Jack Hallows discusses why Liverpool FC fans are in desperate need of some good news this week after last week’s disaster.
Being a Liverpool fan during the summer transfer window is honestly such a pain in the rear. It’s kind of like Christmas in a way but a really disappointing Christmas. One where it hammers down with rain outside, the turkey ends up over-cooked and charred and to top it all off, you get absolutely nothing you ask for.
Okay, so I’m over-exaggerating for the point of the article but seriously, the summer headache is becoming such a frequent occurrence for this club that it’s getting beyond a joke. Whether it really is simply down to our owners – Fenway Sports Group – being tight with the purse strings is up for debate but whatever it is, something’s got to give.
Think back to the first couple of weeks in May. The fact that the Reds had followed a frustrating and panic-inducing 0-0 draw against Southampton with a 4-0 thumping of West Ham on their own turf had put the fanbase on such a high. Honestly, the final day result at Middlesbrough was a formality once Wijnaldum had finally opened the scoring on the cusp of half time, we were just that confident. The sun was out, the new kit was gorgeous and vibrant, the crowd were singing and there were smiles all round.
To the joy of 75,000+ people at the Allianz Arena, we were then able to follow this successful end to the Premier League season with a 3-0 thumping of Sydney FC in a thoroughly enjoyable exhibition match. Things looked good for the club. Our fortunes were changing and the fact that Klopp spoke of already engaging in positive talks with transfer targets only served to emphasise this.
Cue the arrival of that dastardly summer headache.
In 2014, it was securing Champions League football and subsequently being linked with the likes of Alexis Sanchez only to see Rickie Lambert, Lazar Markovic and Mario Balotelli come through the door for a combined £43m. In 2009, it was losing Xabi Alonso and signing Alberto Aquilani.
Incredibly, this year the window hasn’t even had to open yet for the frustration, dread and anger to set back in. If I had to sum up the fanbase response so far in one tweet, this one would probably be the most apt:
Linked with mediocre players – typical FSG.
Linked with good players – FSG won’t pay wages.
Linked with incredible players – FSG PR spin. pic.twitter.com/YiYL83euE7
— Ben Webb (@BenWebbLFC) June 12, 2017
But honestly, who can blame us?
The entire Virgil van Dijk debacle has been nothing short of an embarrassment and as much as I hate to be drawn into the #FSGOUT argument, it’s been an awful week for our owners whichever way you look at it. The news that the Dutchman had chosen Liverpool over two of our biggest rivals and that the club were willing to invest a world record sum for a defender was such a huge step forward and such a point of critical optimism for the fans. It’s almost typical that it’s become such a nightmare.
As Neil Jones so bluntly put it in his latest ECHO piece, “Liverpool are yet to do anything like the kind of business they’d hoped to in the transfer market.”
‘But Jack, the window hasn’t even opened yet!’
I know it hasn’t and that is a very good point but in a way, it just makes things worse. The window hasn’t even officially opened and Jürgen Klopp’s priority big-money target is seemingly already gone, while another continues to slip away. The positive reception to links with Naby Keita, van Dijk and Salah has been replaced by accusations of poor negotiating tactics, stinginess, arrogance and delays.
While transfers are of course much more difficult than the average fan makes them out to be, the incompetence so far shown by our officials is genuinely staggering. In a month where our rivals have already begun to make moves in their own strengthening processes, we’ve fallen behind. Again. This summer is of vital importance to Liverpool to ensure that they remain competitive at the top for longer than a 12 month period.
Champions League football cannot be a one-in-five occurrence. This is a club that belongs among Europe’s elite, with a manager who deserves the same. We simply just cannot afford to waste this opportunity to take the next step.
If you cannot tell, I am in desperate need of a good week – or year – of Liverpool press and I can guarantee you that I am not the only one.