Liverpool FC’s ownership group have been heavily criticized by some fans and pundits this summer for not signing midfield reinforcements. This has only ramped up as injuries to Naby Keïta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Curtis Jones, and Thiago Alcântara have thinned the midfield depth.
While there are legitimate concerns about the squad’s aging midfield, the chorus of voices screaming for Liverpool to just sign a midfielder seem to not understand the full scope of the situation or the way Liverpool operate. Jamie Carragher recently discussed this on the Sky Sports Essential Football podcast (quotes courtesy of the Liverpool Echo).
“I think they’d only go for a player they really wanted if he came on the market right now for whatever reason,” said Carragher. “I’m sure they’ve got something lined up for midfield next summer that’s why they haven’t done it this summer.”
In essence, Liverpool have the depth to get through one more season without any additional midfield help, so it makes more sense to wait for the player they really want than burn money now to just get somebody in that they don’t have in their long term plans. It may mean the midfield is a little chaotic this year due to the age and injury histories of the first-choice players, but it still makes the most sense in the long term.
“They’ve certainly got the numbers in terms of midfielders but those numbers are getting over 30 and quite injury-prone, so you don’t see many of them playing or having a full season, so I think there will be a lot of chopping and changing in midfield,” admitted Carragher. “You’ll be surprised if any of them play over 30 games in that position because there’s so many options.”
“I think Liverpool will go with what they’ve got. I think most will look at Liverpool’s first choice team and think they could do with a quality midfield player to come in there, a different age than what Liverpool’s first choice midfield is with Henderson, Thiago, Fabinho - Thiago’s out now at the moment - but they’re over 30.”
Liverpool have shown in the past that they are prepared to suffer a bit in the short term to get the player they really want, and it has worked out more often than not. When they couldn’t get Virgil van Dijk right away, they waited rather than move on to a player they were less excited about. That ended up being the right decision. If Liverpool feel they’ve identified the player who will be the future of their midfield (Jude Bellingham if the rumors are to be believed) then waiting until that player is available to sign a midfielder is the right call.
“I think Harvey Elliott is going to have a huge season, played a lot in that position but I have no doubt that next summer Liverpool must have something lined up, and if they do, they keep the powder dry, they don’t panic, they don’t go for someone that they don’t want, they wait for the right player and that happened with Virgil van Dijk and that’s proved really successful for Liverpool so I think they’ll do the same again.”