Joy sprung eternal when the transfer window opened its doors earlier this week. It took just three days for Jurgen Klopp to dampen the mood.
Liverpool’s need for reinforcements at centre-half is more urgent than ever with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez potentially set to not play another minute this season.
The rumour mill began to swirl after their injuries and in November, @LFCUncensored detailed four exciting centre-halves the club had been heavily linked with.
Joel Matip’s injury troubles have continued, but per Klopp in his pre-match press conference ahead of their FA Cup third round clash with Aston Villa, the Cameroonian could soon return at the most crucial of times.
“We will try [to get him fit for Man Utd on the 17th],” he said (via the Liverpool Echo). “He’s in a good way, but it will be United or a few days later, I don’t know. We will see.”
Matip’s return would be timely indeed, but even the most optimistic of Reds fans knows it’s only a matter of time before the treatment table comes calling once more.
The club’s summer transfer window appears on the surface to have been a successful one. Kostas Tsimikas will (presumably) provide adequate depth for Andy Robertson when settled, while Thiago Alcantara has shown glimpses of his incisiveness and invention that will be sorely needed to unlock tight defences.
And Diogo Jota? We’re convinced not even he could’ve envisioned such a superb start to his Anfield career.
There was, however, one glaring omission. The much-maligned Dejan Lovren departed from his position as fourth choice centre-back and was replaced by… no one.
Fabinho can (and has) covered the position capably, but a club with Liverpool’s resources should never be relying on positional shifts to provide depth.
Not signing a centre-back in Jan feels like a big gamble. 14 different CB pairings already in 20/21 & its affected the team’s rhythm. Matip can’t stay fit, huge reliance on Fabinho, & all at the detriment of control in midfield. Even a short-term loan would make a difference.
— Leanne Prescott (@_lfcleanne) January 7, 2021
Liverpool’s transfer window mistakes have been few and far between under the guiding hand of Michael Edwards and co. but this was certainly one of them.
When attention turned to Liverpool’s impending transfer plans in his press conference, Klopp provided an update no Liverpool fan wanted to hear.
“I can’t say definitely we won’t bring someone in. Just not likely because of the situation in the world.
“It’s a tough one for all people and football clubs. Some clubs don’t have financial problems but this club – these owners – very responsible.
“I don’t know if something will happen or not. It would be a short-term solution and that is not right, it doesn’t help really.
“So we deal like we have so far. Not the best moment for the whole planet so why would it be for a football club?”
If taken at face value, his words are enough to drive a man to drink, but manager’s quotes are rarely single-layered.
In June, Klopp spoke of Liverpool’s summer purse strings being tightened amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
In July, Klopp reiterated Liverpool would not be pressured into spending big despite their rivals’ exploits.
In August, he urged caution amid talk of unknowns in the club’s depleted revenue.
By mid-September, they’d spent £72.75m on addressing a positional requirement, a Champions League winner, and a forward who notched nine goals in his first 13 appearances.
Klopp had good reason for keeping his cards close to his chest. Announce to the world you’re flush with cash and on the hunt and every player you approach sees their transfer fee doubled.
Take Man Utd as case in point. Every window they announce their intention to go big and more times than not, it falls flat. The Jadon Sancho saga hoovered up vast amounts of column inches last year. Week by week as Man Utd’s well-publicised desire to land him rose, so too did his price tag.
If Klopp announces to the world Liverpool are desperately seeking a winter recruit, agents and chief executives across the globe will lick their lips.
Liverpool’s desperate need for another centre-half is glaringly obvious. Klopp’s official confirmation of that would only prove detrimental to the club.
Of course, the possibility remains Liverpool do not dip their toes into the market and hope by some miracle Matip can stay injury-free.
But this is football, things are rarely as they seem.