Having seen their rivals spend lavishly in one of the most action-packed football transfer windows in modern memory, Liverpool supporters have voiced their concern at the club’s lack of transfer activity.
Manchester United have just completed a stunning deal to bring striker Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford after 12 years away at Real Madrid and Juventus. Whilst also signing defender Raphael Varane and winger Jadon Sancho in more big money deals.
Meanwhile, Chelsea brought back prolific striker Romelu Lukaku in a £97 million transfer. Manchester City made Jack Grealish the £100 million-man, signing the Aston Villa captain for a record fee for a British player.
As it stands, Jurgen Klopp has only brought in defender Ibrahima Konaté from RB Leipzig for £36 million and Liverpool fans remain adamant there is both money in the bank for new players, and world class players across Europe available for the right price.
Wijnaldum and Shaqiri departures
Long term midfielders Gini Wijnaldum and Xherdan Shaqiri have now joined PSG and Lyon respectively. Both enjoyed a successful Euro 2020 with three goals apiece and eyebrows have been raised that the club didn’t do more to secure the Dutchman’s services for another three more seasons.
Meanwhile, Shaq demonstrated for Switzerland that when fit he is a force to be reckoned with after some fine performances at this summer’s championships.
Now there is a huge hole in Liverpool’s midfield depth with only James Milner, now 35 and likely to be in his final season at the club, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago Alcântara, and the often injury prone pair Naby Keïta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as the only six senior members of the squad.
The hope now is that Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliot make the step up this season, although that is not guaranteed.
Last season, the Liverpool hierarchy majorly miscalculated as they sold stalwart Dejan Lovren to Zenit St Petersburg and sought no replacement.
A glut of injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez, the only three senior centre-backs at the club led to a defensive crisis. Midfielder Fabinho had to be deployed at the heart of the defence and who himself got injured several times in the process.
The standout form of Nat Philipps and loan signing Ozan Kabak, who was not retained permanently after a successful spell, negated the damage somewhat.
However, six home defeats in a row sent the club’s title defence up in smoke.
Now, having again sold a raft of midfielders, supporters have been left perplexed at the lack of transfer activity.
The principal concern is that Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain will again get injured, further limiting Klopp’s options. If Thiago, Henderson, Milner and Fabinho then succumb to injuries, the club could have a real crisis on its hands.
Adam Lallana was never replaced, and now the same is happening with Wijnaldum and Shaqiri.
The likes of Keïta, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane will also miss several weeks of the season whilst on international duty during the African Cup of Nations. This will significantly dampen Liverpool’s attack at a crucial point in the season.
The other key concern is that the club has a much weaker bench now. This means that overcoming strong teams such as Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United has become significantly harder.
Missed opportunities in the transfer market
Liverpool fans have looked on as England forward Danny Ings has reinvented himself as an attacking goal-scoring machine for Southampton in recent seasons.
Last season he may only have managed 12 goals but in the 19/20 Premier League season he joint won the golden boot with Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang notching 22 goals.
The sale of star man Grealish at Villa saw the reinvestment of those funds towards the likes of Norwich midfielder Emi Buendia, Bayern Leverkusen attacker Leon Bailey and the stealthy acquisition of Ings.
The former Liverpool striker made an immediate impression scoring twice in his opening two games, including a scorching overhead kick in Villa’s 2-0 win against Newcastle.
Liverpool may have pocketed a tidy fee from this transfer, but with the likes of Bobby Firmino, Diogo Jota, Salah and Mane, all failing to score from open play at the weekend against Chelsea, the poacher’s instincts of someone like Ings is something Klopp’s side has been badly missing for a couple of seasons now.
The club also missed out on one of its primary targets in PSV’s Donyell Malen, who joined Klopp’s former side Borussia Dortmund as a direct replacement for Manchester United bound Jadon Sancho.
The England starlet was another player on Klopp’s radar and FSG’s reluctance to invest in the pandemic, again made Liverpool miss out on one of Europe’s most talented players to their rivals.
Grealish was another one that got away for the Anfield giants, although their interest in the player was never concrete to begin with anyway.
The likes of Italian Euro 2020 heroes Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Chiesa are seen as the type of stellar signings the former Premier League champions need in order to reclaim the title.
Juventus have a complex agreement with Fiorentina regarding Chiesa, but at 30-years-old, Napoli’s Insigne may seek a new challenge. Klopp has often spoken openly of his admiration for the Italian and now may be the perfect chance for Liverpool to pounce.
Paulo Dybala was another potential target but the exit of Ronaldo has made the Argentinian a vital player for Juve ahead of the new season.
Lionel Messi’s arrival at PSG has made Argentina’s Mauro Icardi surplus to requirements and he could be the answer to Liverpool’s goal shy problems in frustrating stalemates.
Another Argentinian up for grabs is Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez but he appears Spurs bound with Nuno Espirito Santo keen to land his signature.
It’s highly unlikely Liverpool will panic buy at this stage but it is possible that they could have a big transfer hidden up their sleeves, similar to that of Jota last summer.
Liverpool chiefs have long known of Wijnaldum’s desire to depart for pastures new and a replacement should have been identified months ago.
The club has been linked with the likes of Atletico Madrid’s Saúl Ñíguez, Florian Neuhaus of Borussia Monchengladbach, AZ Alkmaar’s Teun Koopmeiners, Brighton enforcer Yves Bissouma, and Sander Berge of Sheffield United, but nothing has materialised.
Jude Bellingham’s stock continues to rise at Dortmund but again Anfield chiefs have not explored this avenue.
One player who will surely succeed in the Premier League is Lyon’s Houssem Aouar. A fee as little of £25 million should be enough to tempt the French giants to sell, however, Liverpool and FSG remain cagey in their commitments to acquire a new box to box midfielder.
With time running out before the transfer window closes only time will tell if Liverpool have played their cards right or not, and an increasing number of fans don’t believe they have.