They say the only way to make the insufferable international break go by faster is to consume ridiculous transfer rumours and fantasize about impossible XIs at your favorite clubs.
Steven Gerrard, legend though he may be, is still a fan just as susceptible to this most agonizing of opiates. Putting on his pundit hat on the back of his former team's few encouraging results, the current Liverpool U18 coach took time out to opine on the need for his boyhood club to dip into the January transfer market and strengthen for a suddenly not-impossible top four run:
“Knowing Liverpool, and being a player there for many years, if they see a player who will improve them, whether that’s defensively or anywhere in the squad, they’ll go and make the move,” Gerrard said speaking with BT Sport about Jürgen Klopp’s potential plans for the winter window.
The former Liverpool midfielder, who sits behind only Ian Callaghan and Jamie Carragher in team history with 710 appearances, speaks from experience. He was present for the winter signings of some of the most influential team signings in recent history, including the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Javier Mascherano, Philippe Coutinho and of course, Luis Suarez.
The club’s success rate in the January window since its 2003 inception stands in stark contrast with Klopp’s infamous reticence to shake things up midseason. Outside of his first signing as Liverpool manager in Marko Grujić (immediately loaned back to Red Star Belgrade) and Steven Caulker (who doesn’t really count since he was more of a uh, I believe he was more of an—actually what was the rationale behind that move again?), the German manager has staunchly prioritized value for money.
It is an alien concept in the type of silly season characterized primarily by desperation and hasty signings, both of which are completely antithetical to the famous man manager’s strident commitment to stylistic and personality fit.
“It is not that we don’t want to bring players in. We do,” Klopp said last January to explain his inaction his side’s title challenge-derailing slump at the start of 2017.
“But the thing is, the players we want because we think they help us, the clubs don’t sell. It is not about money in this situation, it is the winter transfer window.”
Manchester City may be all but champions not even a third of the way through the season, but the Reds, despite a rocky start to the campaign, somehow still find themselves a mere three points off a thin fourth-place Chelsea and only four points from Jose Mourinho’s flat track bullies at Manchester United.
The vital Sadio Mané has returned after two long layoffs and the potentially even more essential Adam Lallana is set to return to first team action within the month. Despite these boosts going forward, the veritable end of the Dejan Lovren project only highlights that the well-documented frailties in the back six are yet largely unaddressed. Cliché though it may be, a weaker-than-expected race for Champions League places must encourage Klopp to go out and get those one or two pieces this squad needs to make a real go of it heading into 2018.