Written By: Mathew Woods (@IAMMattWoods)
Liverpool Football Club enter a January transfer window with plenty of questions for the first time in a long while. The January window has seen LFC sign some major talents over the last decade; Virgil van Dijk, Luis Suarez, and Philippe Coutinho just to name a few. An injury plagued 20/21 season has seen the Reds lose some of their star players to lengthy injuries, leaving mounting pressure upon the fit players in the squad to play to the best of their abilities to hide the major absences.Embed from Getty Images
With rumors circulating around possible incomings and outgoings in the winter window, lets have a look at some of the scenarios that may arise: Whether it is no signings, or a bank-breaking one, the club is in a moment they need to take advantage of. At the moment, the squad is still top of the league, and there is a lot to play for. But a lot of what the future holds, could come down to how they react in January.
The first scenario is that there are no incomings in January. This would show a sign of trust that Manager Jurgen Klopp has in the players currently fit in the squad to do the job asked of them. Relying on young players would be the key to this situation. Klopp has already rested faith in young Rhys Williams a number of times, mainly on the European stage, with the 19-year-old holding up strong to the pressure of the moment. Curtis Jones has been a bright spot in midfield, displaying his creativity, and determination to succeed at the highest level. Neco Williams has struggled with consistency, yet continues to show promise in many of his appearances. Nat Phillips has come into the side and exerted a physical presence in a depleted back-line and turned out a few Man-of-the-Match performances.Embed from Getty Images
The youth players have come through pretty well for Liverpool. These players have looked beyond their years at times and have handled the situations they’ve been put in for the most part. The major downside though is inexperience and at some point that could catch up to this team, but that is the risk Liverpool take with no incoming signings.
Defensively, Liverpool have been ravaged with injuries. Van Dijk and Joe Gomez are already out for the season, Trent Alexander-Arnold already had stint on the injured list, new signing Kostas Tsimikas has been virtually non-existent and unable to really get his feet on the ground with the first team, and Joel Matip is simply just made of glass (Though when he plays, has been tremendous). Fabinho has had a brilliant season filling in at center-back and could arguably be called world class in two positions. But no matter how good Fabinho has been, center-back could be the position that costs Liverpool a chance at silverware this season.
Liverpool let Dejan Lovren go in the summer and failed to bring in a replacement. Now, with an obvious glaring need it seems almost certain that if Liverpool decide to spend in January, center-back is where it will be.Embed from Getty Images
This scenario also depends on who Liverpool bring in. Do they bring in a veteran center-back who steps right into the squad (Ezequiel Garay, Milan Skriniar, David Alaba, etc)? Do they look to a younger extremely talented center-back and spend more for a long-time starter (Dayot Upamecano, Ibrahima Konate, Perr Schuurs, Sven Botman)?
We also need to take into account the current quality of the player Liverpool are bringing in. Are Liverpool bringing in a nailed-on starter, a player that will play occasionally, or a future project? With the options Liverpool are presented with internally at the moment, the next move made defensively in the transfer market should be an impactful one that can fill in right away, but that is up to Michael Edwards and his staff as to where to spend that money and who to spend it on.
If the signing is an immediate starter, what changes could be made to Liverpool’s lineup? The biggest one would likely be Fabinho. Whether Matip is fit or not, I would not be surprised to see whoever the signing may be, starting next to one of Williams or Phillips and slotting the Brazilian back into his preferred defensive midfield role.Embed from Getty Images
As much as Liverpool could use a central defender at the moment, recent results show that a creative midfielder could be a possibility as well. Draw’s against Brighton, Fulham, and West Brom open up the possibility of Liverpool bringing in a player who can break down a deep-lying defense. With Thiago Alcantara returning to the side, perhaps that makes this possibility less likely, but much like the defenders, Liverpool have injuries in the middle of the park as well. Naby Keita has had the worst injury luck since joining Liverpool in the summer of 2018. At every point where he starts to look like the player Liverpool paid over £50M for, the midfielder repeatedly ends up on the injury list with another issue. Thiago has had his injury concerns much of this season after sustaining an injury in the Merseyside Derby earlier in the season, while Xherdan Shaqiri, Jordan Henderson, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have all had their fair share of injuries over the past few seasons with the club.
The possibility of bringing in another midfield option is exciting, but is it a necessity that Liverpool will spend the money on in the January window?
The last scenario to keep an eye out for is Liverpool striking a deal for the future, much like how they signed Naby Keita. When Liverpool signed the former RB Leipzig star, a deal was struck in the winter for the transfer to be completed and take effect in the following summer. With COVID-19 monetarily effecting clubs throughout the world, agreements for future transfers make more sense.Embed from Getty Images
With a defender more likely a possibility in January, the odds of Liverpool adding in the summer seem just as likely no matter what their stance may be in the winter.
Edwards, Klopp, Fenway Sports Group, and the scouting crew have their work cut out for them regarding the situation at hand. A Champions League and Premier League title could be at stake. No matter the route Liverpool decide to take in this window, it is hard not to trust whatever the decision is that the club decides to make. With recent moves for Thiago and Diogo Jota, while also rejecting the likes of former RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner, it is clear that Liverpool have a clear, precise, and dynamic transfer strategy in locating targets.
Do you think Liverpool will sign a player in January?