Steven Smith: ‘Liverpool’s January Window Should Stay Shut’

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Why Liverpool Should Not Buy Anyone in January

The Case for Inaction

Potentially the most unpopular take in all the Liverpool supporting realm, is to suggest that the reds should navigate this transfer window, with no incoming activity. I spent much of September to December deliberating over who should be targeted and how the middle ground could be improved after Christmas. I was keen to see an elite defensive midfielder recruited, who could complete the regeneration puzzle and be the long-term answer to shielding the defence. I also desire a replacement for the injured Joël Matip, who may have played his last game for the club, yet that too should be addressed in the warmer months.

I just do not see the logic in trying to solve those issues now, especially with so much at stake.

Photo: IMAGO

What Has Changed in The Last Two Months…?

Though the answer is broad and multilayered, ultimately, the rise to prominence of two Liverpool players has altered my thinking. Jarell Quansah has been a sensation since he made his Liverpool debut earlier in the campaign, with footballing promise that now goes way beyond hope. The 20-year-old looks the physical part, plays the on-pitch part, whilst having the greatest ever Premier League defender, Virgil van Dijk to guide him. The other player that has emerged since (more since early winter), is someone that took a while to get to grips with an elite team and differing style of play. This is someone who would have spent much of his career defending deep within his own half, instead of playing for a team that commonly occupies the opposition half.

The gegenpressing would have been in very different areas (for his predecessor) and for very differing reasons, to that which is required in Liverpool’s fabled red. Wataru Endō has gradually grown into what is required of the destroyer and spent the final month of last year (before jetting off to the Asia Cup), being exactly what the manger craved most. The strategic answers were found, which is why it would be difficult to see how new players could improve the team in the short term, without disrupting that which has been achieved with hard work and tactical development. The current Anfield group has grown through the various stages and challenges of the season thus far, with a new and vibrant leadership group beginning to believe in themselves and their new standing at the club.

The former skipper, Jordan Henderson, is no longer standing around and pointing fingers, or presiding over free kicks that he is never going to take. The squad has faced adversity on countless occasions, yet sits on top of the Premier League. With just a few weeks before a plethora of assets return from either injury or tour, I am confident that by trusting the current personnel, Liverpool FC can emerge as champions across multiple competitions.

Squad Assessment: February and Beyond

Without issuing specific dates, the thought process indicates that by mid-February, the only player missing could well be the Cameroonian defender, Joel Matip. Given that scenario, I have listed the squad that should be allowed to tackle the second half of the season, without any new faces to upset the current dynamic.

Goalkeepers

Alisson Becker

Caoimhin Kelleher

Right Backs

Trent Alexander Arnold

Conor Bradley

Left Backs

Andy Robertson

Kostas Tsimikas

Owen Beck

Centre Backs

Virgil van Dijk

Ibrahima Konaté

Joe Gomez

Jarell Quansah

Defensive Midfield

Wataru Endō

Alexis Mac Allister

Stefan Bajčetić

Right Centre Midfield

Dominik Szoboszlai

Ryan Gravenberch

Left Centre Midfield

Curtis Jones

Thiago Alcântara

Right Forward

Mohamed Salah

Harvey Elliott

Left Forward 

Luis Díaz

Cody Gakpo

Centre Forward 

Darwin Núñez

Diogo Jota

Trusting the Current Squad

The above is a brilliant 24-man group that can be adjusted accordingly in the summer transfer window. The likes of Joe Gomez, Alexis Mac Allister, Cody Gakpo, and Harvey Elliott, are just a few of the examples of assets that can undertake multiple roles. We know that versatility is a key component of Jürgen Klopp’s wants, therefore, unless something extraordinary presents itself in the next fortnight, I hope the current squad of players is allowed to undertake the remainder of this season.

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