Analysing Liverpool's Summer Window
It was a pretty busy window for Liverpool this summer, albeit less busy then some would have liked given Paul Joyce’s remarks on the eve of deadline day. Reports of Jurgen Klopp splurging £175million proved to be widely off the mark in the end, with The Reds getting one deal over the line in the final 24 hours, adding Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to their ranks.
He accompanied four other new additions to the squad – Mohamed Salah, Dominic Solanke, Andy Robertson and Red Bull Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita, who will link up with Klopp’s team in 2018 having joined for an approximate fee of £51million.
Heading in the other direction were Lucas Leiva, Andre Wisdom, Kevin Stewart and Mamadou Sakho, all of whom resulted in a total influx of £37million, resulting in a positive net spend of £43million.
So, how does Liverpool’s transfer window rank out of 10?
Well, the club did some excellent business this summer. Mohamed Salah has already added a new dimension to the attack, showing blistering pace down the right-hand side and establishing a frightening partnership with Firmino and Mane. The Egyptian has given more balance to Klopp’s team, relieving pressure on Mane’s shoulders after last year when the Senegalese international’s absence saw Liverpool suffer a real check in momentum.
Dominic Solanke has also shown plenty of promise in the early stages of his career on Merseyside, chipping in with a few goals during pre-season. He’s got the physical attributes to hold the ball up and compete well against robust defences, while maintaining good pace on the ground. Clearly the Englishman has caught Klopp’s eye, with Divock Origi sent out on loan to Wolfsburg for the 2018 season.
Meanwhile, Andy Robertson comes to Anfield with massive potential. We’ve already seen how he loves to maraud down the flank, hogging the touchline and getting up in support of the attack. Robertson’s debut performance against Crystal Palace was indicative of his attacking nous, delivering a string of dangerous balls to the six-yard-box that narrowly missed the touch of Mohamed Salah and co.
The 23-year-old, like Salah, provides an increase in balance and threat to Liverpool’s left-hand-side as a natural full-back, unlike his predecessor James Milner. With a lot of developing still to do in a positional sense, he could well perform a bit-part role during his first-season at the club but the Scotsman has a lot of potential to grow into a strong left-back in the future.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is the signing that seems to divide the fan-base the most. Joining from Arsenal with a shocking injury record, the Englishman has his fair share of doubters yet epitomises a Jurgen Klopp type player in several ways.
The 24-year-old’s rigorous work-ethic and diligence both on and off the ball see him tick all the boxes for Klopp – in fact, he embodies the very type of player that the German’s system depends on. In a creative sense, he’s useful at unlocking packed defences with incisive passes between the line of defence and midfield – a more than welcome trait for a team that struggles against teams who park the bus.
Yet to reach his full potential, Liverpool will be hoping the versatile England international can give his best years to the club. Those torturous comments about Arsenal have put him in good stead with the fan base already!
Last but certainly not least, Naby Keita marked the real high point of Liverpool’s summer. Yes, we have to wait a year to see him at Anfield, but the Guinean international has long been regarded as Klopp’s primary midfield target. To secure his services for such a low fee in today’s market is a real coup for the club.
However, Liverpool’s failure to sure up what has been a problematic position for years saw them miss a real opportunity to take the squad up a notch. Everyone can see quite clearly that Liverpool are crying out for some authority at the back – a trait that Van Dijk would’ve brought to the table. Not bringing him in, or identifying quality alternatives (of which there were many) was beyond negligent in the midst of a rigorous campaign.
Heading into the transfer window, Liverpool needed to strengthen in four areas – we improved in three. However, centre-back was the biggest and most important requirement for Jurgen Klopp’s side and failure to bring one in could cost us dear this season.
We want to be challenging for silverware; to be fighting at the very top end of the Premier League and to enjoy some success in the Champions League, but in order to do so you need strong foundations. That’s something Liverpool don’t have right now in the defensive pairing of Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip.