Liverpool Need A Defender, But Transfers Are Complicated

I have just about calmed down in the wake of Liverpool’s first-half performance against the Aston Villa youth team. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that there were all sorts of mitigating circumstances around the match, not least of all the fact that the Reds will have had no information whatsoever on the players that they’d be going up against. Even Sky Sports’ app listed all but two of the Villa lads as ‘unknown’ ahead of kick-off, so it’s not a major surprise that we weren’t up to speed with what they were going to perform like. That being said, the Liverpool team was made up mostly of players who have won the European Cup and Premier League in successive seasons, so taking on Aston Villa’s youth team really shouldn’t have posed too much of a problem. My anger came from the fact that we were watching the same players make the same mistakes.

Despite going up against a bunch of kids, our front line continued to struggled to create decent chances and barely tested an inexperienced goalkeeper. Having gone 1-0 up, we again failed to make it 2-0 and therefore gave the opposition hope. The same slow, ponderous play was stopping us from extending our lead. It was only once Thiago Alcantara came on in the second-half that we started to move the ball quicker and with a sense of reason. The brief period in the second forty-five when we turned it on and scored three was what we should have been doing from the off but didn’t, causing me my angst. We also conceded another daft goal, with Rhys Williams lacking the pace and know-how to deal with young striker. He took his chance brilliantly, but it doesn’t happen with an experience centre-back on the pitch. It’s why we need to buy one, but transfers are complex.

There Are Moving Parts At All Times

Right now, the global pandemic means that the Liverpool hierarchy has to think long and hard about spending money that won’t be recouped for some time. It’s interesting to note that Arsenal have decided to take out a loan, presumably to allow them to make some moves in the transfer market. Our owners have been clear that they don’t want to do that sort of thing, instead opting to run the club in a fiscally responsible manner. It is with that way of working in mind that we’re not just splashing the cash around, with even our summer moves for Thiago and Diogo Jota done in such a way that payments were structured sensibly. I think the likes of James Pearce are being extremely truthful when they say that we won’t be making a move for a centre-back this window unless things change, but it’s what those things might be that I’m most interested in.

There have, for example, been numerous rumours recently about the future of Divock Origi. If the Belgian striker were to move away from Anfield in a deal worth, say, £25 million, that would obviously put some money into the coffers that could be spent on a defender. Equally, should the club and Adrian come to a mutual understanding about his future and his contract get terminated, it would open up a space in the squad for a foreign player. Too many people are simply ignoring the rules about the number of players in squads that need to be home grown and pretending that it’s not an issue, but that’s not a luxury that Michael Edwards and Jürgen Klopp have at their disposal. There might well be a player lined up that we’re simply not allowed to bring in at the moment, but that won’t necessarily be the case for the entirely of the the transfer window, hence the ‘not right now’ briefings.

They May Know Something We Don’t

It’s fair to say that this is more like wishful thinking than anything based on reality, but another reason why the backroom staff might be reluctant to make a move is because either Virgil van Dijk or Joe Gomez is closer than we think to a return to first-team action. No, there hasn’t been any sign of them returning to training, with the only thing we’ve had to go on being the pictures and videos of the Dutchman doing some solo strengthening work. Yet the reality is that most Liverpool supporters want another defender to be brought in because the idea of having to play the rest of the season in the two main competitions with Fabinho and one of Rhys Williams or Nat Phillips is terrifying. If we know that van Dijk would be back for March, would we be a little more willing to wait? Certainly I imagine that Klopp and Edwards definitely would, which is colouring their thinking on what to do.

There are other things that they may know that we don’t. It’s not out of the realms of the possible, for instance, that we’ve reached a tentative agreement with RB Leipzig over the transfer of Dayot Upamecano, but because we’ve drawn the German club in the Champions League they’d only be willing to let him go now for an additional £25 million. The idea of transfers being filled with moving parts could also be true in the sense that a deal for a forward player such as Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho to even Kylian Mbappe would be derailed by spending £30 million or so on a defender right now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending the club’s stance. I personally think it would be negligent not to bring in a defender before this window ‘slams shut’. I’m just trying to think of what us as supporters don’t know about but the club has to weigh up before making any moves.

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