Why Haven’t Liverpool Signed More Players?

The big news in the football world this weekend is that referees are adding long periods of added time to the end of each half in a big to combat time-wasting. It means we’ve seen the likes of seven, eight and nine minutes of stoppage time played each half, with some players booked for the act of wasting time. The football supporting world should be rejoicing, given the fact that our hard-earned cash has previously been being spent on games that aren’t lasting anywhere near the 90 minutes that they should be, all so that the likes of Newcastle United can waste time and disrupt the opposition’s rhythm. I personally am not so sure that this new directive is doing what we should actually want it to do, however. That isn’t to say that I don’t think that football matches should be the length of time that they’re meant to be as I absolutely do. It is more that the teams know exactly what it is that they’re doing when they waste time, which is usually done as much to disrupt the rhythm of the other team as it is to get the match called to a conclusion early.

There should be a strict amount of time that can be ‘wasted’, at which point any played going over it should be booked. When goalkeepers start being sent off for consecutive yellow cards for time wasting, teams will soon start to get their act together. What we’re going to see instead is teams continuing to waste time as a disruption tactic, all whilst saying to the referee ‘don’t worry about it, just add the time on.’ Some referees will be stricter than others, both in terms of how long as added on and when they choose to issue yellow cards, whilst it will last about two or three weeks before the added time at the end of each half starts to drop back down to what we’ve grown used to from the officials in recent years. It is nothing more than a little bit of posturing from a group of officials desperate to show that they’re trying to do something, at the same time as being entirely incompetent when it comes to the actual officiating of matches. Players will still waste time, they’ll get away with it and all of this will have been, ironically, a waste of time.

Where Are All The Signings?

I am not an FSG apologist. I believe that the ownership group of Liverpool are deserving of plenty of criticism for numerous different things. From the Super League to attempting to furlough staff during Covid, via ticket price rises, it is fair to say that they have made errors during their time in charge of the club. I also think they should spend more money than they have, although I am more willing than most to look at the reasons why they haven’t done so. The pandemic was quickly followed by a global recession, so I’m not entirely convinced that the markets have been right to spend like there is no tomorrow. The owners said that the club would be run in a fiscally responsible manner when they first arrived and that is exactly what has happened. That being said, I do think there is room for them to spend more than they have done in recent times, even when all of those things are taken on board. In other words, I do not think they’re perfect, even if I think they’re better than most other options.

This summer, the obvious question to ask is ‘where are all the signings?’ On the face of it, we’ve lost seven players in Jordan Henderson, Fabinho Tavares, Roberto Firmino, Naby Keïta, James Milner, Fabio Carvalho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. In reality, however, the minutes played by most of those lads means we’ve lost more like four players, with Cody Gakpo arriving as a replacement for one of them in January whilst Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai have come in to replace others. I am of the opinion that we need two more midfielders and at least one more defender, so I can understand the frustration of those that want to see replacements arrive as soon as possible. For me, though, the window isn’t shut yet and I’m therefore more than willing to keep my powder dry on criticism of all concerned until the period of time in which signings can be made is completely over. Where are all the signings? Some are already here, some are hopefully on their way.

Getting It Right Is Better Than Getting It Done

In the January of 2011, Liverpool striker Fernando Torres left the club for Chelsea. There was a feeling from many that a replacement needed to be found immediately, in order to ensure that we weren’t left short for the forthcoming campaign. As a result, the club, under the ownership of Fenway Sports Group, spent around £35 million signing Andy Carroll from Newcastle United. In hindsight, it was a mistake and there won’t be many people of the opinion that, if we could have out time again, the Geordie was the right man to replace the Spaniard. Fast-forward to last summer and most people were crying out for the Reds to sign a midfielder, only for the manager to feel as though the middle of the park was well-stocked. That opinion changed when two quick, and entirely predictable, injuries occurred, but by that point it was too late to bring in decent replacements and Arthur Melo was signed. Hindsight tells us that that, too, was a mistake.

The owners will have been once bitten twice shy after the Carroll mistake, whilst the manager will not be keen to just bring in any old body this summer merely for the sake of having numbers. That isn’t me saying that we shouldn’t sign anyone. If the window closes and there are no further additions, or even if we add Romeo Lavia and no one else, I will be extremely disappointed. At that point, I will believe that the ownership is fully deserving of any and all criticism that heads its way, presuming that the reason we haven’t signed new players is because of them refusing to release the funds to do so. I do think that the manager is a relentlessly positive person and will be of the opinion that, for example, Curtis Jones is perfectly fine to play in the six. He might feel that there’s no point signing Lavia for £50 million when we’ve got Stefan Bajčetić waiting in the wings. I don’t know the ins and outs of our transfer business but, more importantly, I think it isn’t over yet. Criticism is fine when it’s warranted. We don’t yet know whether that is the case.

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