For the next month, the transfer window is back open and silly season is set to get into full swing, however, will Liverpool actually use the market? Do they even need to? Jack Hallows gives his thoughts.
January is a busy month for the Premier League. The winter FA Cup games start, Premier League games come thick and fast and for Liverpool, the EFL Cup continues in the form of a double-headed semi-final against Southampton. Frustratingly, Liverpool will have to contend this schedule without star man Sadio Mane who’s off to the AFCON while Joel Matip and Philippe Coutinho also are still not yet available due to injury.
Mane’s absence and the constant injury fears from supporters has seen many suggest the Reds should dip into the market for at least one or two new arrivals to add depth and an extra injection of quality into the squad. There have been certain names thrown around for weeks now and rumours surrounding the likes of Quincy Promes, Joe Hart and even Mahmoud Dahoud just won’t go away. Unfortunately, however, for those spending every waking moment browsing rumours and hoping for reinforcements, it’s looking increasingly likely that Jurgen Klopp will not enter the market.
James Pearce – Liverpool ECHO journalist and a superbly reliable source for all things Liverpool – responded to a Tweet this morning, revealing that while things may change by the 31st, there is “nothing likely at the moment.” As annoying as this news may be, it can hardly come as any real surprise. Jurgen Klopp stated openly last season that he isn’t a fan of the winter window – his only movements were to sign Steven Caulker on loan, play him twice then have him disappear – and that he prefers to work with the continuity in his already available squad.
Mane’s absence will be a huge loss and the Reds will certainly feel it – not least during a crunch clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford on January 15th – but Klopp is not a fan of short-term, stop-gap solutions and in fairness, already possesses a large amount of firepower in his ranks. Once Philippe Coutinho returns from injury, Klopp will have Firmino, Coutinho, Origi and Daniel Sturridge (remember him?) to choose from when constructing his front 3 while his midfield trio choices – Emre Can, Adam Lallana, Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum – also have a combined 13 goals between them in the league so far.
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Mane’s pace and explosiveness will certainly be a huge miss for the Reds but they’ve got a lot of goals in that squad and a lot of talent. Signing someone like Quincy Promes who would likely cost roughly £20 million to play only three or four games before being relegated to the bench is not Klopp’s style. There is also the possibility that Mane may be back a lot sooner than the worst case scenario. Senegal’s final group clash is on the 24th of January and if they have a dire tournament, crashing out after the group stages, that could even see Mane in contention to start against Chelsea when they visit Anfield on January 31st. These are all factors Klopp is likely to consider when looking at forward players.
When it comes to the backbone of the team, many fans have basically asked for one of everything. Twitter is rife with things like “we need a new right back!” No, we don’t. “We need new centre backs!” With Lucas set to remain on Merseyside for the time being, realistically, we don’t. “Why haven’t we signed a left back??” Have you watched James Milner play this season? “We need a new goalkeeper!” Okay, no stop right there.
Yes, personally I’d like to see Lucas given a chance to go out on loan and play football, allowing a centre back to come in and give us some extra depth so as not to potentially rush Joe Gomez back if Joel Matip can’t get himself back fit. However, it’s not a necessity and with the Reds keeping five clean sheets in their last 9 games you cannot really argue with Klopp’s defence currently. Okay, there’s been some shocking moments – let’s suppress any memories of Bournemouth – but every team has them occasionally. Mignolet has conceded just one goal since his return to the starting lineup, keeping three clean sheets, while Loris Karius is yet to have been in the Premier League for long enough to have had a chance to adapt. As mentioned before, Klopp is not one for stop-gap solutions and these positions are no different.
Admittedly, no one knows what’s going to happen this month. Klopp could be keeping his cards close to his chest and trying to get any deals done on the down low while there’s always the possibility that he may have his hand forced by – god forbid – an injury pile up during the month. All I know for sure is, we’ll just have to wait and see.