Let’s pretend we’ve just rehashed the entire transfer window up until now and have arrived here at what would otherwise be the second paragraph. You know the saga. The pursuits. One Mohamed Salah: check. One Virgil van Dijk: hands slapped. One Naby Keita: fruitless thus far. One Andrew Robertson and Dominic Solanke: easy peesy fresh and squeezy. There could still be more too come. We hope there is more to come. But looking at the squad as it stands there is plenty to be hopeful about already. Ex-Liverpool defender and all-round Liverpool person Phil Thompson feels that way, anyway.
“I think he (Klopp) can deliver a trophy, even without the remaining signings that he wants to make,” Thompson said.
“I know a lot of Liverpool fans are nervous about a lack of activity but I think the squad is big enough. The aim is to just add players who are going to make the starting line-up.”
These two sentences appear to contradict one another since the squad technically includes these added players that would make the starting eleven and a squad needs more than to just be big in order to compete for trophies but his heart is in the right place.
Thompson goes on to shine a light on Liverpool’s title-contending form through the first half of last season before losing Philippe Coutinho for a stretch and then Sadio Mané to AFCON. But last season this coming season is not. All the teams in the top six are getting stronger. Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho are settled into their places and are shaping their squads and will not trip up as often this year. Chelsea will continue on. Arsenal, well we don’t really know what Arsenal are going to do.
But Phil is undeterred.
“I think the van Dijk deal will still happen,” said Thompson, “and I think Dominic Solanke was a fantastic steal from Chelsea. I hope he gets the game time he’s joined for.
“Salah is the one for me. To have Sadio Mané on one wing and Salah on the other, to have such pace in the side and two players who can go past players in the box is such an asset.”
Our attacking players and our attacking game will be sensational. We are seeing that. Salah and Mané will indeed be effective. Coutinho will also be doing it. Roberto Firmino will be doing it. And all the rest. It easy to be bullish there. But Thompson will have a much more difficult time drumming up the same enthusiasm for Liverpool’s defensive midfield and central defense.
If Virgil van Dijk arrives that will change the tune significantly but the clock is ticking down a bit too quickly for the club to get in a midfielder who likewise dramatically changes the face of the side.