Liverpool lost 3-0 to Barcelona on Wednesday in a game that highlighted the type of signing the Reds need.
The game was a lot more even than the scoreline suggests, instead coming down to one team taking their chances.
The first half, for instance, saw a similar chance for both sides. First, Jordi Alba played the ball into the box to be met by a perfectly timed Luis Suarez run. Suarez lifted it over Alisson and it was 1-0 Barcelona.
Not long later, Jordan Henderson played a similar ball behind the Barcelona backline. Sadio Mane got on the end of it but could only put it over the bar.
Then came the rest of the game, with Liverpool trying to force a goal but lacking the fluency and mentality to make it happen. In that, they highlighted the kind of player Liverpool lack.
The player Liverpool are lacking
When you look back through Liverpool’s best teams of the 21st century, they all had a player who could be relied on for big moments in big games. Be it Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, or Luis Suarez, the magic would come from somewhere.
For all the strengths of the current team, they do lack that player. Liverpool only ever beat the big teams thanks to a team performance, overwhelming them through pressing, shape, and pace. There’s the win over Manchester City in last year’s Champions League, for instance, or the win in Munich this time around.
But when the game is tight and they require an individual to step up, Liverpool usually struggle. Think the Champions League final against Real Madrid or both meetings with City in the Premier League this year. Even away at Chelsea.
As good as the players are, they are role players who specifically fit a system. They then lack the necessary individuality when teams neutralise that system.
Liverpool losing to Barcelona showed how vital that kind of player can be and it needs to be their priority when signing players this summer.