Is Liverpool’s Incoming Business Really Done For The Summer?

When journalists with close ties to the club announced that a deal for the signing of Calvin Ramsay had been reached with Aberdeen, they did so at the same time as declaring that that move signified the end of Liverpool’s incoming business for the summer. Having already secured the signature of Luis Diaz in the January window, it means that our incomings include the Colombian alongside Darwin Núñez, Fábio Carvalho and the aforementioned Ramsay. Many, myself included, still expect a fair few outgoings, with the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Takumi Minamino and Sadio Mané to leave before the window does its customary ‘slamming shut’. The question is, is the squad really in good enough shape to mean that no more moves will be made in the transfer market? Certainly the goalkeeping and defensive situation looks strong enough and there are no major questions around the attack, but the same probably isn’t true of the midfield.

One of the major things that only Jürgen Klopp will have an answer to is whether or not he fancies another pop at the quadruple this season. With the World Cup coming slap bang in the middle of the campaign, no one has any clue about how the league will play out. I have my suspicions that the manager will want to put the hammer down in the first-half of the season, trying to put as much distance between us and Manchester City as possible. Pep Guardiola will have the same idea, of course, and the signing of Haaland is sure to add even more threat to a team that scored 99 goals last time out. What matters, though, is whether the manager wants to take the cups as seriously as we did last season as we look to defend both of them. We almost certainly won’t, but even if that is the case the squad still needs to be strong enough to cope with the demands that are going to be put on it. That is why I’m not totally convinced that we really are done with our summer signings.

The Midfield Question

As always, the likelihood is that Jürgen Klopp has a lot more faith in certain players than the supporters do. The majority of people still think of Harvey Elliott as a promising youth prospect, for example, whilst Carvalho is also only 19 himself. There is also the fact that both of them were more attack-minded players before arriving at Anfield, yet there is a general acceptance that they might be seen as midfield options by the manager. Given that we have Luis Diaz, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota and Darwin Núñez competing for the forward spaces, there isn’t really room for two 19-year-olds to be playing up front all that often. If we include them in the midfield options and assume that the out-goings are what we think they’re going to be, it means that out men in the middle will be as follows:

  • Jordan Henderson
  • James Milner
  • Fabinho
  • Thiago Alcantara
  • Naby Keïta
  • Curtis Jones
  • Harvey Elliott
  • Fabio Carvalho

Strong enough in terms of numbers on paper, but when you consider that all of Henderson, Thiago, Keïta and Fabinho have suffered lengthy injuries in recent times, the need for one more senior player becomes clear. There is an acceptance from most that Borussia Dortmund will not allow Jude Bellingham to leave in the same summer as Erling Haaland, meaning we won’t try to sign him now. The problem with that theory is that Real Madrid are reportedly lining up a bid for the English midfielder, which might well result in Liverpool needing to act if they want to bring him to Anfield. It is possible that the Reds might just think that the £80 million-plus being spoken of for Bellingham is too rich for our blood, but even if that is the case I’d expect us to look to an alternative target. As has been noted by others, if I was trying to sell a couple of midfielders for decent prices and buy another without paying over the odds, I’d be telling everyone my business was done as well.

The Salah Question

If we are to take the club at its word and assume that our incoming business really is done for the summer, the only question that remains unanswered is the one surrounding Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian’s contract runs out in a year and, at the time of writing, there doesn’t seem to be much of a move to get him signed up to a new one. Those in the know suggest that the forward wants more than Liverpool are willing to pay in terms of wages, meaning that the situation is reaching something of a stalemate. Certainly the noises from Salah’s camp that he wants to stay in the Premier League, essentially meaning that he’ll move to Manchester City, won’t please Jürgen Klopp and Julian Ward. They would obviously be unhappy to lose him to a rival, but have shown before that they don’t enjoy being threatened by players and will instead call their bluff. That could be a dangerous game to play with one of the best players in the world at the moment, though.

The fact that Egypt failed to qualify for the World Cup means that Salah will benefit from a break in the middle of the season, which the Reds will be acutely aware of. We could get a fully revitalised Salah taking on Premier League defences both at the start of the campaign and at the midway point, so the manager and his backroom staff might be happy to run him into the ground and then hope that his legs fall off on someone else’s watch. There are rumours aplenty that Raheem Sterling could be preparing to leave Manchester City and he is exactly the sort of player that would come on leaps and bounds under the management of the German. It isn’t out of the realms of the possible, therefore, that we could see Salah playing at the Etihad and Sterling back at Anfield for the 2023-2024 season. I wouldn’t be happy with that swap, being honest, but I do think that those in charge of transfers have earned out trust. The same is true of the Gini Wijnaldum return rumours swirling around.

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