Despite incoming and outgoing transfer rumours — regarding those names you can spell in your sleep by now, umlauts and all — totaling in excess of £200m have surrounded Liverpool since the end of the season, there hasn’t been all that much big business being finalised since Mohamed Salah signed on the dotted line six weeks ago. Aging squad player Lucas Leiva has left the club for an appropriate fee, followed by fringe players Kevin Stewart and Andre Wisdom, while Andrew Robertson has joined the Anfield outfit as James Milner’s understudy at left back. The headliners, however, have yet to move in either direction, despite the obscene amount of media space they’ve occupied.
Jürgen Klopp is fine with this. While he would like to add even more players, he has no intention of letting his first team players go, and if this leads to some starters becoming substitutes and having to fight their way back into the matchday XI, then so be it.
“Everybody thought ‘he’s going, he’s going, he’s going’ but so far nobody is going,” Klopp told media following the team’s Audi Cup final in Germany.
“If we stay together like this there will be a few hard decisions because they can’t start all together. Then we have to see how this works. Be angry at me, no problem, stay confident, that is important, then three days (later) there is another game so let's be there again. There are a lot of challenges.
“The plan is that they all make the next step,” he continued. “Of course we want to build on the base of last year. I said we always want to develop this team and there are two things to do – signings and training so we did both.
“The signings are nice, either they play or they push another player. Now it’s more difficult to play all the time.”
Signing and training. And keeping the squad together. Welcoming the added match volume and embracing competition for places. This is vintage Klopp realist positivity, the kind that seemingly draws the right response from the players, and the kind a less charismatic manager would struggle to pull off.
Nonetheless. With four weeks left in the transfer window, the murmur about 30 percent more minutes to play and the inevitable injury rush in January has remained relatively quiet, soothed by the invigorating football Klopp’s men have put on display this pre-season, but one would expect the grumbling to grow in intensity if the Reds miss out on their stated targets and fail to add to the squad before the end of the month.