Dave Davis explains why supporters shouldn’t expect big changes to the Liverpool side this winter.
With Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho both considered doubtful for the Southampton game at St. Mary’s, the first murmurs on Twitter were about which players would step forward. The second mutterings were about the need to strengthen the squad in January, with games close together and Sadio Mane heading to AFCON. Don’t be surprised if the first one is true, but you shouldn’t start expecting any great changes.
The links have been coming fresh and fast with Tah, Pulisic and Dahoud the favourites, but you can rule them out quickly. Tah is playing for a team in the Champions League in Leverkusen who stand a good chance of qualifying from Spurs’ group. Pulisic seems to be in favour again at Dortmund and Monchengladbach have confirmed that there is ‘0% chance’ of Dahoud leaving in January. All these players are believable targets for the summer, but Jurgen Klopp won’t be expecting these as New Year’s presents.
For any team to be successful, the squad’s strength in numbers will need to be utilised and that’s what will happen. For all the plaudits he’s enjoying with England right now, Daniel Sturridge is the twelfth man at Anfield. The 28 year old has only played 483 minutes of football for the Reds to date this season and certainly made a point with a cameo against Watford. Another forward who maybe chomping at the bit even more is Divock Origi. The Belgian has only played 349 minutes of football to date and will be dying to get more game time. How many sides have quality like those two in reserve as fresh as they are?
Mane will be a miss for the short period that he is away. The Senegalese attacker will miss games against Man Utd, Swansea, Hull and Chelsea and yet there are decent replacements. If Klopp is looking for a pacy option then Origi seems the natural replacement and Sheyi Ojo is on his way back too.
Klopp has made it clear that he trusts these players and with the absence of European football, they won’t become as stretched and frayed as other clubs. Joe Gomez coming back to fitness will give him another option in the defence and it has to be remembered that the likes of Matip and Milner don’t even play during international break. Rumours will ramp up when silly season starts, but don’t be surprised if nothing happens. Squads win trophies not teams. There’s only one way to find out if we’ve got what’s needed this season.