The January transfer window has come to an end and the clubs in the Premier League will not be able to improve on their current squad till the end of the season. A number of PL clubs made some decent additions in the window but one club that only let players go is Jurgen Klopp’s, Liverpool. The 1-1 draw against Chelsea at Anfield earlier this week, keeps them 10 points adrift of the league leaders as they will now have to play out of their skins to even have a shot at the title.
The month of January was just not how it was supposed to be for the Reds, who had a chance to advance in cup competitions while also piling on the pressure at the top of the table. But two losses in 4 days at Anfield knocked them out of two domestic cup competitions while draws against Sunderland, Manchester United and Chelsea along with a loss against Swansea, pushed them back in the points table. Not so long ago, Klopp’s side were on their way to a productive season but a month’s misfortunes might leave them with a sour taste in the mouth come the end of the season. What has really gone wrong at Anfield in January? What have they been lacking?
Fans on social media have various answers to these queries as some are adamant that the squad at Klopp’s disposal is just not good enough. To be honest, Philippe Coutinho is the only player in the side that can walk into any to European club at the moment but that has not stopped the progress of the side at the start of the season. Then why now? Some of the fans seem to think that the manager was not allowed to spend on players in the transfer market but with Klopp, on more than one occasion, stressing on the fact that he will not spend unless a player is available, it does not seem to be an issue that should let the team down.
Don’t get me wrong. The current Liverpool side is nowhere near a title winning one and as Jamie Carragher said earlier this season, the squad at Anfield might just be the worst in the top-6 in the league at the moment. But neither the manager nor the owners can be blamed for the lack of transfer activity. Jurgen Klopp, the German manager who took Borussia Dortmund to historic consecutive Bundesliga titles, is a man with his own principles. He has the utmost faith in his own methods and is not one to be easily effected by banter.
There is a wide-ranging opinion among fans that the likes of Mahmoud Dahoud, Julian Draxler, and Quincey Promes can improve the squad but that the owners of the club are not ready to sanction their moves. But it is hard to contemplate someone not spending on the squad just a year after getting in one of the best managers in world football. I am talking about the Fenway Sports Group, that is not the most loved at the Merseyside. FSG have always been known for their moneyball tactics during transfer windows and fans who had hoped that it will change under Klopp were left disappointed. However, it is difficult to see FSG, not spending on players Klopp wants which makes this answer partially invalid.
Some have suggested that Liverpool and their methods have been worked out. But there can be very few reasons more ridiculous than this. The Reds have been monotonous in their play in the past month but much of it has been down to the individual performances in the side. Ever since Sadio Mane left for the AFCON, Liverpool failed to cover for him with a winger and had Adam Lallana play that role for most games. The English midfielder has been superb playing in a slightly deeper role and has been completely ineffective on the wing. So is Roberto Firmino who seems to thrive only starting centrally. Daniel Sturridge has been out of form while Philippe Coutinho picked up an injury leaving Klopp with a weakened squad for most of the games. This was the reason for the mediocre performances of the side in recent times and has nothing to do with the opponents sitting back and defending.
Liverpool have enough firepower to beat even the strongest of the defenses but only on their night. They will now have to be more and more consistent to keep themselves close to the top-4 and that is what has been missing. Dejan Lovren at the back, Emre Can in the midfield, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge in attack have all been hot and cold since the start of the season and Klopp will need all his squad to stay strong till the end of the season.
This, adding to the incredible number of games the club has played in the month have been the major reasons for their dip in form. Klopp’s methods rely on high energy levels and it is never easy to produce the same intensity twice every week. A couple of signings may solve a part of the problem but what is more important for Klopp is to keep his first team playing regular football.
Had the Reds had the likes of Mane and Coutinho in their ranks along with Joel Matip at the back, they would have taken more from the month but now that it is done and dusted, they should now turn their attention to the rest of the season. Lack of depth, void of imagination, inadequate quality or simple plain fatigue? What is the real problem with this current Liverpool squad?