England just got even better.
Before we start the review of our simulation, it wasn’t all great news for Liverpool in the 2021/22 summer transfer window.
Because, whilst Mbappe joined the club, Virgil van Dijk announced his desire to leave after winning a bunch of trophies with the Reds, with the Dutchman eventually joining PSG for a £150million fee.
This allowed Liverpool to purchase not only Mbappe, but also midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur from Juventus and central defender Mouctar Diakhaby from Valencia.
On to the 2021/22 season, with the signing of Mbappe, Bentancur and Diakhaby secured…
Kylian Mbappe’s 2021/22 season for Liverpool
Let’s take a look at Mbappe’s 2021/22 season for Liverpool in more detail.
The world-class forward had a stunning 2021/22 season for the Reds, scoring 29 goals and registering 6 assists in 53 appearances, with the French forward lethal in the Premier League.
Mbappe directly contributed to 10 Champions League goals in just 13 appearances (six goals, four assists).
Mbappe also scored 22 goals in 25 appearances in the league in 2021/22, which earned him the Golden Boot at the end of the campaign.
Only Chelsea forward Kai Havertz came close to Mbappe.
Let’s take a look at Liverpool’s best performing players in terms of goals and assists in 2021/22.
As you can see from the screenshot below, only Sadio Mane came close to Mbappe in terms of goals, with Firmino and Salah not able to match them.
To be fair to Salah, he had some injury issues in this campaign.
But, when you add up Mbappe, Mane, Salah and Firmino’s stats from 2021/22, it is truly sensational reading. The four Reds forwards together directly contributed to 121 goals combined, in one season!
With Mbappe coming in, Klopp had to evolve his formation to fit the Frenchman into his squad, this is what he came up with.
Liverpool’s best performing eleven was in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Firmino as a number 10, Salah as the striker and Mbappe from the right of attack. But, Mbappe and Salah did regularly swap positions.
Overall, this was their best performing eleven: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Diakhaby, Robertson; Fabinho, Bentancur; Mbappe, Firmino, Mane; Salah.
So, how did this Liverpool team perform overall?
Liverpool’s performance in 2021/22
With Mbappe in the Reds team, Liverpool scored more goals and conceded fewer goals than any other Premier League side in the 2021/22 campaign, with Klopp’s side winning the league for the third consecutive campaign.
Liverpool scored an astonishing 91 goals in 38 games, winning 89 points, three more than second-place Chelsea.
The Reds also reached the Champions League final, with Mbappe opening the scoring in the final against Man City, but Pep Guardiola’s side completed an impressive comeback to win 3-1.
Despite their disappointment in the Champions League, the signing of Mbappe signalled an evolution in Liverpool’s formation for the 2021/22 campaign, with Mbappe the club’s key player who outscored everyone in the Premier League.
According to Football Manager 2020, the signing of Mbappe in 2021/22 would lead to a Premier League title win and a Champions League final place for the Reds, even without Virgil van Dijk!
As always these simulations are just one way of predicting a player’s prospective impact, but it’s interesting to see how Mbappe could perform for Liverpool, *if* he signed for the club ahead of next season.
Klopp has made it clear before how much he admires Mbappe.
When asked about the PSG star as well as Jadon Sancho, the Reds boss said: “I love them all and there’s a few more players out there. They are all exceptional players.”
Speaking back in May, he added: “If we can get one of them in the future, we will see, but we will make the best of the situation we have. Sadio Mane is young enough and Mo Salah is young enough to be in that group for the next few years.”
But Klopp has also stressed just how difficult a task it would be for any team to seal a deal for Mbappe – with a firm declaration that Liverpool would have “no chance” of getting him.
Last November, the German explained: “We have nothing to say about it to be honest, but [buying] this calibre of player is difficult!
“I don’t think there is a club in the world that can buy Kylian Mbappe from PSG, that is how it is. And we are involved in that too.
“We cannot do it, it is as easy as that. OK, from a sporting point of view, there are not a lot of reasons to not sign him, what a player he is.
“But it is about the money of course. No chance. Absolutely no chance, sorry for killing that story!”
Would you be happy with Liverpool signing Mbappe in 2021, even if it meant Van Dijk left?
Let us know in the comments section below.