After a hugely encouraging opening win against Arsenal, and with the rest of the season laid ahead Liverpool’s transfer activities must be put under scrutiny.
“After all the transfers…this time it is my team. There are probably no players here anymore I don’t want. There are no signings I didn’t want; we have not sold anyone I didn’t want to”.
After a thrilling victory against fellow nearly-men Arsenal, Liverpool’s stock has certainly risen, especially in relation to the recent signings brought in by Jurgen Klopp. Of perhaps the most surprise is Ragnar Klavan – initially sold to fans as merely support for our defensive ranks he has undoubtedly impressed. His practical and rather old-fashioned defensive techniques have come of great comfort, with many highlighting his potential as a major ‘Moneyball’ signing success.
Less surprisingly, Sadio Mane’s superb performance against the Gunners featured an incisive finish, and in winning six tackles and recovering possession eight times it is clear he is on his way to imitating Klopp’s critical gegenpressing style. That Loris Karius and Joel Matip, once amongst the most highly regarded players from the Bundesliga, have not even featured due to injury is of great note too.
Yet, despite many appearing to have U-turn on the matter, an elephant remains in the room. Alberto Moreno. While fans have become tired of the constant chatter about whether the Spaniard is indeed good enough Jurgen Klopp once more issued a confidence both in Moreno, and the defensive cover available, “Clyne, Milner and Klavan can all play left-back. I’m sorry people are not happy with Alberto Moreno”.
Ultimately, no one wants a repeat of the abuse suffered online by Dejan Lovren, forcing the defender of social media after a few poor matches. Yet, Liverpool’s transfer dealings must be put in to a bigger context, a context that Moreno must feature in.
Perhaps Klopp’s most telling comment on the transfer market so far, has been this –
“there is a special quality that we did not have last year”. And, yet despite assurance after assurance, there is the nagging sense that if Liverpool fail to add either a left-back or some unknown world class talent, this transfer session will have ultimately been a missed opportunity.
With the unfortunate disillusionment with Benteke Liverpool’s sales have been rather easy decisions. Jordan Ibe and Joe Allen, and a host of youngsters all found good homes, and often for a surprisingly high figure. And, these sales have funded both Bundesliga players and exciting talent, Georginio Wijnaldum. But if, and more likely when, Benteke’s sale does go through [Now officially has] Liverpool will be left with a surplus of at least £5 million.
Often in footballing culture there is an unsubstantiated desire from fans for the club to spend, spend, spend. After all better, usually more expensive players produce better results. This is not always the case of course, but what is more excruciating than observing a team fail to bring in transfers simply because they have wrongly perceived they have enough quality.
When questioned about needing to improve and potential signings, Klopp coyly stated “We will see! I think we will try it with training and analyse things”. While this level-headedness is a strong quality in the chaos of the transfer market it also can fold in on itself in last minute panic buys as injuries occur, and performances deteriorate.
Yet, this doesn’t feel like greed. Not this time. With the exit of the Scouse Cafu firmly in mind, Liverpool simply do not have adequate fullback cover. And, no matter how many debates of is Moreno good? He can attack! Can he defend? Sort of? Liverpool need to make signings lest we learn the hard way from a team we ironically just beat, that transfer stagnation is not immediate, but more like a slow rotting of talent.
Perhaps Liverpool will never ‘do enough’ in the transfer market. Even if Bruno Martins Indi, Fabio Coentrao and Ricardo Rodriguez were all signed just for the hell of it fans would probably still demand more cover for a striker. And, if a forward was brought in we’d probably all find another problem, with the amount of minutes Sturridge is getting or why they weren’t a ‘world class’ winger.
Sure, a defensive minded midfielder, right-back cover and a winger would certainly improve Liverpool immensely, but there is a clear priority here that is apparently not being addressed. While Liverpool fail to sign a left-back they simply have not done enough.
Bringing in at least four starters and shipping out a number of deadweight’s in any other industry would be seen as a great success. But, in football this is just not the case as us entitled fans will always criticise when only 90% of a job is done.
Perhaps Klopp has indeed already wrapped up a left-back signing and a few more to boot.
But, until every option has been explored we will probably continue to moan about transfer inactivity, on and on. Largely, because no one, no one, wants to become Arsenal.
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