Liverpool face Atletico Madrid on Wednesday in the biggest game of their season – one that will affect their transfer plans.
The Reds go into the game trailing 1-0, of course, after their defeat in Madrid last month. They’ll need to turn things around without the benefit of an away goal. That’s no simple task.
And whether they accomplish it or not will affect their transfer plans this summer. Win and things carry on as normal. Lose and it’ll be time for change.
The former is obvious, of course. Liverpool have a fantastically successful side and victory continues them on that path. Defeat, however, practically ends the season in March.
Liverpool need two more wins to clinch the title – wins everyone fully expects them to get. Thus, there really won’t be much to compete for without the Champions League.
It would create a strange end to the season where Liverpool don’t play a game with a result that matters for two months. Add the summer break to that and the Reds would start the season with absolutely no momentum.
Because how can you have momentum without a truly competitive game for four months? That’s such a massive gap that Liverpool would need to address it.
It would be the opposite of last summer. Liverpool clinched the Champions League trophy on June 1st and made a conscious decision to have the same side by mid-August.
That was a side with all the momentum in the world. They ended last season with an intense and very successful period that climaxed with being European champions. The entire team was able to carry that energy over into the season, starting superbly and never letting up.
Essentially, last season just flowed into this one.
Should Liverpool lose on Wednesday, there will be none of that. Instead, they’ll have a side that needs to start again in August, without momentum at all.
And if that’s the case, then they’ll need to bring in the hunger, pressure and drive from elsewhere. That’s why Liverpool v Atletico defines the transfer policy.
Win and they can continue to try and retain the trophy, extending their season and maintaining the same momentum of the last two seasons. Any signings aren’t necessary, just desired.
Lose and Liverpool can’t rely on that – they’ll need to jump-start the team in another way, with first-team signings.