We think it’s unlikely that Liverpool make a superstar signing this summer, even if it’s what every fan wants. The numbers just don’t add up.
Liverpool face an interesting summer. They’re trying to rebuild after a miserable season but most of that rebuilding is by simply waiting for players to return from injury.
At the same time, there’s a need to deepen the squad depth in order to prevent a similar injury crisis. Then there’s the desire to just buy better players than you’ve already got.
Liverpool will want to win the title again next season, after all. And that means making as many improvements as possible.
In 2019, the Reds decided they could improve the most by doing absolutely nothing. They didn’t add to the first-team squad at all – apart from signing Adrian for free when Simon Mignolet left – and instead hoped that consistency would kick them on another level.
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It did and they won the Premier League with complete ease.
But what it also did was lose Liverpool a year of rotation. The squad literally aged by one year, with no replacements to prepare for the long-term.
The result is a squad that will have a lot of key players at 30 or over in 18 months time. Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip both turn 30 this summer. Jordan Henderson, Thiago and James Milner are already 30 or over. All three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino will be 30 by the end of next season.
Gini Wijnaldum would be on that list, too, but Liverpool are already feeling the effects of his departure. He leaves for nothing this month with no replacement as of yet.
Vital components of this squad will start to wind down over the next year or two. That’s not to say they’ll become terrible overnight but Liverpool need their next generation.
You can’t replace six or seven elite players over two or three years. It’s far too expensive to replace their quality and you wouldn’t have a cohesive squad – just a bunch of superstars meeting one another for the first time.
The best way to do it is gradual. You sign young players who can contribute right away but won’t peak for a few years. They’re cheaper to sign and can develop together when they should be ideal to take over from their current stars.
Liverpool have started that process. Diogo Jota is still only 24 and should be a star capable of replacing any of the front-three in a year or two. The likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez will be around for a long time, too.
We hope Curtis Jones joins that group next season, and there aren’t any worries about Andy Robertson, Alisson or Fabinho. That trio is in their prime.
But Liverpool do need more. Ibrahima Konate arrived this summer as, hopefully, the next star in defence. The midfield and attack will require young blood, however.
What Liverpool needs, not wants
And that’s why we can’t see Liverpool making the superstar signing everyone wants this summer. They don’t have the money and require two or three more signings.
They surely won’t blow that money all on one player. Not when the Reds need at least one more forward and another long-term option in midfield.
Every fan wants their club to make a massive summer signing and Liverpool are no different. The position they’re in, however, means they’ve got to shop in a different market.
It’s about finding players who can become superstars at Anfield, rather than bringing in guarantees. If they don’t do that now, they’re only making the job harder for themselves going forward.