Graham Ruthven: Liverpool risk falling behind if transfer inactivity continues

City are strengthening but - so far - the Reds have stood still.

Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Champions League Final


Not so long ago, Liverpool had to make do with the likes of Charlie Adam, Joe Allen and Fabio Borini as summer signings. These sort of additions became typical for the Anfield club during the early to mid 2010s – spending millions on players who were never good enough to take them back to the top. But Liverpool are now among the most attractive destinations in Europe for prospective signings.

They are the European champions, after all. Jurgen Klopp has built one of the best teams on the continent, with the Anfield faithful accustomed to watching one of the most dynamic, exciting sides in the sport. Yet while the days of settling for transfer market dross are long gone, Liverpool still aren’t doing enough to capitalise on their historic season.

With the exception of Sepp van den Berg, who rebuffed Bayern Munich to join the Reds, Liverpool are still to make a single signing this summer. Having spent over £380 million on new players, including Virgil Van Dijk, Alisson Becker and Sadio Mane, in the past three years, the transfer radar has gone somewhat blank for the Anfield club this summer.

Of course, Klopp has already assembled a squad strong enough to challenge domestically and in Europe. The German is, first and foremost, a coach and so it’s entirely possible Liverpool will continue to improve even if they don’t make a single signing this summer. But they are limiting themselves by remaining dormant.

A new centre back would, for instance, significantly strengthen their squad. Van Dijk and Joe Gomez have struck up quite the understanding since the arrival of the Dutch defender, but beyond that Liverpool’s options are sparse. This deficiency was exposed when both Gomez and Dejan Lovren were injured last season.

Liverpool could also use some depth in the full back positions. In Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, the Reds boast two of the best full backs in the Premier League at this moment, but with Alberto Moreno leaving the club and Nathaniel Clyne’s future still in doubt, Klopp could be left short.

Timo Werner has frequently been mentioned as a potential target, with the German international seemingly set to leave RB Leipzig at some point this summer. Werner would give Liverpool the out-and-out centre forward they are currently lacking. The departure of Danny Ings and Daniel Sturridge has opened up an even bigger space in their squad.

Then there’s the Philippe Coutinho void, which is still to be filled following the Brazilian’s sale to Barcelona a year-and-a-half ago. Liverpool targeted Nabil Fekir as the replacement for Coutinho last year but failed in their efforts to lure the French international. They still haven’t signed a central attacking midfielder.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s return from injury will help somewhat, but Liverpool still need someone to plug the gap left by Coutinho. Dani Ceballos has been mentioned as a potential target, with Real Madrid open to the notion of selling the 22-year-old, and yet there is no sense that a move to Anfield is close. Any speculation seems somewhat tenuous at this point.

Mane and Mohamed Salah could also use some back-up.

Liverpool’s starting line-up, along with Manchester City’s, is currently the strongest in the Premier League, but they lack the options of their rivals and with Rodri already signed by the champions and Joao Cancelo reported to be a City target there’s a chance the Reds could fall behind.

There is barely a player in Europe who wouldn’t want to play for Liverpool right now. In Klopp they have a manager who inspires loyalty in almost everyone who plays for him. The Anfield club’s long and storied history combined with their current status as trophy contenders is very attractive. As things stand, though, they are not making the most of this to strengthen further.

Dani Ceballos is 4/11 to sign for Tottenham – and 14/1 to sign for Liverpool – before 9th August 2019

What do you think?