Having brought in over £100M in new signings over the summer, Liverpool have still spent much of the first half of the season looking woefully short at either end of the pitch. In goal, Simon Mignolet appears not to be favoured as a long-term solution by the manager. Meanwhile at the other end, Mario Balotelli hasn’t had the hoped for impact and Brendan Rodgers has had to resort to trying to turn Raheem Sterling into a striker.
Given those shortcomings, one would imagine those positions being priorities for the club heading into the January transfer window, particularly goalkeeper. At striker, the expected return of Daniel Sturridge as well as Sterling’s decent showings up front and Divock Origi arriving next summer means there’s at least a case for Rodgers sticking with what they’ve already got. There’s no case to be made for sticking with the status quo between the sticks.
"There won’t be a lot of activity from us over the course of the January window," said Rodgers when pressed on the looming transfer window. "We brought a lot of players in the summer we felt could develop, and they’re starting to adapt to life at Liverpool and to our way of working. My job is to coach the players we have and to work hard to maximise the talent they have. The first thing is always to look within and adapt the structure to make things work."
Rodgers, of course, wouldn’t normally sit down at a press conference to tell the world that, yes, Liverpool plan to spend and that they desperately need help at some position or other. Managers simply don’t do that given it hurts their negotiating position with other clubs. Given Liverpool at the very least would seem to need a starting calibre goalkeeper, though, some will be concerned that Rodgers’ comments, rather than being manager-speak, are the unvarnished truth.
After bringing in more than £100M in new signings last summer and with Liverpool struggling in the first half of the season, it’s not difficult to imagine a world where Rodgers has been told by the owners he isn’t getting any more money this year and that he’ll have to work—and prove his worth—with what he’s got. And what he’s got, at most positions at least, is an awful lot of talent. Some of it’s raw, and some of it isn’t quite clicking, but it’s clearly talent.
"I don’t think January’s a good time to spend," he added. "If you look back to last year, we didn’t bring in anyone. If there’s something available, then the owners will always back what we want to do. If we feel there’s something that would improve us over the short or long term, we would look to do it. But I’m happy with the squad and how the group is progressing. It would have to be something to significantly improve us, as I don’t want to stockpile players."
Hopefully, even if Rodgers’ words are the honest truth, and even if it’s unlikely Liverpool will go on a spending spree over the next month, there’s at least enough room there amongst the not wanting to stockpile players and supportive owners to bring in a starting calibre goalkeeper.
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