Liverpool entered this month's international break with more injuries than any other Premier League club. After using October's international break as an opportunity to appoint a new manager, FSG must consider whether to invest in players in the next month or so. Jürgen Klopp has a certain approach to the game, and while there is quality within the squad he inherited from Brendan Rodgers, injuries upon injuries have made the need to find additions even more pressing.
A new manager brings his own ideas of course, ones that new players may be better suited to carrying out during training sessions and competitive matches. Even without the current injury situation, Liverpool could do with at least one additional player to help the group. Change in the dugout engineers alterations on the pitch and in the squad. Fortunately for adherents of footballing sustainability, something that FSG seem keen on, Klopp likes to improve players. His track record at Mainz 05 and Borussia Dortmund proves that when he speaks on such matters, there is plenty in his career to support his words.
Liverpool lack depth at full back and defensive midfield in particular, and this would be the case even if Jon Flanagan and Joe Gomez were available. Gomez seems suited to playing in central defence, and with Klopp in charge, deputising for Alberto Moreno and Nathaniel Clyne would not be desirable. José Enrique appears unwanted this season no matter who is in charge, and of the youngsters available at full back, Connor Randall may still need time before stepping up on a regular basis as a squad member.
Lucas Leiva is supported by thin air in the squad, while Klopp noticed in his first interview that Liverpool might be lacking players who can support the attack in wider positions with the pace and verticality he'd like. Mamadou Sakho is the club's best centre back but can be prone to injuries, and other senior players in his position are either past their best or frighteningly inconsistent and/or inadequate. So, is January the best time to do business?
"The January transfer window is not the perfect one because you have no time to train," Klopp said on potential purchases in the mid-season transfer window. "You pick a player, put him on the pitch and say, ‘Come on, show your best performance’. But if we need, we will do (transfers). No problem. I don’t know what will happen in January, if we have more injuries it will be important, of course. But at this moment, there’s no decision.
"I think six weeks is not enough to judge (the players). I know in this world we judge after one second sometimes. If you want to develop things you have to wait for steps, that’s normal. We have done very well in some situations and not perfect in others, but we had 15 very bad minutes against Crystal Palace. All the rest was OK, it was not perfect, but we can make big steps in the next few weeks."
Arsène Wenger is one manager who regularly warns of the difficulties and potential perils of buying players in January. It's not easy, especially considering that there is just one month to sign players, but Liverpool have signed some excellent players in January during FSG's stewardship. Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho, and Luis Suárez provided superb value and quickly made an impact in Liverpool colours. Klopp, however, is steadfast in his belief in training players to improve. For him, transfers aren't the only solution.
"I’m not the guy who buys 10 players today and sells 10 players tomorrow because we want to work together," the former Borussia Dortmumd manager said, re-emphasising his philosophy. "If we have a good idea, we try to bring it on the pitch, and that needs time. I believe in training, sometimes I feel I’m the only one in this country who believes in training, only others believe in transfers. I love this game because training can make the difference."
Hearing a Liverpool manager talk of improving players is reassuring, and if nothing else, it ensures that younger players can grow under him irrespective of whether they come through the Academy or are purchased from another club. The existing squad also know that they're being counted on even if players are being looked at in various positions. Jürgen Klopp's comments are not idle ones, but if Liverpool do target players in January, it will be intriguing to find out the types of players who could join Klopp's squad.
Players are always being linked with a move to Anfield, but with the transfer window not far away, it's possible that players have already been identified and scouted. Will Liverpool go big or spend modestly?