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Why Liverpool should swerve signings
I’m not very active on Twitter so I’m not sure if my opinion as a fan technically counts, but I am completely fine if Klopp decides not to make any additional signings this summer. There are two important, yet completely different reasons for this.
First, we have a promising crop of young talent at the club and a manager with an outstanding record of bringing youth into the first team. Beyond just Rhiann Brewster, we’ve got players the manager wants to take a look at and he’s the type to keep his word to his squad players, then move them on quickly if need be (see: Solanke, Dom; Ibe, Jordan). This has helped us attract talent in the youth market, where we’ve actually been quite active the last couple years.
Second, I think the market went a little crazy after the “Neymar bubble”. In international economics, we’ve seen asset prices inflate widely when too much easy money is pumped into the system, chasing too few assets. Often, reckonings come in the form of “corrections”, whereby the economy hits a rough patch or people just slow down their rate of buying long enough that the speculative fury calms down enough for the market to come to its senses. We can’t know how many senses it still has left to come by, but there’s only one way to find out….
In this reading, it’s actually very much to Liverpool’s advantage to sit tight in the face of current valuations because no matter how far the game might have gone, we’re still living in a world where there are but a few cash-rich super clubs and a world of players developing every year. Much of the business at the clubs with money has been done already, so it might be wise to remind the market that big clubs can stand pat, too.
As much as the recent spat of big dollar signings did catch the eye, FSG (our owners) have seen 17 year olds Raheem Sterling, Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold in their decade at the club. It’s probably not a coincidence that they have been bringing in players around that age. Personally, I’d be willing to bet one of my livers (you only need one) that this is the way forward, more so than the purchase of Alisson or Virgil.
Ian, LFC (Marc, oh ya, sorry, got your message, forgot to respond till just now) Hartford, CT USA
Why they definitely should…
I have been going back and forth on whether it would be good to make new first team signings at Liverpool this summer. There are several websites saying Liverpool don’t need any – one even writing a book to prove their point – and then there are articles like Winty’s.
In the end, I am falling on the new signing side and here’s why.
More games this season. Not just the Uefa Super Cup and Community Shield but the Club World Cup – which will compress the games missed during that time. Plus, Liverpool will surely want to be a tad more competitive in the League and FA Cups. Surely. While you can’t say how far they will get in the CL, the goals has to be get at least to the Quarter Finals. The target should be for at least 6 more games this season.
Tired front three. Liverpool’s front three have had two long seasons – with country obligations in both summers. Along with several other players who will be delayed joining the squad in pre-season, Liverpool risks being under-cooked starting the league campaign. Given just how good City are, Liverpool can’t risk going too many points behind at the start of the season. City only dropped 14 and 16 pts respectively over the last two seasons, so the bar is high. While Liverpool did well last season, they still have to prove they are capable of that level of points total again.So they are going to need to come out strong to start.
Pressure on full backs. The two first choice full backs get through a ton of work. Their ability to get up and back along the line and their assists are a key element in Liverpool’s attack. It would be unlikely they will be able to do that over more games. In games they didn’t play, while their backup (Gomez or Milner) while safe, didn’t set the world alight. Liverpool struggled going forward.
Injuries. Liverpool had a fair number of injuries as usual last season and struggled in several games where the backup players were not at the same level. Liverpool arguably lost the league with several draws early in the year when they also had key players out or were tired. Liverpool’s backup are not as strong as City’s. At the same time, its too early to tell whether players returning from injury will reach their past levels (or future if young like Brewster.) Perhaps the Ox or Brewster won’t reach those levels and Lallana was already past his peak.
Time to be effective at Liverpool. Because Klopp sets a high standard for his players getting into the team, it takes time for new players to get into the first team. Unless you are clairvoyant, you cannot tell how many injuries will hapen or who may leave (and Klopp won’t keep someone for long if they really want to leave.) Plus when you do decide the team needs upgrading, you risk dipping in form until the new player comes on line. So even if only for the back end of the season when the going gets tougher, now would be a good time to invest.
Moving the bar higher. Klopp feels he can coach players to greatness. And he has proven that with some. But City have set the bar very high to win the league. When Klopp won the Bundesliga, Bayern were never at the level City are. He has more chance of winning the CL again than the league. While still a young squad he does have players that are aging out or could be updated. I love Henderson, Milner and Wynaldum but they don’t contribute enough goals and assists. Not at the level needed for Liverpool to achieve what they want. The game is mercenary. If there is someone who has the potential to be streets ahead of any of these guys, they should go for them.
Yes, some of the young players being touted (or signed) are great – for 2 to 5 years out. But given the cachet and therefore pulling power from being the current CL Champion, now is the time to cash in. It will actually cost them less. We have seen how Real and Barca have been able to draw players in to get a taste of CL greatness and can use their desire to keep the transfer price lower than if say, Man Utd, tried to buy that player right now.
In the end they need at least one full back and one winger who is capable of filling in each area to the level the current players do or potentially better. Just to offset for tiredness and injury let alone upgrading the squad. We saw what happened to Spurs last year. A great first team that struggled in the second half of the season. Players who had long summers, short pre-seasons and an overload of games. That they got to the CL final AND the 3rd in the league was an unbelievable performance. But they didn’t win. Can Liverpool afford to start the season with that kind of potential target?
…I look at Winty’s comments on LFC potentially making no signings and how much of a risk that may be….
Excepting the fact that everyone can improve particularly in the depth department but even that can be problematic as players get no guaranteed playing time and can be sat on the bench a lot which some will not accept
Lets look at LFC first eleven (and ill try and be subjective) and see where they can improve having got 97 points and a Champions League last year !
GK Allisson (Arguably best GK in world right now basis no. of golden glove awards) CANT IMPROVE
RB TAA (Best potential of any RB in Europe currently) CANT IMPROVE
LB Robertson (Arguably best LB in Europe) CANT IMPROVE
CB VVD (Nothing to see here) CANT IMPROVE
CB Joe Gomez (Young, English with potential. Not finished article but on the up) IMPROVE
DCM Fabinho (Kante , Fernandinho , Rodri ? are better, but we can’t sign any of them ) CANT IMPROVE
CM Henderson (Great servant , leader , glue of the team but…. ) IMPROVE
CM Winladjum (Most improved player in premier league ? , However) IMPROVE
RW Salah (back to back Golden Boots) CANT IMPROVE
LW Mane (Golden boot in best season so far , not at peak yet ) CANT IMPROVE
CF Firmino (Essential to how team plays but could add a few more goals) IMPROVE
So LFC can IMPROVE no doubt with perhaps one CB , two MF and one CF
So if City can just hand us over De Bruyne and Spurs loan us Kane for a season or two , maybe UTD can give us Pogba on the cheap and see if Klopp can ignite his fire. Messi would be good as cover for the front 3 while we are at it
Clearly everyone can improve and you should as history tells us sign from a position of strength rather than weakness.
However Klopp and the transfer committee have tended only to sign when its obvious where the team needs a significant upgrade hence Allisson and VVD last two windows.
Basis the above midfield is the obvious area though you could also argue that LFC could have been involved in the De Ligt bidding.
DL , LFC , Geneva (hoping for a versatile forward)
New man in Toon
Steve Bruce?! Steve Bruce!
Was Paul Jewell not available? John Gregory? Phil Brown?
Steve Bruce! This guy’s time at the elite level has passed – and the memories are all of failure.
Mike Ashley is mad.
We’ve been watching the same Liverpool over the years, so I thought I’d try better Mike, LFC, London’s disappointment XI.
GK – Pegguy Arphexad / Loris Karius – Arphexad I can’t ever recall playing for us. Karius was always dropping balls and being useless. His sulking after the final only helped produce memes.
LB – Jon Flanagan – Went off the wall after Cafu called him the best in the world.
CB – Sotirios Kyrgiakos – Got what we deserved after buying a Greek central defender. Take notes Arsenal.
CB – Martin Skrtel – You score 100 I’ll concede 50 was his motto.
RB – Jon Otsemobor – Glen Johnson my arse.
LM – Joe Cole – Never delivered, but commanded a huge wage.
CM – Alberto Aquilani – Always injured.
CM – Damien Plessis / Jonjo Shelvey – Plessis was hailed by Rafa as an understudy to Stevie and Xabi… played 8 games in total for LFC, and has been without a club since 2017. Shelvey’s most famous moment was angrily telling Sir Fergie that he was the reason Shelvey got sent off.
RM – El-Hadji Diouf – Not someone you would want your daughter to come home with.
CF – Fernando Morientes / Christian Benteke – Morientes looked like an old man in our team, Benteke was never the mobile, clinical forward we wanted.
CF – Florent Sinama-Pongolle / Anthony Le Tallec – The cousins who were both signed following excellent showings at international youth competitions. Flo-Po was last playing in Thailand, and Le Tallec in Ligue 2.
Wik, Pretoria, LFC
…Is it too late to submit my Disappointment XI? Nope? Great. Here’s mine.
Young lindelof smalling Shaw
Matic Pogba Herrera
Lingard Lukaku Rashford
Romero Dalot Jones mata martial Fred Andreas
I could go on but I think you get my point. The whole lot of them are a disappointment.
Here’s to the same Disappointment XI a year from now
…Ooooh a disappointment XI, I love these!
GK – Vanja Milinkovic-Savic. Huge lad, brother is a star midfielder for Lazio. Never got a work permit as far as I can recall.
RB – Fabio. Rafael at least gave us some quality moments. Considering this lad once started a CL final, it’s a shame injuries stopped him from progressing.
CB – Phil Jones. He’s alright, but he was supposed to be brilliant.
CB – Eric Bailly. I still have faith he can come back into form. My own theory was that he’d get a run at RB last season, which ended up being kind of correct, since he did run for about half an hour against Barcelona there.
LB – Rojo. It’s not his fault in this case though, since the poor bloke did his ACL just like Zlatan. Unfortunately he now looks like a walking red card if I’ve ever seen one.
RM – Mkhitaryan. Some footballers have talents you feel you could replicate with enough time and practice. The way players like Mkhitaryan, Götze at 19 etc glide around at times makes me appreciate how truly lacking in talent I am.
CM – Schneiderlin. Thought he’d thrive under Mourinho with Herrera on the way out. Ended up being the other way around.
CM – Anderson. Remember when he was skinny? Long hair? Making Man City look sluggish in the league cup, scoring bangers vs Schalke in the CL semi final of 09? Well look at him now.
LM – Gabriel Obertan. Wildcard here. Saw him in the flesh versus Everton back when Fellaini versus Fletcher was a genuine midfield battle. Realised he was shite and felt sad.
ST – Memphis. Disappointing to me because I always thought he’d be better off up front than on the left for us. Turns out I was kind of right once more, since he’s played there for Lyon a fair bit. Sadly more akin to Sanchez than Ronaldo, only ever getting the ball from his full back and forcing him to play with his back to goal, too deep in midfield to make a difference.
ST – Falcao. I remember seeing him and James Wilson against Burnley and thinking the pair of them could come good with a run of games. Shame he left his shooting boots back in Monaco.
Dishonourable mentions to Angel Di Maria. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer chap.
…In response to Mike, lfc, London… A disappointments XI for the Arsenal.
442 as I’m a traditionalist.
GK: Cech. We’ve had a lot of crap keepers and plenty that were far worse than Cech. But I really thought it was a Pat Jennings type signing that really would improve us.
RB: Jenkinson. I was really happy when we signed him because he was a proper Arsenal supporter. I’d convinced myself that having a gooner in the team would be vital.
CB: Mustafi. One of the most expensive defenders in history. Started well (hard to remember that now) but turned awful. Constantly at fault and always blames someone else. Bin.
CB: Mustafi. He’s that bad I’m including him twice.
LB: Andre Santos. Not only was he awful from start to finish but he wore the 11 shirt.
RW: Walcott. He was by no means a dud. Anyone that scores over 100 goals for your club deserves some respect but he just wasn’t the player we thought we were getting. Incredibly frustrating to watch and seemed to play like a world beater when his contract was up for renewal.
CM: Denilson. Looked like another classic early years Wenger find at first. But went from “decent young player” to “crap” with no in between.
CM: Wilshere. During the 2010/11 season, I genuinely thought he could play for any team in the world. I think a combination of injuries, not having a concrete place in the team (was he a deep lying playmaker, a 10, an 8?) and having a style which is better suited to the early 2000s meant his career has fizzled out. Big shame.
LW: Arshavin. I thought he was going to be like Robert Pires when we signed him. Not in terms of style but in terms of signing for us fairly late on in his career but establishing himself as one of the best to wear the shirt. Showed his quality at Euro 2008 and Anfield. Other than that he was…. meh.
ST: Jeffers. Normally the first on the list for bad Wenger signings. But at the time, he was the young English striker that was linked with the top clubs in the premier league. Therefore my hopes were built up greatly.
ST: Jose Reyes (R.I.P). Started off so well. He looked like a world beater but it just didn’t continue. Looking back it could well have been just down to failing to acclimatise to another league and could never settle.
Dave (Arsenal) Herts
…Michael O’s list of great players who never turned it one was pretty good to start with, but there are certainly a few others you could add if we hop in the way back machine…
1) Radamel Falcao – Absolute monster of Monaco and Atletico. So rubbish for Man United, Chelsea thought it must be some sort of elaborate bluff to put them off signing him, so he stunk the place out all over again.
2) Tomas Brolin – Swedish world beater turns up at Leeds fat and then somehow gets fatter whilst playing
3) Finidi George – snake-hipped game changer for van Gaal’s great Ajax team of the mid 90s. His cousin turns up for a few months at Ipswich when they went from 5th to relegated in one season
4) Pierluigi Casiraghi – One of the best poachers in Italy when Serie A was king, did his cruciate a couple of games after joining Chelsea and never played again.
5) Sergei Rebrov – Struck fear into the hearts of defenders across Europe alongside Shevchenko at Dynamo Kiev. Did not next to Chris Armstrong at Spurs
6) Deco – Creativity of Michaelangelo at Porto and Barca. Mobility of standard, non-ninja turtle at Chelsea
7) Edgar Davids – Magic footed loon who played like life was a Nike advert for Ajax and Juventus. Did not for Spurs. And Barnet. What a weird career he had.
8) Bastian Schweinsteiger – World Beater for 10 years for Bayern. Arrived at Man United in the 11th year of that particular run
9) Julio Cesar – All those years of great goalkeeping for Inter and Brazil, looked slightly baffled during late career pay day at QPR
10) Patrick Kluivert – What on earth was that spell at Newcastle about. Absolutely stunk the place out.
That’s off the top of my head, there’s bound to be a few more. I’ll bet there’s a niche subculture of this of players who were great in Scotland and came down to the Premier League to swim way out of their depth in the Premier League.
Pierre, LFC, Bristol
…Just because you’re Division 2 doesn’t mean you can’t be disappointed. I’ll put the team name at the end, just so we can all play a guessing game as we go along.
GK: Borislav Mihailov – rumour has it he saw the play off final in ’95 and thought that was our home ground. Rumour also had it that he wore a hairpiece.
RB: Greg Halford – came in for big money (over £2 million!), didn’t fit, went to Sunderland where he pissed off Roy Keane. There is a story in the secret footballer that rather closely matches his time at my club.
CB: Daniel Carrico – won the UEFA cup while with us. Was on loan at Seville at the time. HIs … checks notes … 87 minutes for us … 87 minutes? Brilliant.
CB: Martin Keown – hindsight possibly puts this as “he was a bit past his best”, but defenders are meant to age gracefully, right? He came in as our promotion bid was faltering, we were 4th but struggling for wins. We finished 7th. He played 5 games of a possible 16. Cheers.
LB: Wayne Bridge – defenders are meant to age gracefully, right?
RM: Emerse Fae – close to a club record signing. Got malaria, refused to play in a reserve game. If I have it correct, we never won a single game with him in the side.
CM: Neale Cooper – probably the earliest one here. Remember my Dad saying he’d been a stalwart in Scotland, European success, played with Ferguson, was part of that Graeme Souness Rangers team for a time. All he brought south was the thuggery. Vanished after two months, turned out he went on to play 100 odd times for Dunfermline. Right.
CM: Ray Houghton – and only a few years on from being a regular that Ron Atkinson Villa side of the early nineties and scoring famous world cup goals. I mean, this is a player, this is a man with pedigree. Passed the ball sideways. Pointed a bit. Sad.
LM: Royston Drenthe – I am not even going to dignify how this one worked out with a complete
ST: Pavel Pogrebnyak – I mean, we’ve shelled out on quality here. Did OK in a struggling relegation season and stuck around the next season. Should have torn the Championship a new hole. Did not.
ST: Mass Sarr – as we moved to our new ground, we brought in what seemed like a new squad. Heading it up was Mass Sarr. Liberian International. Played for Monaco. Scored a lot in Croatia. Someone once made a statue of him but the feet were all wrong. Remember, those heady pre-internet days where rumours were proper rumours? Anyway, the local press all but made up a story about his having a personal witch doctor, he got caught drink driving and scored 3 goals in the old 3rd division.
Subs bench: Anton Ferdinand, Yakubu, Nicky Shorey in 2012 or Dave Kitson in 2009, Danny Guthrie, Tiago Ilori
So there, my Reading FC biggest disappointments. The biggest mismatches between hype/expectation and what we actually got. Some even played quite well at times, but you were always left thinking it could have been so much better.
Rob Evans, Brum
I’m always one to voice my opinion on Manchester Utd and where it’s going wrong, it was nice to see some Utd fans giving theirs, regarding the latest pogba “spat” with Jesse Lingard. I couldn’t agree more with what wheeler said about the media exaggerating the situation. My understanding of what went on, coming from a lfc fan who hates Utd, is that lingard probably threw in a snide comment during convo among mates and pogba tells lingard to shut up. Spend 5 minutes with any group of mates and you’ll get that. No story here folks.
What is real, is pogba wanting to leave. The new story that Utd are going to ask him to stay a year because, a fan wrote in declaring this a win for Utd. If we’re honest, Utd have been caught on the hop due to the management and coaching staff changes, which is understandable and are struggling to tie down a suitable replacement. Liverpool did this with Suarez and coutinho too so it’s the correct play when not prepared, to get your sh1t together, get your targets and execute next summer. The one glaring issue is that the player in question is Paul pogba. Sure you could rely on it being an international tournament year and believing surely he has to perform to get his spot in the tournament, that’s how a normal pro would act, right? What screams normal about Pogba? A Paul pogba winding down for a year so he can hit the summer tournament hard and join Real or Juve directly after spells trouble for Utd for me. The utd fans I speak to have had just about enough of him, so the minute he puts a sucky performance in, which he will inevitably do, its nuclear fallout time in the stands and in the media. If it where me (a guy who has no idea how to coach or manage a football club) I’d get rid, get paid for doing so and perhaps roll the dice with a new midfielder. The result, the main dark cloud lifted from your club and a new signing, who might be slightly less a player but a player the crowd can get behind in a positive manner. Utd should not underestimate the power of a squad who are all of one mind in what they’re trying to achieve. If pogba agrees to act like a pro fine, but come on. So, Utd are in a bit of a pickle either way you look at it.
Pull the plug on all the negativity and sell him, at least that way utd can move on, instead of begging a guy who has put quite a few questionable performances in over his Utd career. He’s a world class player, just not for Utd. Either build a team around him to suit, which is not the current squad and pogba will definitely not wait a few more barron years. Or ship him on and focus on a playing style that would suit the majority of your squad and sign a few players to help that style with the money. Shoehorning an uninterested pogba into a style that doesn’t suit just because of the ability he has is not going to help. Every player in the league has ability albeit not as much as pogba but it’s usually between the ears that separates the wheat from the chaff. Especially in the positions he plays. If he’s not right mentally then he’s a liability. Man up utd and sell him on.