Liverpool received a very difficult Champions League draw on Thursday. It’s one that should have them reconsidering their squad.
Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, FC Porto and AC Milan. That’s a difficult Champions League draw, no matter what way you look at it.
Still, we’d back Liverpool to get through. They’re certainly levels above both Porto and Milan, while Atletico may be on par.
But ‘getting through’ isn’t all to consider here. This is just about the worst possible draw Liverpool could have gotten, all things considered.
We had a go at predicting a worst-case beforehand and essentially landed on this. We had RB Leipzig in for Porto but there’s an argument that last year’s Champions League quarter-finalists are just as tough.
Liverpool will face three troubling sides, then. It’s enough that they should take one last look at their squad before the transfer window shuts.
Liverpool get tough Champions League draw
As we say, Liverpool can comfortably get out of this group. The problem, though, is that we’re comparing first teams.
Usually, there are one or two teams in the group where you can afford to rotate. Liverpool put out very weak sides against FC Midtjylland last year, for instance, and still qualified in first.
But both Porto and Milan would beat such a team. Liverpool will need to put out strong sides in order to guarantee points, as will Atletico.
That means one of two things – you prioritise the Champions League and rest in the Premier League or you put a lot of pressure on your first XI by playing them in both.
Liverpool almost certainly want to compete in the Premier League, however. They won’t rest players in it.
So there’s only one alternative: squad depth. You’ve got to have squad players good enough to compete against top sides and win games. We’re not sure Liverpool have that.
The likes of Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino aren’t going to worry Porto and Milan very much. The Reds just don’t boast the depth of certain other elite sides.
They’re running out of time to correct that, too, but there are a few days left in the transfer window. And this group should have Liverpool seeing what’s out there.
Otherwise, they’re going to run into trouble over these six games.