It’s safe to say that Liverpool have failed to meet the lofty expectations we all assumed they would reach for this season. The team are solidly mid-table to this point, and are on the verge from being eliminated from the Champions League. While Liverpool still have 15 games left in the Premier League this season, many supporters, and pundits, have already turned their attention towards what the Reds need to do in the summer transfer window.
One of those pundits, former Liverpool great Robbie Fowler, used his Sunday opinion piece in The Mirror, to say what he thinks Liverpool need to do to fix the squad this summer after Jürgen Klopp spoke candidly about changes coming earlier in the week. For Fowler, it comes down to two simple things — spend big, and be perfect in recruitment. Easy-peasy, right?
Ok, so maybe I’m cherry-picking his comments here. What Fowler really gets to is he feels the recruitment over the past year has been sub-par despite the big price tags after getting it almost always right in the few years prior.
Darwin Nunez looks exciting at times, but he’s far from the finished article, and it could be quite a while if we see him fulfil, if at all. I think the same could be said of Cody Gakpo. Neither of them hit the ground running, and that’s being kind.
Luis Diaz was a little different. You could argue he was Liverpool’s best player until he got injured. But as a replacement for Mane? Not on the same page yet as a finisher. And the injury problems he’s already had hardly instill confidence.
I think that’s been one of the major issues. They’ve spent money, but it seems to be club policy to go out and buy young talent, rather than the finished article, despite the high prices.
With all three players having played less than a season for Liverpool, it seems a little harsh to pass judgment, especially with so many issue in the squad originating from midfield. Sure, I’d love it if Núñez were already finishing at an elite rate, but he seems a lot closer to breaking through than Fowler seems to give him credit for.
In Fowler’s estimation, Liverpool need to bring in three elite players this summer who can all walk into the starting lineup. Jude Bellingham is of course the player most feel can help solve some of the midfield woes, but Fowler doesn’t think FSG should blow all of their spending on the generational midfield talent.
So yeah, the owners MUST spend big money in the summer, but it’s a bigger issue than that. The recruitment has to be near perfect as it was in the past too, with elite level players who can make a big difference immediately.
That won’t come cheap. And it may not be wise to spend what money they have on one player. Let’s say the summer budget is £130m and they spend it on Jude Bellingham, one player just won’t solve the team problem they’ve got.
I think they need three players to go straight into the starting XI, at least. You’re not finding two of them for no fee. So either the budget is far beyond Bellingham’s fee (if they can get him), or they look for three players at £45m each.
That’s tough in today’s market, but it may be the sensible option…if the recruitment team can reproduce their previous golden touch which found so many players who so quickly proved to be amongst the elite.
With FSG courting additional investors, it does seem likely that a bigger spend than usual will be coming this summer. Of course, just spending money is only half the battle, as we’re seeing with Chelsea. Getting the right players in is a much more pertinent issue, on top of figuring out if the likes of Stefan Bajcetic, Harvey Elliott, and Fábio Carvalho truly are ready to step in and take over larger roles.