AT the time of writing it’s January 26, five days before the end of the transfer window and the Reds’ solitary move that we’re aware of was to go for Julian Draxler, only to back off when it became apparent that the key factor in any move for him was going to be money. Many thought we should have responded to this by just paying more money. Just like we should have done to get Alexis Sanchez, apparently.
But Jürgen Klopp is on record that he isn’t interested in the players that are after the most money. Given his experience at Borussia Dortmund, where he saw the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Shinji Kagawa, Mario Gotze and Nuri Sahin make big money moves this is probably understandable. If you sign a player by throwing money at them, someone can take them off you by doing the same.
But what about the alternatives to Draxler, the back-up plan? The lack of activity, given that it has coincided with a spectacular drop in form, is causing a degree of unrest. The logic being that our leggy-looking squad, short of one of our best and certainly most unique attacking players, needs reinforcements. After all, we’ve got a shot at the league.
The counter to this is that we don’t want to buy short-term solutions. Someone who wouldn’t otherwise be a part of the long-term plan. That’s easily fixed though, isn’t it? Just bring forward this summer’s targets and lash some extra money at them.
It all sounds great and so simple in theory. But, let’s be honest, if it was as easy as that we’d just do it. So, why haven’t we?
There are obviously loads of reasons, but first the targets we want are good players. They need to be, Liverpool are a good football team and any additions need to be of the requisite standard, and Klopp has raised the bar. So the group of players we can target, those that could improve us, is small.
Because they are good players they are usually at good clubs. These clubs don’t want to sell their best players in January.
Add to this that we aren’t in Europe, and we don’t yet know that we will be next season either.
There’s another angle to short-term buys, though. When this is talked about normally, it’s with the idea that you don’t want to buy a player that features from January to May, then isn’t really in your plans. You have to move them on, or they hang around the squad and run down their expensive contract in the style of Jose Enrique and leave on a free.
The bigger issue, particularly in a Klopp side, though, is short-term impact. If you’re buying a player in January to make an impact then they need to be able to do just that; make an immediate impact.
We all remember in Klopp’s first season the amount of times he voiced surprise at the number of fixtures, and the fact that it limited the time he could spend on the training pitch. The good version of Klopp’s Liverpool, the one we all want to see, and the one people want us to buy players for, does not come easy. It comes from hours on the training pitch as players become accustomed to the complex tactical demands that our system places on them.
This is a non-negotiable. We, more than anyone else in the league, play a system. A system that only works properly when every component of it is doing its job. Look at what happens to that system when Roberto Firmino doesn’t play through the middle, or when Adam Lallana is moved out of the midfield three.
If we add a player who doesn’t gel straight away we negate not only their effectiveness, but that of the system too. We become less than the sum of our parts.
You could mitigate this by signing from a team with a similar tactical approach, but if we’re honest Spurs and Dortmund aren’t selling us anyone in January.
In addition to that, there’s the fitness that’s needed. The difference in the players following a full pre-season was night and day, and it was clear that when Klopp arrived in October 2015 the players weren’t fit enough for his preferred system, this was evidenced by the spate of injuries that followed. Fitness is such a big part of our system.
So, in order for a player to be a good January signing for us they need to be good enough to improve us, within our budget, not primarily motivated by money, be at a club who are willing to sell, be able to immediately fit into and understand Klopp’s tactical plan and be fit enough already to keep up with the physical demands of our system.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that’s not a very long list.
You can be sure that if something could have easily been done, and that it would have a good chance of working, then we’d have done it. Klopp’s not the type of guy to not get what he wants, and his record in the transfer market is solid which should afford his judgement a degree of trust.
This is, of course, is less of an issue in the summer. Clubs are more likely to sell and, assuming the deal gets done early — another feature under Klopp — you get a pre-season to get them fit and teach them the system. We’ve also got a good chance of Champions League football, which presumably is a draw for the players motivated by the sporting challenge, rather than the money.
So we’re going to need to work with what we have and go on a bit of a run. Mane will be back soon, and I wouldn’t bet against us doing just that. Everyone else’s European fixtures will start up again, and our hardest games are out of the way. Everything, apart from momentum, is on our side. We just need to get a couple of results and it will all start to look OK again.
Up the hard to buy for Reds.
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Wouldn’t bet against not making the top four either.
Klopp isn’t a serious coach.he knows his bench,compared to the big 5,is poor & substandard.coupled with injuries, plus saido mane absence he knew he needed more firepower.he was given £ 60m.wasn’t this enough for 2 or 3 good players?carragher,gerrard & others urged him to buy but ignored them.now he’s paying the price 4 arrogance.this is epl not bundesliga,take advice.
We went into the season with the intent of playing 4-3-3.
Only 2 of our forwards really suits the wide position with only one of them having proper pace.
Coutinho has always missed several weeks/months of a season due to injury and it was known when Mane was bought that he’d be away for at least a month. That’s not taking into consideration any injuries he may have.
We only play with one central attacker where most of our forwards bar the 2 mentioned want to play. They aren’t effective played wide.
The manager himself said several times we needed wide attackers.
Coutinho was injured well before the new year and it could be seen on the pitch then that the other options weren’t effective playing wide and as a result the team struggled.
That’s ALOT of indicators to say that we needed to bring in another wide attacker!
We either go out and pay that premium both in transfer fee and wages for our first/second choice target OR we bring in another lesser option who comes in to play when either Coutinho/Mane needed replaced/rested/rotated.
If we had brought in a player on 1st Jan he could have been involved in 7 games now.
Even if we weren’t prepared to shell out the big money, there must be a pacy wide attacker out there who we could have been available and is better than Firmino/Sturridge/Origi/Lallana at playing the wide attacker.
Someone to fill the hole when one of them was missing that allowed us to continue playing the shape and formation that had been so successful.
Meaning we didn’t have to play Firmino or Lallana wide and as a result out of form. They may not have even scored a single goal or they may have scored 4/5 over that 7 game spell, the point is it would have allowed us to continue to play the shape that was working for us without upsetting 2 of our best most effective players.
It’s not the end of Jan yet and we are out of the title challenge and the league cup with our FA Cup and CL ambitions hanging in the balance.
I will always support LFC but it is has been obvious for sometime that we lack midfield and defensive quality and the squad has no depth. At Anfield In recent weeks we have seen good premier league recent signings by lesser clubs in the full back, midfield and centre back positions whilst we have being trying to prise non available young players mainly from Germany.
In a must win game last night, a game that we needed to score goals in our bench had Lucas, Moreno, Klavan and Wij.
None of them strike me as game changers or goal getters.
Our 2 attacking options was a woefully out of form Origi and the massively inexperienced teenager Woodburn.
It’s not like we’re crippled with injuries at the min.
1. Good players are hard to find. Very good players even more so.
2 Our competition havent strengthened either (unless you count Everton, and I don’t).
3. See one.
I’m fine with the squad. I’d like to see Ojo given a go from the bench. He appears our closest to Mane so let’s see if he can cut it. If not, may as well find out now.
This is our dip. Others have had theirs. Others are yet too. I still fancy us for top four and while that isnt the holy grail if it wasnt for Chelsea’s freakish season we would be right in it.
No need to panic.
Everyone of the top 6 sides is an injury or suspension away from losing a key player who has no direct replacement in the squad. Sanchez, Aguero, Kane, Costa – Mane..I don’t see any of the clubs rushing to rectify that in January to protect the precious top 4 or possible league title.
That, to me, when added to the comments of Klopp and Pako Aysteriyan the other day, is more of an indicator that January is a complete lottery where you might strike gold once in a hundred times but more likely you just keep your cash until the summer.
It’s his call and he will stand or fall on it
People moaning about not having a ready to go replacement for Mane, cant get my head round this. JK knew there were certain positions he had to strengthen, why would he have bought 2 in that position? It was hard enough to get Mane let alone a clone of him to come along too. I do think Ojo or Origi should have been tried in that position though, and Lallana kept in midfield and Firmino thru the middle.
Heads falling off everywhere.
I get it. I last saw Liverpool win the title in my early twenties and I’ll be 50 before much longer. I get the frustration that this was another chance that has slipped by.
BUT. You can’t sing JK’s name, love his style, think he’s the best fit for Liverpool and then expect him to transform himself into Mourinho. He is what he is. He believes in his way of doing things which, going by his record, takes a while to embed but then brings results. Rightly or wrongly, he isn’t about to lash a load of cash at the problem and replace players he believes in just because they’ve had a bad month.
We’re a lot further on than I (and I’m guessing most of the support) thought we’d be at this stage. He’s in this for the long haul and, as impatient as we all are for a title, we should be too.
Well said! *stands up and applauds*