Liverpool fans weren’t expecting an awful lot to come of the January transfer window, at least not at the start. Following news of the club’s attempts to land Alex Teixeira from Shakhtar Donetsk in the final week of January, though, the potential for a big name, big money signing to arrive caught the imaginations of many.
When negotiations with Shakhtar fell apart, then, there was plenty of disappointment—along with hopes that just maybe the club had something else in the works. With only hours to go in the window it seems safe to say that they almost certainly don’t, and that’s the reality Jürgen Klopp addressed at his pre-match press conference.
After joking that journalists in search of transfer stories could stop their work for the day, Klopp spoke of his hopes that four key players returning from injury could give Liverpool just the boost they need. Or, to steal a turn of phrase from Liverpool’s last manager, that they could end up being just like new signings for the club.
"These are our transfers," Klopp said of Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturrige, Martin Skrtel, and Divock Origi, all of whom are expected to be back in contention within the week. "Four new players for Liverpool! It’s good for us of course, though for the real long-term injuries nothing now has changed."
The long-term injuries are to Danny Ings and Joe Gomez, both of whom remain sidelined for the season with ACL injuries. And while it will be hard for Liverpool fans not to hear echoes of Rodgers being forced to make do without any January signings, if the quartet who are returning can stay fit it could be a massive boost.
Daniel Sturridge is one of England’s best strikers when fit, while Origi looked to be rounding into his best form since the World Cup when he fell to injury. Meanwhile, Skrtel and Coutinho back in the mix for the defence and midfield will leave Klopp with a new dilemma: which first team players get to start the game on the bench.
Of course that assumes all can stay fit. Something few would bet on, especially in the case of Sturridge. And it doesn’t much change the disappointment of ending a transfer window knowing the only major deal the club was involved in ended with them missing out on their target.