Comparing Liverpool’s 2017/18 squad to a year ago

The transfer window is closed, and Liverpool’s 2017/18 squad is now finalised – assuming no deals involving players heading to Spain on Friday (!!)

The debate now will turn to whether Liverpool have improved their squad during a transfer window that promised much but effectively delivered just one first-team player in Mohamed Salah.

The additions of Andrew Robertson, Dominic Solanke and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain bolster the squad, but none are as yet seen as players who will improve the starting XI.

We take a look at each position within Jurgen Klopp‘s 4-3-3 formation, listing players only deemed in contention a year ago, to now. So for example, Trent Alexander-Arnold was barely established at under-23s level a year ago so wasn’t considered part of the first-team squad then.

Goalkeepers

A year ago: Mignolet, Karius, Manninger

Now: Mignolet, Karius, Ward

Verdict: Stronger, especially with Mignolet improved

Right back

A year ago: Clyne, Randall

Now: Clyne, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez

Verdict: A LOT stronger

Left back

A year ago: Milner, Moreno

Now: Moreno, Robertson, Milner

Verdict: Probably stronger, but still some uncertainty

Centre back

A year ago: Matip, Lovren, Klavan, Lucas

Now: Matip, Lovren, Klavan, Gomez

Verdict: No change

Holding midfield

A year ago: Henderson, Can, Lucas, Stewart

Now: Henderson, Can

Verdict: No change

Centre midfield

A year ago: Can, Lallana, Wijnaldum, Grujic, Ejaria

Now: Can, Lallana, Wijnaldum, Coutinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Milner, Grujic, Ejaria

Verdict: Stronger; more depth

Wide forwards

A year ago: Mane, Coutinho, Ojo

Now: Mane, Salah, Coutinho, Woodburn

Verdict: Stronger, faster; but still few options if injury hits

Centre forwards

A year ago: Firmino, Sturridge, Origi, Ings

Now: Firmino, Sturridge, Solanke, Ings

Verdict: No change

Overall

The squad overall is stronger, and the first XI is stronger for the addition of Salah. Much of this is due to improvements in players already at the club; the emergence of Alexander-Arnold, the return of Joe Gomez, the improvements in Alberto Moreno.

In midfield, there are plenty of options, and we could see the likes of Lallana and Wijnaldum used in wide forward roles in the odd league game to allow Mane and Salah what will be much-needed rest – especially when games arrive thick and very fast in December.

But much like a year ago, we are hugely dependent on injuries. Last January they hit hard and we couldn’t cope.

This year there will be no AFCON, so that’s a bonus.

The failure to sign a centre-back could prove costly, something we will only know for sure in the months to come.