When it comes to the January transfer window, Liverpool is often the last team anyone would expect to be busy at this time of the football calendar.
However, with the club left in the mist of an injury crisis, such circumstances have forced their hand.
Season ending injuries to the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and now Joel Matip, mean that Liverpool fans are unlikely to see their team’s stalwarts in action again this campaign.
The final three days of the transfer window saw the champions linked with a host of names; from Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi, Marseille’s Duje Ćaleta-Car, West Ham’s Issa Diop, to Sporting Braga’s David Carmo.
Eventually though the Anfield side settled on Preston’s Ben Davies and Schalke’s Ozan Kabak, completing both deals on the final day.
At the beginning of the month, few would have foreseen Jurgen Klopp’s adding Davies and Kabak to his star-studded team.
Both players possess unique back stories.
Davies, at 25, had established himself as one of the best defenders in the Championship at Preston North End.
Signed for £500,000, a fee likely to rise to £2 million based on appearances, the signing could yet prove to be a bargain for Liverpool, if he turns out to be a success.
Davies was reportedly close to signing a pre-contract agreement with Celtic, with his Preston contract going into the final six months.
However, Klopp clearly saw something special in the Englishman and decided to bring him to Anfield on deadline day.
The story of Kabak varies in that this is a highly rated defender that the club were keen on signing last summer, following the departure of the long serving Dejan Lovren.
Although a move never materialised until now.
Again, circumstances were very different then. Schalke had no obligation to sell. Whilst the player seemed happy to stay.
Fast forward six months, and with the German side bottom of the Bundesliga and in desperate need of financial inflow, the deal became a no-brainer.
The agreement sees Liverpool pay an initial £1 million loan fee, with an additional 500,000 depending on appearances and the club’s performance in the Champions League.
Klopp’s team then have the option of making Kabak’s move permanent for £18 million in the summer.
It’s fair to say that Liverpool overcame complications in getting this deal over the line.
Firstly, they were up against time as the transfer window in Germany closed at 17:00, much earlier than that in England.
The English champions therefore needed to submit all the paperwork before this time.
The second obstacle was that if there had been an obligation to buy clause inserted in the loan agreement, Liverpool would almost certainly have walked away.
Luckily, this did not happen and Schalke demonstrated themselves to be a reliable and compromising business partner, as they were both flexible and fair to the Anfield side, making the deal possible.
LFC fans content once more
Liverpool fans have recently expressed their frustration and dismay to the club’s owners at the lack of transfer activity.
Owner John W Henry, chairman Tom Werner and Fenway Sports Group (FSG) have often said that the impact of Covid-19 and the absence of crowds, has left the club in a weak financial situation.
Fans have then pointed to the club being in the top five richest teams in world football, as being a reason to splash the cash on defensive cover.
After all, the club’s centre half crisis warranted the express need for reinforcements.
Fans have also pointed to lucrative shirt sponsorship by American sportswear giants Nike, and TV rights money from Sky and BT Sport, as significant sources of financial input.
Whatever the financial situation at the club is, all parties will be delighted with the addition of two new centre halves. Klopp, the fans and the players will feel a burden has been lifted.
It also means that captain Jordan Henderson and midfielder Fabinho might be able to move back into their familiar positions higher up the pitch.
As part of the deal for Davies, youngster Sepp van den Berg moves the other way, joining Preston until the end of the season.
Meanwhile, Japanese winger Takumi Minamino, despite only being at Anfield a year, has moved to Southampton on loan till the end of the season.
The Saints had wanted an obligation to buy as part of the loan agreement, however, this was rejected by Klopp and Liverpool, who retain their belief that the Japanese’s future still lies at Anfield.
If he can be as successful at St Mary’s as former Liverpool striker Danny Ings, who lit up the Premiership with 22 goals last term, both teams and the player himself, may have a big decision to take on his future.
In other news, Klopp and his players will also be delighted at recording two impressive 3-1 victories in the capital last week.
Although, Liverpool had to wait until first half injury time to score against Tottenham, they went into the interval goalless against West Ham.
However, they didn’t panic and remained patient to eventually get the goal they deserved after 57 minutes.
A fine team move was finished with aplomb by Egyptian Mo Salah as he netted his first Premier League goal in seven matches.
James Milner had seemed upset with boss Klopp at being substituted for home grown Curtis Jones, but the 35-year-old veteran quickly made up with his gaffer as the switch paid off with Jones playing in Salah, who curled in on his left foot to finally break the deadlock.
A second for Salah and Liverpool quickly followed as the in-form Xherdan Shaqiri completed a fabulous 35-pass move with a chipped through ball, that the Egyptian confidently slotted past a helpless Łukasz Fabiański.
Substitutes Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Bobby Firmino combined perfectly to set up the consistently impressive Gini Wijnaldum, as the Dutchman slotted in Liverpool’s third, much to his delight.
Goalkeeper Alisson was denied a clean sheet however as Hammers defender Craig Dawson pounced on the mistimed clearances from Andrew Robertson and Nat Philipps, as he slotted in a late consolation.
Table at a glance
The win takes Liverpool up to third in the Premier League, leapfrogging Leicester City and taking them to within one point of rivals Manchester United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were stunned 2-1 by bottom of the table Sheffield United at Old Trafford.
This combined with a drab 0-0 draw with Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal at the Emirates, sees them claim only one point out of a possible six.
In contrast to Liverpool’s collection of maximum points, a valuable six points on the road last week.
Klopp’s men now stand only four points off leaders Manchester City, who themselves have a game in hand.
With the last-minute additions of Davies and Kabak, combined with two high scoring away wins, Liverpool will be buoyed going into this home fixture against Brighton.
Klopp awaits news on striker Sadio Mane’s minor muscle issue that kept him on the sidelines at the weekend against West Ham.
Makeshift defender Fabinho remains sidelined but is making progress to be fit for Man City’s visit to Anfield this Sunday.
Philipps and Henderson will again form the likely centre half partnership. Jones’ impressive performance against the Hammers should see the youngster rewarded with a start.
Brighton themselves are on a high as their surprise 1-0 victory over José Mourinho’s Spurs at the Amex put them seven points clear of the drop zone.
Both Brighton and Liverpool have played themselves into form of late. The Seagulls are into the fifth round of the FA Cup, with the reward of an away tie against Leicester, to look forward too.
I do think Liverpool will be hurting after losing their 68-match unbeaten run at home last time out against Burnley.
That seems to have galvanised the players and I think they will be strong for Brighton.
I’m going for another 3-1 victory but hopefully this time Klopp’s men can keep a clean sheet.