The squad is getting stronger, but success hinges on a good window
Just over a week has gone by since the painful defeat to Real Madrid in Kiev. Although we lost in a horrible way to Los Blancos, an undeniable air of optimism hangs in the air. This has been fueled by the left of field signing of Fabinho from Monaco and the apparent willingness of the owners to splash the cash this summer
Fabinho really was a signal of intent by Liverpool. The Brazilian was touted by many to join the ranks at Manchester United and yet we nipped in a got a deal done in no time at all.
He can play competently in three positions and at twenty-four is a good age for the first team. The speed and efficiency of the transfer are massive positives for the club, after years of protracted and painful transfer sagas. Liverpool though must be steadfast in what is perhaps their most important summer transfer window in the Premier League area.
A warning from history
It must be remembered that Liverpool have been here before in their recent history. Riding the crest of a wave, we have gone in to the summer with high hopes and simply made an almighty mess of things. 2002, 2009 and 2014 were all years were Reds fans dared to believe only to find we had taken four or five steps back with a mixture of bad recruitment and poor judgment.
In 2002 we bizarrely allowed Anelka to slip through the net, wouldn’t pay for Duff from Blackburn and allowed three real howlers to take place as we put all of our eggs in a Ligue 1 basket. 2009 was worse still, one of our best teams in the Premier League era was under invested in, as two American shysters ran our club into the rocks. Benitez made a mess of things too as he wrongly gambled on Alberto Aquilani’s capacity to replace Alsonso. The squad rotted and we were left with the likes of Ngog and El Zhar playing too many games and fell away horribly. 2014 wasn’t as bad as all of that. The club simply couldn’t recover from the irreplaceable Luis Suarez’s departure and foolishly didn’t sign a proper striker. Balotelli was never going to suit our approach and we allowed Sanchez to join Arsenal rather than insist he was part of any deal for Suarez. All too painful seasons followed as Liverpool failed to build on a position of strength. On each occasion we tumbled down from 2nd to as low as seventh the following season. This cannot be allowed to happen again, not with the squad in such a good place.
Patience, not panic
This window is very unlikely to offer again the calm seas as we experienced with the Fabinho transfer. Clubs will be well aware of our desperation for a goalkeeper. They will also be aware of our wallet and demand silly money for players. There is also a World Cup in less than two weeks and club presidents will be keen to wait to see if the summer anti-climax will offer any inflation on their in demand players. We already experienced this with Nabil Fekir as Jean-Michel Aulas allegedly stalls on agreeing a fee before a ball is kicked in Russia.
The point is, the fans will be demanding more new high profile faces, with almost hourly posts from social media enhancing the impatience. Liverpool must try to remain focused and get the right quality of player this summer. Unfortunately it looks as though we will have to pay over the odds on at least two of our preferred targets. We must be careful not to get too bogged down with clubs keen to shake us by our ankles, there is nothing like a huge price tag to crank up the pressure for a new signing.
The clubs must not panic either. Klopp will have identified plenty of options for his preferred recruitment. With his high press so demanding, and the team needing to take the next step, we must not hit the alarm button and go after players that simply don’t suit the way we play. We did this with Benteke as well as Balotelli, neither man looked anywhere near the required calibre as we meandered through mediocrity.
Trophies will come if we continue to get it right
Klopp has so far played a more than reasonable hand in the high stakes game of Premier League transfer windows. He has seldom signed anyone who didn’t look like they could add something to the team at the very least. So far, the squad we are assembling is strong and starting to become filled with character as well as quality.
We will need to add more depth in key areas such as centre-half, centre-mid and in the attack. The likes of Klavan, Grujic, Moreno and Ings are simply not of the required quality to be able to step in and help us maintain our momentum, see West Brom, Stoke and Chelsea towards the end of the last season.
Liverpool’s squad must be in a position to make a realistic stab at the domestic cups as well, without taking too much sting out of the League / Champions League campaigns. Last season this simply wasn’t the case as we were let down against Leicester and West Brom in cup matches; the fringe players couldn’t make the most of their rare chances. Although ultimately a footnote last season, these defeats are telling. Just one trophy has been won this decade by the club, in what is becoming a lengthy, worrying barren spell.
It would be a massive boost for Klopp’ s reign if we were able to buck this trend and win one of the domestic cups next season. A league title may still be beyond anyone but Manchester City next season, let’s hope if they do stutter, we can push them every step of the way, but even if we can’t, a trophy must still be won. It would also take the pressure of this squad as massive monkey is taken off their shoulder. If we were to do this, by rotating and still being able to field quality elevens, then this summer’s window will go down as a success, no matter how difficult it could yet prove to be.