With the end of the January transfer window creeping ever closer, it has increasingly begun to dawn on Liverpool fans that the club will not be be rectifying their defensive issues this season. This is hardly surprising, not only given the financial uncertainty brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, but also taking into consideration how steadfastly the Reds recruitment team have stuck to their plan in the past.
Certainly, Virgil van Dijk was brought in for record money in January 2018, but the big Dutchman was not some spur of the moment snap call. If anything, the deal was made six months later than planned, as a result of his former club and Liverpool talent developers Southampton rightly kicking up a fuss about the Merseysiders tapping up their star player.
As such, it was always likely Jürgen Klopp would have to wait until the summer before making alterations to his squad, and the injuries to the entirety of his central defence has not been deemed sufficiently disruptive to force a change in plans. This decision is driven not only by a lack of available targets, but in all likelihood also a sense of freedom to fail after the Reds finally brought home their first league title in 30 years in the summer.
The focus, then, is on building a second great team, and according to Paul Joyce, that work has already started.
“To what extent there will be further change amid a global pandemic is unclear, but some, we know, is coming,” the well-connected journalist claimed.
“Liverpool are planning to buy a centre back in the summer and probably were even before the injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez disrupted their season.”
While it doesn’t promise much for the current season — in which the Reds might have to prepare themselves to fight for top four rather than the title — it is at least encouraging to know that a starting-caliber centre-back is on the shopping list, and, given how Mikey Edwards works, has already been scouted, analysed and funded.
With Klopp’s squad having remained nearly unchanged for years now, the average age has slowly crept up across the board, and sweeping changes are likely to be seen over the course of the next two seasons, with new faces coming in, inevitably leading to the sales of some fantastic players with whom the fans have shared many wonderful moments. Only this time, it will happen on the club’s own terms.
The results may not be visible just yet, but the work has most certainly already begun.