Jurgen Kloppai??i??s countrymen are well versed with the appeal of quick fixes. They once allowed one of historyai??i??s most hated figures to rise to power. Of course, when Adolf Hitler was rapidly gaining popularity in Germany, he didnai??i??t do it by telling his people he would bring about the Second World War so soon after the first one had concluded. No, he did it by promising quick fixes. In a country reeling from the effects of the first World War and later the onset of the Great Depression, the promises of a party that would swoop in and fix issues ranging from more practical ones like unemployment, to rather more emotional ones like the loss of national pride after the defeat in the previous World War, was welcome to the masses.
Liverpool FC is a little like post World War I Germany — a lot of pride, but very little recent success to validate all that ego. As a result, the fans are in a constant state of impatience, always hoping the next player or the next manager will be the one to lead them back to the glory days. Thereai??i??s nothing wrong with having hope, but it needs to be balanced with practicality. Overly inflated expectations almost always tend to blow up in oneai??i??s face.
Jurgen Klopp is quite different from the former Nazi party leader of course. From day 1, heai??i??s been trying to temper expectations rather than fuel them.
a Expectations can be a really big problem. Itai??i??s like a backpack ai??i?? 20 kilos more! Iai??i??m not here to promise that against Tottenham you will see the new LFC, but maybe some of it. Everything in life takes time, the only thing nobody gives time is development.a ai??i?? Jurgen Klopp
Instead itai??i??s the fans that are overburdening the manager and the team with their dreams of an overnight turnover of fortunes. With every 4-1 against Manchester City and 6-1 rout over Southampton, the fans have responded by hailing their players footballing maestros, and their manager a genius. When these games have been inevitably followed by underwhelming performances, the same players have been declared a Brendan Rodgersai??i?? signingsa and a not worthy of wearing a Liverpool shirta . Neither of these stands is right, and there is a dire need for fans to ground themselves in reality, and really understand where the club stands.
Liverpoolai??i??s merry-go-round of poor transfers
Insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. In the past, Liverpool have conducted mass-recruitment, spending a pretty penny in the process, and not really seen any major reversal of fortunes. So now that results have been poor in recent weeks, what do fans want? New signings of course. Ignoring the fact that squad overhauls havenai??i??t helped in the past. And ignoring the fact that Klopp does not generally delve deeply into the scouting process, hence the transfer committee is likely to be just as influential as it was during Brendan Rodgersai??i?? tenure (if not more).
The good news is that Jurgen Klopp seems far from keen to jump onto the transfer bandwagon. Heai??i??s instead decided to focus on the rich pool of players already on the teamai??i??s rolls, either on loan to other clubs or playing for the youth club. This greatly reflects his vision and ability to curb any impulse to seek a ready-made answer in the transfer market.
Wealth of options to choose from
If you include the loan and youth players, Liverpoolai??i??s squad strength is pretty massive. So there is little sense in buying loads of new players, unless thereai??i??s conclusive evidence that the current crop canai??i??t cut it at the highest level. Seeing how itai??i??s still early days in the reign of Klopp, itai??i??s unlikely he would have been able to reach that conclusion about too many of his players.
In the last two weeks, Klopp has recalled loanees Tiago Ilori (Aston Villa), Sheyi Ojo (Wolverhampton), Ryan Kent (Coventry City), Danny Ward (Aberdeen) and Kevin Stewart (Swindon Town). Against Exeter City, he also utilized all of these players barring Ward, and played youngsters Cameron Brannagan, Joao Carlos Teixeira, Jerome Sinclair, Brad Smith and Connor Randall.
This is exactly what the youth academy is there for, and itai??i??s very pleasing to see Klopp isnai??i??t ignoring it and focusing on the transfer market. That being said, itai??i??s not as if the German should never sign a player. In the transfer market, there are 3 types of signings — the doai??i??s, the donai??i??ts, and the ones you sign only if you absolutely have to.
So then, thereai??i??s only two possible types of players Liverpool should be buying in the winter window:
- A promising youth prospect: Weai??i??re talking about someone like Divock Origi last year, and Marko Grujic this month. This is someone with the potential to be a future first teamer, at a relatively early stage of his development cycle, but who has become available for sale. In both cases Liverpool loaned the player right-back to the selling club, ensuring that the club got their man without disturbing the playerai??i??s (or clubai??i??s) season.
- A star player: This is the Mesut Ozil to Arsenal FC scenario. It may not be a player filling in a pressing need, but players of a certain calibre have to be nabbed the second they are available in the market. So if Mario Gotze or Marco Reus are available, you go for it, period.
In the summer windows, one can look at options beyond these two. Your scouting team can have a list of targets, clubs are more open to listening to offers, and you have an opportunity to move out some of your own players to make room for signings. You also have a solid pre-season ahead, so that players who might need to be brought up to speed on the teamai??i??s style of play can be worked with before theyai??i??re thrown into the deep end. January simply isnai??i??t the right time for all this.
ai??i?? the Donai??i??ts…
So what kind of signings should be avoided? Letai??i??s just call them the a Southampton signingsai??i??. These are the so-called a Premier League readyai??i?? players who seem like an improved version of the current squad, mostly based on their performances in the current season. Some examples of such players would be the likes of Saido Mane, Marko Arnautovic, and Riyad Mahrez. All 3 are talented players, and on paper would make good additions to a side that has not performed well in front of goal. But one good season does not a good player make. Keep in mind that Christian Benteke, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Roberto Firmino were all their former clubsai??i?? best players, and highly coveted at the time, but none of them have been instant hits at Merseyside. Therefore, to imagine that a January signing will suddenly improve your season is misguided, and you end up paying over the odds as most clubs donai??i??t want to lose their best players mid-way through the season.
One recent transfer rumour has linked Alexandre Pato to a move to Merseyside. What a pointless and risky transfer this would be. Liverpool already have 4 senior strikers on their rolls, excluding Roberto Firmino who can also play up front. Other than Daniel Sturridge, who is one day elder to Pato, all the other 3 are younger than the Brazilian. Before his move to the Brazilian league, his injury record at AC Milan was as bad as Daniel Sturridgeai??i??s. All 4 of the Liverpool forwards have proven themselves either in the Premier League (Ings, Sturridge, Benteke) or the French Ligue 1 (Origi).
Pato is exactly the kind of transfer Liverpool need to steer clear of. Additionally, talks of an early exit from the club for Christian Benteke are ridiculous. The big Belgian has not had time to settle at the club, with his 17 appearances for the club being overseen by two different managers with different styles of playing, and both of these styles being vastly different from how he was played at Aston Villa last season. He deserves till the end of this season at the very least, if not more.
ai??i??and the a Only-if-you-absolutely-have-toai??i??s
This is the a emergency signinga scenario — a situation all managers (and Boards) hope never arises. For a club with a relatively deep squad like Liverpool, injuries should be the last reason to sign a player, but there are exceptions. For example, the centre-half situation at Liverpool right now. When youai??i??re forced to play Jose Enrique and Tiago Ilori (who started his first competitive game of the season) as the centre-back pairing, the situation is truly dire. One could make a case for signing an experienced centre-half to step in, like Andrea Ranocchia (Inter Milan) and Neven Subotic (Borussia Dortmund), both of whom have been linked with a transfer to Liverpool FC.
Even in such an extreme scenario, seeing how Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure may possibly return within the week, these signings make no sense. You donai??i??t spend A?7 to A?10 million on players just to feature in a few games. Hopefully Liverpool FC will make it out of this window without any such expenditures.
History teaches us that short-cuts and quick-fixes can be accompanied by pretty massive pitfalls. Liverpool FC fans need to stop looking to the transfer market for the answers. Jurgen Klopp is at the helm, and his methods require investing time and effort in the players he works with. Heai??i??ll sign players when he comes across the right ones, but hopefully wonai??i??t be spending money searching for some unicorn signing that will miraculously fly the club to success.
And it is absolutely the right approach to take.