Jürgen Klopp has said that the club’s intentions to buy in January were stifled by transfer targets simply being unavailable. Klopp discusssed buying wingers well before the January transfer window opened given that Sadio Mané would be on international duty, Danny Ings was out for the season, and Liverpool’s schedule in January would be fattened by domestic cups.
Liverpool’s disastrous run of form this year, as a busy January tested Liverpool’s squad after a cluttered festive period, has renewed questions about recruitment. Should players have been bought to help the current squad that was short on numbers? Jamie Carragher thinks so.
“Liverpool don’t have the squad to match the other teams and are in a major fight for the top four,” Carragher said. “For how great everything was going a few months ago, it shows how quickly everything can just unravel.
“A major disappointment, whether it was down to the manager or the board, was not getting any reinforcements in in January. The players are there. I am not saying panic buy.
“At this moment, there are lots of problems, defensively and in attack, but I am talking about in terms of numbers, Liverpool needed something.
“If you look at Liverpool’s bench, they haven’t got anything like what Manchester United have got, City have got – these are the teams they are trying to compete with.
“The fact that they haven’t reinforced from a position of strength – where they were in the league as the best challengers for Chelsea – has meant they have fallen away.
“Certain players have been superb all season. You can’t expect the likes of Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho to keep up their levels, they need to come out of the team, not dropped, but just taken out for a couple of weeks to freshen them up, but there isn’t the players on the bench to do that.
“Other sides have got that quality in reserve that Liverpool haven’t.”
An interesting debate is whether realigned expectations amd clearly identified problems ahead of time should have forced the club to find solutions. This collapse in form has come as a surprise in terms of how drastic it has been for a potential title challenger, but it should serve as a lesson for the future.
Questions will continue to be asked if Liverpool continue to look jaded and bereft of inspiration on the pitch, and even if Champions League qualification is achieved, this summer will be seen as a real test of FSG’s desire to support Klopp and Liverpool.