SO, how are we today?
I went to bed at 10.55pm, about five hours after we pretty much knew that nothing was going to happen but only five minutes before the unbearable “slamming shut” of the window, the point that Jim White’s transfer knowledge would bring about the surety that Liverpool had missed out on those last two signings, that the £175million shopping spree that the papers had promised that morning was definitely not going to happen.
Five minutes before we knew for a fact that Liverpool’s net spend would sit at the £35m mark. Five minutes before the #FSGout lads would hit Twitter in force, offended at the hash that the owners had made of spending money, delighted at the fact that their agenda hadn’t been contradicted. Not that I’d hear them; I’ve muted them all, they’re so bloody dull, so unremittingly negative. I’d wanted Liverpool to land Thomas Lemar and Virgil van Dijk just to make the moaning gets look sheepish. Not that they would have, they’d have found something new to complain about within minutes.
Look, I’m as upset about not signing van Dijk as anybody else; I wanted him here, I expected him here, even after the very public stepdown and apology I fully expected Liverpool to head straight back to Southampton with a bid just as soon as anybody else opened the bidding. Nobody else opened the bidding. And if the club had opened the bidding? After saying they wouldn’t? After saying they had ended all interest? Transfer ban. How’s that sound? You all cool with that as a concept? No, me neither.
The big Dutch lad would have made a hell of a difference to Liverpool’s back four; calm, assured, able to step up with the ball, providing the number six position with the chance to sit further up the pitch, pushing everybody else further up the pitch, he’d have been great. And still might be. In January. Or next summer. Do you really think Liverpool won’t go back in later? For the moment, let’s trust the back four that’s kept seven clean sheets in the last nine league games to do their job.
But that’s all I’m disappointed in. Lemar would have been nice but Lemar would have been a bonus. Let’s put some perspective into this, shall we?
We’ve known since the end of the season that Jürgen Klopp wanted to sign five players. And we knew that four of those players had very specific names:
- Virgil van Dijk
- Mohamed Salah
- Naby Keita
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
We also knew that he wanted a left back and that he wanted to be in the conversation about Kylian Mbappe.
Van Dijk. Jürgen didn’t want a centre back. He’s got centre backs. He wanted van Dijk. And nobody else. He was that specific. The fact that the owners haven’t bought a big lad who can head the ball a long way isn’t a comment on the owners, it’s a comment on the fact that Jürgen wanted van Dijk. For whatever reason, and we’ll never know the full story, that didn’t happen. So the boss isn’t going to settle for second best. Deal with that fact.
Salah. I’m in love with Salah. I know people who think that Nemanja Matic will be the most influential, most important signing of the summer, what with him freeing Paul Pogba up to make the impact that Manchester United thought he’d make last summer, but I’m not having that. Salah, with that electric, raw pace meaning that opposition back fours now have two of the fastest lads on the planet running at them at the same bloody time and with his wonderful, beautiful, ability to just appear at the back post at exactly the right time to nod the ball home, Salah is the most influential, most important signing of the summer.
Keita. Yes, I’d like him this summer as well but that was never going to happen so Liverpool have done what big European clubs do; they’ve sorted him now for next year. And that’s a million times better than not sorting him for next year because another year of him developing in both the Bundesliga and the Champions League is another year where Bayern Munich or Barcelona start paying more attention. And the whole thing is worth it for the possibly wildly apocryphal tale of Barca ringing RB Leipzig to bid only to be told that he’s in Wilmslow having a medical. I love the idea of the Catalan club trying to figure out where Wilmslow is.
Oxlade-Chamberlain. Come on, the lad turned down £60,000 a week more at Arsenal and £100,000 a week more at Chelsea to come and play for us, how could you not be in love with him? Klopp wants him, he remembers facing him with Borussia Dortmund and knowing what he could do. He’s going to give Liverpool options all over the pitch; he can fit in across the midfield three, on either flank or at either wing-back position. Drop your cynicism, we’re about to see the player The Reds tried to sign six years ago.
Add to that Andy Robertson who, on the basis of one game, looks the most capable, most threatening (to others, not to themselves for a change) left back Liverpool have had in a very long time and Dominic Solanke who has appeared so capable, so ready that the club have been willing to send Divock Origi out on loan and ask yourself, do you really think The Reds haven’t strengthened?
Three goalkeepers vying for the same slot? I’m having that.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Nathaniel Clyne, Robertson, Alberto Moreno, James Milner and Joe Gomez as full-back options? Yeah, sound, best lineup for a long time.
A midfield to be taken from Jordan Henderson, Emre Can, Gini Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chambo, Milner, Marko Grujic, Adam Lallana and, crucially, still, Philippe Coutinho? Eight lads for three positions? Are you really complaining?
A front three from Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Salah, Daniel Sturridge, Solanke with Coutinho, Lallana and Chamberlain all more than able to fit in there? Is there really anybody else with that level of choice? Don’t kid yourself. And remember this: all four of Liverpool’s front three scored against Arsenal. As maths goes, that’s mental, that’s magnificent.
Have Liverpool’s incomings improved on their outgoings of Origi, Kevin Stewart, Mamadou Sakho and Lucas Leiva? Yes. No two ways. The squad is stronger. Have the club missed out on targets? Yes. Has anybody else missed out on targets? United didn’t get Ivan Perisic, Tottenham Hotspur haven’t exactly expanded, Everton couldn’t find a forward in all of world football, Chelsea missed out on pretty much everybody they could think of, to the point where Ross Barkley changed his mind in the middle of a medical and Arsenal? Arsenal have fallen apart in a quite glorious manner.
Liverpool are stronger, faster, better. You saw them against Hoffenheim, you saw them against Arsenal, what’s the problem? The future’s beautiful, the future’s ours.
You know what’s coming, don’t you? We’re going to win the league.
Up the champions elect Reds.
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Bravo sir! Excellent piece. Probably worth remembering this defensive mess we are currently lumbered with have kept clean sheets in 9 of the last 12 PL games. It doesn’t need dismantling, it needs a Van Dijk shaped cherry on the top. And I can wait for that right now if I have to.
We’re a Van Dijk signing away from a bench of karius, lovren, clyne, winjaldum, oxlade-chamberlain, sturridge and solanke – with Ward, Can, Grujic, Moreno, Milner, Klavan, Gomez not even in the picture. That’s 25 lads for the challenge ahead before you dip into the kids like Woodburn and Ijaria
Can not in your picture.
What have you been smoking
It’s an example. Shows where we are. Could put lallana on the bench
At last, someone sane and looking at the situation rationally.
Ooh, that piece has left me all warm and fuzzy! I thought I would be gutted if we didn’t sign Virgil this window, but am just relieved that no other team got him! We will be back in for him I’m sure. How can any of our fans be disappointed, when you see what an attacking force we have now – I’m bloody excited!
You make my heart warm sir.
What has become of Danny Ings?
Thank you for this piece. The transfer window distorts perceptions of ‘success’ and ‘failure’. People forget that no one ever won a trophy for winning the transfer window. Remember how success followed from Utd’s record signing of DiMaria and Falcao in summer 2014? Me neither. What I do remember is the envious moaning when the window shut. Will we never learn to take stock realistically of what we have? Superstar manager, great management and backroom staff, good-to-excellent players who are improving, and a team dynamic to rival any competitor on the planet. The transfer window is over and good riddance. Now we can enjoy football!
Nicely said, mrut! I share your view exactly. And we finally have young players who are the real deal, truly exciting: Solanke, Woodburn (did you watch that goal for Wales?), Alexander-Arnold, Grujic, Gomez. The best part, in my view, is how our amazing manager thinks in terms of development and raining rather than just buying players. The team and each player just get better and better as they develop, such as Firmino, Mane, Can, all playing unbelievable football, even Moreno,a dn I’m sure Robertson will thrive (did you watch his goal?); and Coutinho is finally beginning to fulfill his real potential under Klopp and looking consistently world class. Up the beautiful Reds!
I wish so the moaning ‘ FSG out ‘ faction would read this and get a proper or on the window and the team. A very well balanced and positive article.
Sorry should read proper perspective
Unfortunately you can’t educate stupid, and that is the problem with some so called supporters.
Well thought out and sensible piece. Teams fear facing us now, home and away!!!
Thanks for the article.
Fantastic article,couldn’t agree more.
“I love the idea of the Catalan club trying to figure out where Wilmslow is.” make me laugh.
Same. Excellent, and that comment is just great.
Nice article Ian…transfer madness aside, I’m definitely looking forward to the next game.
Come on you Reds!
Best post ever – so far on this down to earth great site of Liverpool football lovers. Thanks Ian. Neded that after weeks in Limbo.
Good article but I think you’re missing the point with Lemar. He was seemingly available for the right price – as Arsenal’s accepted bid shows – and several news sites stated that he would be well up for the move here. Why on God’s green earth, knowing that VVD was never going to happen, didn’t we just pay the money?! This kid is going to be a superstar IMO and this may well have been our one and only chance to snaffle him.
He’ll be worth a lot more come 2018 – mark my words.
I’m not so sure about Lemar being our confirmed target nor do I think he is that great. Also I would have gone for defensive players instead of holding out for VVD even if as you say was never going to happen.
Anyways we’ve left with Lovren and Moreno, so just have to sit tight and see how things unfold over the next 5-10 games.
Hey Salah’s Perm and fellow Red! I hear you and share your desire to get a guy like Lemar. I also think that finances are really important. Great clubs are great because they have the resources to back up their development in the long term. I love the Red and don’t care much about owners, but I want owners that take care of our finances and make the team into a top business. Why? Because that’s the only way to compete consistently with MU, MCity, Chelsea, Arsenal. If we screw our finances, forget about winning anything. Just look at Aston Villa. Buying a 20 year old for 90 million quid is potentially very bad business. Pogba recently broke the world record signing for 92 mill. The fact that PSG is owned by the same guys who own a country sitting on a giant petrol pool and have nothing better to do with their country’s money that to throw it away at football players, does’t mean we have to go mad too. I love Klopp not only because he thinks long term development and keeps improving players and the team in a solid upward trajectory, but all because he knows that financial strength is critical. Dortmund was financially and football wise against the rocks when he joined, and over a few years make them thrive both football wise and financially. Alex ferguson managed MU for over two decades and developed the team slowly over many years until they came to dominate the Premier League. We don’t want Liverpool to be a Blackburn or a Leicester, we want to stay up there and that is built slowly. No wonder Alex Ferguson said he really “was worried” after Klopp joined Liverpool. YNWA. Up and stay up the mighty Reds!
Hi, No, I agree that we shouldn’t operate like the sugar-daddy clubs but that was not my point. Lemar was (apparently) ready to move here so the issue then was the price Monaco would accept. Reports suggested £92m (or 100m Euros) which I accept is a huge amount, but could have been recouped next summer by curing Coutinho of his ‘Great sadness’ and selling him to the highest bidder (Iniesta replacement at Barca? – or PSG with his pal Neymar?) – meanwhile Lemar beds-in for a season in the PL and players all over Europe see just how ambitious LFC have become under Klopp. Seemed a no-brainer to me as the boy is clearly a special talent, and IMO is better than Couts was at at the same age.
Unfortunately, I feel that ship has now sailed, most likely because FSG/Klopp are so risk-averse.
The two of you have points to consider like building for the long term and spending the money where it needs spending. I agree with those.
To look at this window as failure without Lemar or VVD is not something I see it as it is blanketing the good that also came from it.
To me, by offering the infamous apology to tap up VVD earlier in the summer (though a real cockup by whoever that numpty was) it was clear that there were other targets that needed to get over the line.
I don’t think Salah, Solanke, Ox, Robertson and/or Keita then would happen as LFC could have been banned. So for me it was a smart move considering not knowing who even leaked that information to the press, just like whoever leaks nonsense links and bids to players like Lemar.
While I think this window’s outcome could look like it was wasted, I think it was admirable in this regard for the above that was achieved, to build long term and by spending a lot of money on someone who will come next year too.
Not everyone that Klopp wants is either available or wants to come to LFC, that is just me as a fan leaving room for flexibility if the type of players.
With VVD it was stubborn to hold out for this player who might end up being a Lovren Mark III. But if he comes in Jan it would indicate he is only being added to bolster a defense by then that needs to be built on.
I will just be patient to see what happens and I am also excited to see the new players plus how Coutinho will handle things. He has a chance to give it his all like Suarez or fail like Torres when they both faced similar want-away situations.
Excellent article, totally turned around my solemn mood over the dissapointment of not landing VVD.
My mussus won’t like you.
I’m off for a pint to spread the newly found positivity. Cheers, and one for yourself.
Yeah man. You are speaking my language sir.
Great article. Lots of reasons to be positive. Credit where it is due and by that reasoning discredit too. The vvd saga was badly managed.
All well and good saying we strengthened. Yes we did, but that was a fundamental requirement with extra CL games to play. However, the strengthening we’ve seen is more of a steady progression than a kick it up to the next level. It’s a sad fact that without CL we have been finding it harder and harder to attract top notch players. And as per last time under Rodgers, we’ve failed to capitalise on our CL qualification to bring some in – in particular at CB where our problems are glaringly obvious to everyone and God knows there must be dozens we could have got that are better than Lovren. Yes it’s a stronger squad but it’s not a title winning squad. Not yet. Remember how well we started last season? And how spectacularly we ran out of steam under the strain of a packed schedule and a few key injuries? Well we’ve got even more games this time out.
I’m not an FSGout-er but i am getting more and more skeptical. We’re one of the top ten clubs in the world but we operate at bargain basement level in terms of transfers. I cancelled my LFCTV subscription in protest after the January window because quite frankly I felt (and still feel) exploited. I’m not going to renew it until I see some investment that matches a) the status of our great club and b) the ambition of us fans. And I hope that’s sometime soon.
Really? You pulled my comment because I said we’d rue not signing a future world class player while we had the opportunity? What is the point of a comments section if you only allow the comments you like?
Sorry, Ian – please delete my last comment. My original post magically appeared!.. :)
We’re definetly stronger as a squad, you glossed over the CB positions though, matip and lovern both poor injury records and klavan and Gomez partnership in a crunch game could cost us! Should have brought in experience at CB, even if on loan until VVD deal happens!
Couldn’t have put it any better – big fish Ian!
For all others: “Net spend” does not necessarily equal “ambition”.
Good article. Balance! Okay, maybe a slight tint of red in it but I’m too like my glass to be half full. We need luck with injuries. We need our keeper to command in set plays and our defenders to help him. Then…and maybe then……….! Always the dream.
Wonderful goal for Wales by Woodburn by the way. Not only that. Twenty minutes of mature classy play by the youngster. Full of promise.
Some silly abuse of a great piece by Ian Salmon here. The analysis cheered me up no end. I accept that Klopp wanted Van Dijk – I think we all did. But I remain a bit nervous of our options at centre back, where an injury would leave us struggling. Let’s hope Jurgen can get his man in January.
Fanfuckingtastic Ian!! I’m buzzing after that, we’ve massively improved our squad and although I’m gutted about Van Dijk I think we’ve shown signs we are gonna go very close this season! Up those mighty Reds!