Jurgen Klopp made a transfer promise in the last few weeks and he stuck to it as Liverpool drew with Burnley. The Reds’ boss is being brave.
“But this squad – just look at it. It is not a squad you have to change now and say: ‘OK, we need this position and this position.’ What we want is to create our transfers internally.”
That’s what Klopp told the Guardian at the end of June, committing to youth players graduating rather signing new talent. His team selection on Saturday showed his belief in that strategy.
The standout choice is that Neco Williams started his second consecutive game. And that’s despite struggling against Brighton and coming off at half time.
We wrote recently about that being a learning experience for the teenager and that he still deserves faith. It’s safe to say he’s got that faith as Klopp was happy to throw him in again.
This time, Williams filled in at right-back, having played on the left at the Amex. It’s becoming clear that he’s the rotation option at full-back right now – and that Klopp is comfortable with that.
Instead of using make-shift full-backs, like James Milner or Fabinho, Klopp wants to use Williams. We can confidently say that Liverpool won’t be looking at backup full-backs this summer, then.
The middle of midfield
Klopp also showed his confidence in Curtis Jones against Burnley. This was Jones’ first start in the Premier League and a tough ask as he took up the role of the impressive Naby Keita.
And again, Klopp stuck firm to his ‘internal transfers’ belief. He didn’t change the system, he didn’t pull a more senior player into a different role – he trusted a teenager to keep the established side going.
Keita needed a rest and Klopp trusted the teenager. And if Jones is starting and impressing in Premier League games now, you can believe he’ll be in the first-team squad next season.
It would be one thing if Jones and Williams were getting five or six minutes at the end. Instead, Klopp is confident that Liverpool can keep up their incredible standards with two teenagers in the team.
So while we may not get blockbuster transfers this year, there’s still some fantastic talent coming into the team. Klopp is making sure of that but we’ll have to be a little more patient than usual with these new additions.