Alex Rogers questions whether or not Liverpool have enough strength in depth to compete with Manchester City for the Premier League title this season.
Squad depth is critically important. Nearly every successful team has it and is constantly trying to increase the calibre of its depth.
Just look at the likes of Manchester City. Their backup team is filled with players that could walk into most Premier League teams and they won’t even start regularly for Man City. The same goes for Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus. If one player is to be out for a game, another incredibly gifted player is their to fill in the gap.
But, can the same be said about Liverpool?
Well, our depth has certainly improved since last year where we had to substitute a recently fit Lallana for the most inform player in the world at the time in a Champions League final.
With players like Fabinho, Shaqiri and Keita joining us in the summer, the calibre of our depth is undeniably better than it was. But is it good enough for a team with title-winning ambitions?
Let’s look at our defence, firstly. As much as our defence this season has been rock solid and the envy of every other team in the league so far, do we have enough quality depth to still compete?
Let’s say, for instance, God forbid, that van Dijk picks up a season-ending injury. What then? As it stands we would have to revert to a centre back partnership of Matip and Gomez with no senior centre back cover as Lovren is yet to return to action.
Not something I want to think about too much. The calibre of our depth in defence isn’t fantastic as it stands but with Nat Phillips seemingly in Klopp’s plans for the future, I wouldn’t worry too much.
In midfield, we are now blessed with a plethora of talented midfielders. In our system, we tend to generally play with a three-man midfield. So, ideally, at a minimum, we would want at least six midfielders ready to play at all times. So if we count who we have, we have Hendo, Gini, Naby, Fabinho, Milner, Lallana and Oxlade-Chamberlain and Shaqiri who can play centrally. That’s 8 midfielders.
However, we can essentially rule out Ox for the whole season through to his injury and that leaves us with seven. Again though, is the quality of our depth amazing here? Well, would you be happy if Naby Keïta were to be replaced by Lallana? I wouldn’t be entirely so.
Then we come to our ferocious attack. Undoubtedly one of the best in the world when the magic front three is playing. In attack, we have Bobby, Mo, Sadio, Origi, Sturridge, Shaqiri and Solanke.
That’s 7 players to cover three positions. But once again, I find myself saying, is the quality good enough? Would we be happy with a front three of Solanke, Origi and Shaqiri? That’s obviously a worst case scenario but preparing for the worst is what is needed.
It’s up for debate if our depth is good enough, to be frank. It’s up to you to form your own opinions on if we are prepared for injuries or not. I’ve not outwardly stated my opinion yet on the topic but you can probably tell what I think.
Ideally, a couple of high-quality players in attack and defence is all we need to have a near perfect squad. Every team can always improve and as much as we have improved over the last few years, the room we still have to grow is exciting.