Liverpool fans will no doubt have a sense of frustration after the closing of the transfer window confirmed their fears of a quiet summer of incomings.
The only reinforcement to the Reds first-team squad was central defender Ibrahima Konate, who arrives highly-rated from RB Leipzig for a £36million fee.
That deal was confirmed at the end of May – before last season’s Champions League final – meaning that Liverpool did not invest in their first-team squad for a period of over three months.
There is little need for hyperbole; after all, this is a side who have won the Champions League and Premier League titles within the past two years and rallied last season to finish third in the standings.
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The return to fitness of Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez – alongside Konate’s arrival helps solve the central defensive injury crisis – while a number of stars were tied down to long-term contracts.
There are other bright sparks too – Curtis Jones looks set to play more of a prominent role this season while Harvey Elliott’s return from a loan at Blackburn is a massive shot in the arm for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Yet there is a lingering sense of frustration that while their rivals strengthened with notable signings such as Jack Grealish, Romelu Lukaku, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, Liverpool may fall short of mounting a sustained title challenge this campaign.
There are no natural replacements for Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back, there are doubts over the backup options should Alisson Becker sustained a fresh injury while the jury is still out on Kostas Tsimikas should Andy Robertson be side-lined.
There is also a lack of depth in midfield – the exit of Georginio Wijnaldum has left the Reds light (despite Elliott’s return) – and Xherdan Shaqiri’s departure has also not been replace, despite the Swiss star’s lack of playing time.
Yet Liverpool’s transfer policy has been dictated by the ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic – one of the club’s strengths under FSG has been selling players at inflated prices and then reinvesting in the first-team squad.
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This was seen most notable in 2018, when the sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona funded a large section of the splurge on Alisson, van Dijk and Fabinho – the spine of the team who propelled the club to recent successes.
Another concern for Liverpool is that all three of their starting forwards – Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane – all celebrate their 30 th birthdays this season.
This is generally viewed as a tipping point for a player’s resale value, with their physical capacities bringing increasingly limited returns and who no longer carry the market demand of previous years.
As with the exit of Coutinho, Liverpool showed they were not afraid to sacrifice a star player at the right market price and in a non-Covid world, it would be likely that at least one of the three leading forwards would have been sold at the right price had a suitor come in for their signatures.
Such a sale may not have proven hugely popular among Reds fans but it would have significantly increased their potential to continue to rejuvenate and reinvest in their first-team squad.
Despite the club recouping fees for Harry Wilson, Taiwo Awoniyi and Shaqiri, this only amounted for £25million and meant that the club had no significant financial injection this window.
Liverpool fans must be content with key first-teamers penning new long-term deals with the reality that few are likely to fetch big transfer fees but the approach of the club’s ownership means this is likely to be combined with relatively cautious spending in the transfer market.
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