This week, Jurgen Klopp was keen to back up his claims from earlier in the summer that Liverpool will not be doing much transfer business during the current window.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com, Klopp restated the club’s focus on working with what is already available to them in terms of playing staff.
“How I said, it will not be the biggest transfer window of LFC; we invested a lot in the team in the last two years, I would say. We cannot spend every year in the same manner,” said Klopp.
“But we are fine. I’m happy with the team, we are really happy. We have to see if we find maybe one position, if we find something for it, but there’s no real pressure because it’s not about signing a player. We have solutions for all the situations.”
Many fans will be up in arms about these latest quotes from Klopp. But is he correct in his assessment of the current Liverpool squad or have his hands been tied due to the fees paid out by FSG over the last 18 months?
My thoughts on the matter lean more towards the former explanation. Klopp values the unit he has available to him at Melwood now – enough to place his trust in them for at least one more season.
Let’s see why.
The Reds currently lay claim to arguably the best goalkeeper in the world in Alisson Becker. The Brazilian international has just completed a fantastic debut season at Anfield where he won the Premier League’s Golden Glove award for keeping 21 clean sheets. Alisson also won the Champions League and Copa America Golden Glove titles while winning both of those competitions for club and country respectively.
As a backup, Klopp has the Belgian international Simon Mignolet and young Irishman Caoimhin Kelleher.
Mignolet is a model professional, never throwing his toys out of the pram when things don’t go his way and consistently backs the team to the hilt in the public eye.
Kelleher is highly regarded by Klopp and may well become the back-up to Alisson if Mignolet leaves the club in the next year or two.
Virgil van Dijk is the standout performer in the backline and, thankfully, he seems to bring the best out of those around him, too.
Joe Gomez was excellent at centre-half up until his leg-break at Burnley in early December. Joel Matip then came in and played the best football of his Liverpool career to-date as The Reds marched to their sixth European Cup triumph.
As well as Gomez and Matip, Dejan Lovren is still on the books despite rumoured interest from AC Milan. If Lovren did leave then Klopp could be forced to recruit a new centre-back for the squad but it’s very possible the Croatian international will be at Liverpool for another 12 months at least.
With Alberto Moreno departed, The Reds lack any real cover for Andy Robertson on the left side of the back four. However, Gomez can fill in on either flank while James Milner has also done a job at left-back in the past.
It’s unclear if Nathaniel Clyne will be sold this summer but Klopp could do worse than convincing him to stay for the season. Clyne is a competent replacement for Alexander-Arnold at right-back when the need arises.
A versatile full-back could be the one position Klopp alluded to as a possible area of recruitment for The Reds.
Liverpool’s squad is almost over-stocked in the midfield department. Klopp has eight current members of the first-team squad who are all vying for the three available midfield starting places.
Fabinho looks to have made the defensive midfield role his own, and rightly so after a fantastic second half of the season.
The Brazilian’s improvement has allowed Jordan Henderson to play in a more advanced midfield position when possible.
Klopp favours a 1-2 midfield shape with Fabinho at the base. Along with Henderson, the others looking to feature in the two positions in front of Fabinho are Gini Wijnaldum, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita, Adam Lallana and Xherdan Shaqiri.
With a possible first-choice trio of Fabinho, Keita and Wijnaldum – I don’t see where Liverpool could realistically improve on that for now. Henderson, Milner and Oxlade-Chamberlain are also top-level replacements when needed so squad depth in the midfield is certainly not an issue.
Liverpool’s front three has been set in stone for the past two seasons. Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané make up Klopp’s preferred forward line.
Replacing any of those three is never going to be easy, nor is it simple to find a player who will join the club aware of the fact that they will rarely get a chance in the starting lineup.
In this case, Divock Origi and Rhian Brewster are the ideal go-to men for Klopp next season.
Origi has signed his contract extension – declaring his commitment to the club. The Belgian striker popped up with many important goals for The Reds last season – home to Everton, at Newcastle, against Barcelona and Spurs in the Champions League. He is the definition of efficiency, making his minutes on the pitch count in the best possible way – exactly what is needed in a backup forward.
Much has been said about Brewster already this summer and none of it goes too far in my view. The young striker has displayed a keen eye for goal and, with his body developing greatly over the last 12 months, he now seems to have the physique to go with his technical abilities in front of goal.
I, for one, am hugely excited to see what Brewster can offer over the coming season while Origi looks to have also hit the ground running in pre-season.
Both players could certainly play a part in Liverpool’s early-season endeavours with Salah, Firmino and Mané returning to the camp later than others (Mané doesn’t finish international duty until Friday night’s AFCON final).
Don’t be surprised if not one more player arrives before the August 8th deadline. We’ve known since the Van Dijk saga in late 2017 that this Liverpool does not do panic-buys, and that was when the defence was in a crisis state. The club is in a far better position now so there is no ‘panic’ which could lead to a panic-buy.
Maybe it’s time to accept that Klopp, Michael Edwards and the rest of the transfer committee won’t be welcoming any marque signings this summer. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as there’s no-one to replace.