Are Klopp’s January Decisions Costing the Reds Millions in July?

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If you want to make a Liverpool supporter sick to their stomach, ask them to think back to January.  It was not a fun month.  What was looking like a juggernaut of a team lost Mané to AFCON, Coutinho and Matip to injury and suddenly we were struggling against lower league competition.

Klopp did what he could to right the ship and eventually found a formula that wasn’t as entertaining, but brought results and a finish in the Champions League places. However, the manager’s decisions in those winter weeks may be costing the club untold millions right now in the transfer window.

Going into the summer any casual supporter could see that Liverpool needed one wide player to at least avoid catastrophe in the matches where Mané is absent and another centre-back to add to a thin and inconsistent group.  And, even the biggest James Milner fan knows that Liverpool need an additional left-back to at least caddy for the 32 year old over a 55+ game season.

After those three glaring needs though, the areas where the club needs to buy in the transfer market are the subject of much debate.  Why is it unclear?  In that congested January schedule where most top-six teams were testing their young prospects in the League Cup, the FA Cup and in the League, Liverpool barely gave their elite youngsters any run, especially Ovie Ejaria, Harry Wilson and Sheyi Ojo.

Total Minutes Starts (Subs)
Alexander-Arnold 432 7(5)
Woodburn 360 4(5)
Ejaria 429 5(2)
Wilson 25 0(1)
Ojo 104 1(1)

Alexander-Arnold was given a decent amount of appearances compared to other Premier League debutants whose teams were in similar situations like Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma (6 starts, 8 subs).  As a result of seeing him perform on the pitch we’re not shopping for cover at right-back.

Klopp’s decision not to bring on Ojo and Wilson though, even in matches against lower league competition as starters or even as subs late in matches already decided was confusing from a strategic standpoint at the time, but it looks even worse now that we’re making important calls on who to buy, who to sell and who to loan.  Despite an obvious lack of speed in the team in Mané’s absence, Ojo was left out.  Despite a clear lack of goals in the team over that period, Harry Wilson was left out even as he was tearing up the Under 23’s.

So now when we’re prioritising our transfer targets, how highly do you prioritise additional depth on the wings?  How much do you spend?  Are any of the trio of Woodburn, Wilson and Ojo ready to supplement Mané and Salah?  Liverpool’s coaching staff sees these players every day in training, so you’d hope that they have an idea, but did they miss a real opportunity to test them against real opposition?  Can they handle coming out of the tunnel in some European capital with everything on the line?  Can he handle key minutes against a stubborn opponent Anfield, in front of a nervous home crowd?

We would like to think that all four would perform well if given the chance.  It’s a shame they weren’t given time when the risk was so low.  Playing the veteran you know who is at 70% of their normal capacity versus a top rated academy product shouldn’t be a drop-off if it is at all.

Similarly in midfield where we often turned to an injured Emre Can or an aging Lucas, would Ejaria’s size and physicality not have been a plus for some of those matches?  While we chase Keita and Oxlade Chamberlain for already stacked midfield positions, Ejaria must be wondering what might have been and what will be.

If, as it has been reported, Ojo is sent out on loan and we buy a player like Oxlade Chamberlain to fill his spot as our reserve winger, what does that do to the rest of the budget?  And does that block that position for the foreseeable future for Ojo, Wilson, and Woodburn?

Imagine if an extra ten or twenty million GBP were the difference between signing one of our top targets or not and we’re unwilling to spend it because we have it budgeted for positions that Ojo, Wilson or Ejaria could potentially cover. For a club that many complain doesn’t spend enough, we seem in no hurry to push these low-cost youngsters forward.

From the glass-half-full perspective, let’ assume that the Van Dijk and Keita sagas end positively… Is a versatile pro like Oxlade Chamberlain or Keita Balde the next target?  That would push estimated transfer spending from the “wow” category to the, “pick me up off the floor” range.  Perhaps Klopp has already made an assessment of Ojo, Wilson and Ejaria and just wants to get a positive loan deal to pump their value going into next summer.

Calculating the career trajectory for our Academy stars would simply be guesswork at this point and that’s a shame given the chance Liverpool had in the middle of the season to test them against real competition.  Hopefully Klopp knows best.

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  1. Reading from your article it’s plain that Mr. Klopp has no Man Management skills at all, and I am sorry to say again he has started to over loading the fronts with no input nor bolting the Defence. I said this last season all my crying felt into deaf ears and what happen we suffered. Until this Man built our defence we won’t win anything.

  2. Hopefully Klopp knows best ? … I can assure you he knows more than you do, or I do. He is following all of them on every training session. Regarding Ojo, I have to say I also expected more involvment in the first team last season, but it looks like that back injury did much more damage than we expected. Let’s hope for the best for the future.

  3. I hope He does know best, but his apparent desire to bolster midfield, wings and forwards ahead of defence worries me. We play great football going forward when we move the ball fast, but we cower at corners and the fear is palpable. Our defence appears to not know how to play zonal marking. Either Klopp is not explaining it and practising, which I do NOT believe, or our defenders and midfielders are too dumb or lazy to realise you do not switch off just because the ball goes past your position. Come on Jurgen get a quality left back and if VVD does not put in transfer demand soon go get a quality centre half else where.

  4. I am very happy that most of your readers agreed with me about Mr Klopp ste up and over loading our fronts with no regards to our defence. If you watch the German Team in this just completed Confederation Cup Final German Team won the Cup with their Solid performances from their Defenders, Chile would have Beat them otherwise. So my message to Mr Klopp is simply Please Build our solid Defenders and be assure we will Win Trophy/ies.

  5. All title winning team are built on a solid defense, & a 25 to 30 goals a season striker, & we have neither. How can a club the size of Liverpool end up with playing Milner at left back all season, & Lucas at center half in some games. Quite frankly we must be one of the worst run clubs in the Premiership. The list of bad decisions & errors of judgement are endless. The last minute panic buying of Balotelii as a replacement to Suarez & an alternative to Sanchez. Keeping Moreno, ultimately costing us the Europa League final, & thus a Champions League place. Now we have the tapping up scandal with Fulham, & also VDD. I heard this morning that there is another issue with a Stoke schoolboy. club have found themselves at the centre of another dispute, this time with Stoke City over the future of a 13-year-old schoolboy.

    The Daily Telegraph revealed in March that the Reds were facing sanctions after offering a ‘forbidden inducement’ to the family of a then-12-year-old boy in order to tempt him in to signing for the club’s academy.

    What the hell is going on?

  6. Everyone can see our midfield can create but we can’t convert most of it into goals, neither can we defend properly, so what do we do? Yes of course we add more midfielders and ignore buying a 25 to 30 goals a season striker and a proper defender. That explains the cock up with VVD while our rivals at MU got very, very productive, so does our cross town blue rivals. You see at least Evertonians understands the concept of chasing for lost time while we get more familiarize with the concept of cock ups. At this rate forget about being one of the best in England, we should be lucky if we are the best on Merseyside. All these over the haggling of a few million.

  7. Yes !! if I may say this our Manager is not what I will say Technical Mangers Bracket. He must have known from his experiences that Team can only win a football matches on a solid no nonsense Back. He still refuse to answer the most question from the supporters about SAKHO’S situation. It seems to me that all our good players are either be sent on a dubious Loan nor sold off. Why Why Why Mr Klopp?

  8. K firstly klopp knows what he is doing. May be a bit stubborn about tactical flexibility but the rest he knows well. Understand geggenpressing u dummies! Most of the hard work and engine is put in by the midfiled and forwards. The CBs needs to be great aerially and some times need to play the long diagonal balls to the wingers which creates space for false nines. But that is that. We do need a a LB definitely IMO but if he is improving options in the middle or front before defence is because he does not want to risk us being short on options due to injuries mid season. The only way geggenpressing works is if u have the right 10 outfield players. else its not geggenpressing. The System needs to be consistent and for that more options in the middle of the park and up front is only for its good cause it forms the 80% of the system.

  9. Look Mr ! I am not saying Mr Klopp is not a good Manager, undoubtly he is what I am saying is that of his Technical Vision which other Managers has used to win games on many occasions. I am 64years old and LFC has always be my only Club.

  10. I like klopp, but mostly i am asking is just simple, put the young lads against mid lower club, when we had home game.. We loose a point but we don’t loose key players. With that we can hv other positive point in future fr nurturing the young lads.

    Left back, CB, will be the most priority. Unless sakho submitted an apology to klopp, he will be sidelined forever.

    Hope the best for LFC, YNWA.

  11. Easy to look back and say change this one thing and we win the league or finish 8. Any team can say that, but you are what you finish as. If United were better than us, they’d finished higher. Everton have made average signings. Pickford won’t have 8 players in the box with him this yr.

  12. In reply to your writer about Sakho, I would like to remind him that Sakho on several occasions publicly for what ever he may have done or not done. He wrongly accused for taken some bogus substance which wasn’t, all I can say is that there is something hiding under the carpet that Mr Klopp keeping Mum on. LFC need strong & solid DEFENDERS Period !!!

  13. No sakho at liverpool sorry. Unethical and looked far more happy on loan at palace playing rock paper scissors with benteke. I dont think we will get a better manager than klopp ever. He is a perfect fit at lfc. The only reason why he is persisting with his system & with his favored players is because once the system is on top gear there is no stopping us. We will steamroll everyone including the big spending mancs. Look at what he did with BVB in 2-3 years. He knows he just requires time(which u impatient ppl wont give) and then of course right targets!

  14. Do listen to your self STEAMROLLING OTHER BIG SPENDERS. HUN!!!!! are you real. I have supported LFC all my life and I mean when LFC players played for the Club and no Fancy stuff. We haven’t got the real deal both from the manager to the Players. I know things has changed a lot but when you some one who doesn’t give a damn apart from his own ideology what else can one do. LFC needs Solid and die hard DEFENDERS with top payments/Bonuses and I can assure all LFC supporters that the Championship and the rest of the Cups is our takings.

  15. I am realistic… so is klopp and other section fans who are not stuck up with the history of LFC. FSG brought in the moneyball concept to stabilize the club financially. Which we are now and will continue with this concept till they are the owners. It is not a bad thing and in my opinion the best thing that could have happened to liverpool at the time of bankruptcy. We will buy players and spend big only on them cause klopp will see a future for them in lfc and not splash around money for the sake of it. Remember balotelli?! It wont happen under klopp. Just compare success rate of klopps signings to rodgers. Nowhere close. I believe in this man @ LFC and the future under him. Patience!


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