The Hard Tackle analyses the business conducted by Liverpool and gives its verdict on their performance in the January transfer window.
Liverpool improved their attack with the signing of Cody Gakpo from PSV Eindhoven for a fee of around £34 million. However, Jurgen Klopp failed to address some of the glaring weaknesses in his squad. And it is fair to say that the Reds are no better than they were at the start of the window.
With the Reds languishing in ninth place in the Premier League table, the fans would have expected better business from the club during the January transfer window. It remains to be seen whether Klopp can paper over the cracks and get the Reds firing on all cylinders once again as the danger of missing out on UEFA Champions League football looms large.
Square pegs in round holes: Cody Gakpo
The Dutch attacker completed a move to Liverpool in January after a thoroughly impressive World Cup campaign. The 23-year-old was outstanding for PSV Eindhoven during the first half of the season. And he was expected to hit the ground running in the Premier League.
So far, Gakpo seems to be getting to grips with life in English football and has not been able to make the desired Impact. The Dutch international has been used as a winger as well as a striker from time to time. And the Reds are yet to determine his best position on the pitch.
With Jurgen Klopp yet to find a defined role for his new January arrival, Gakpo has seemed like a misfit at Liverpool so far. And the fans will be left wondering whether the £34 million spent on the Dutchman should have been invested in the other areas of the squad.
That said, the 23-year-old remains a top-class talent who has all the attributes to develop into a key player for the Anfield outfit in the long run. But for now, this seems like a “square peg in a round hole” kind of situation.
Glaring weaknesses overlooked
With Cody Gakpo being the only January arrival at Anfield, it is pretty clear that Liverpool have overlooked some of the major weaknesses in their squad once again.
Players like Jordan Henderson and Fabinho have struggled to perform at a high level this season. And a defensive midfielder should have been a top priority for Liverpool in the January transfer window.
They were heavily linked with a move for Fiorentina midfielder Sofyan Amrabat. But the Reds failed to secure his services despite rumours of Jurgen Klopp being in touch with the player’s representatives last month. Along with the midfield, Liverpool should have invested in a quality centre-back as well.
Virgil van Dijk has not been at his best this season, and the Dutchman is currently sidelined with a long-term injury. Joining van Dijk on the sidelines is Liverpool’s best defender this season Ibrahima Konate, who recently picked up a hamstring injury.
Klopp is now left with Joel Matip and Joe Gomez as his only reliable defenders. And both players have a long history of injury problems. So it is perplexing how Liverpool did not pursue a centre-back in the January transfer window.
Overall, it has been a largely underwhelming transfer window for Liverpool, with most of their weaknesses still intact. And the Reds are in serious danger of regressing further during the second half of the campaign.
The midfield and defence were in desperate need of reinforcements at the start of the month. But the Reds have chosen to ignore those problems and invest in a forward who is yet to adapt to the Premier League and is still discovering where he fits into Jurgen Klopp’s system.
The danger of missing out on Champions League qualification is very real right now. The Reds have thus risked their finances heading into the summer transfer window. In addition, they have also put a real question mark on the ability to attract top talents at the end of the season.
The Merseyside outfit are currently 10 points adrift of the top four in the league table. And Klopp will probably need a mini miracle in order to bridge the gap with Liverpool’s rivals.
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