Liverpool had a disappointing 2022/23 Premier League campaign, but they were active this past summer to improve their squad.
Liverpool finished outside of the top four last season and failed to secure qualification to the UEFA Champions League. For a club of their stature, it came as a devastating blow, and there were serious questions raised about their capability of attracting top players during the summer transfer window.
Fast forward a few months, Liverpool have now completed an eventful summer transfer window, and they have plugged some major gaps in their squad. However, one has to admit that they could have used a few more additions to truly compete with clubs like Manchester City.
Heading into the summer transfer window, Liverpool needed to reshape their midfield unit and have done so by getting rid of a number of players and bringing in Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Ryan Gravenberch, and Wataru Endo. The Reds parted ways with players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita, James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.
Meanwhile, they even agreed a British transfer record fee with Brighton and Hove Albion for Moises Caicedo. But the deal did not materialise as the player wanted to join Chelsea instead. With the window now closed, one cannot help but feel that Caicedo was probably the missing piece of the puzzle as the Reds lack quality and depth in the defensive midfield department.
Apart from that, Liverpool needed to add more options to their defensive unit. Players like Joel Matip and Joe Gomez were largely underwhelming last season, and the Reds could have used a quality central defender who can slot in as a full-back as well. Liverpool parted ways with club legend, Roberto Firmino as well.
Ins: Dominik Szoboszlai, Wataru Endo, Alexis Mac Allister, Ryan Gravenberch.
Outs: James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, Naby Keita, Roberto Firmino, Fabio Carvalho (loan).
Marquee Signing: Dominik Szoboszlai
Liverpool signed Dominik Szoboszlai from RB Leipzig during the summer transfer window for a fee of around £60 million. They triggered the release clause of the Hungarian international, and the transfer has looked like a masterstroke so far.
The 22-year-old has managed to hit the ground running in the Premier League, and his performances have been assured in the first few games of the season. Szoboszlai is undoubtedly one of the best young midfield talents in the world right now, and he has shown that with Liverpool so far.
He has been one of the picks of the players for Liverpool in the Premier League and will look to build on his strong start to life in England and get better with experience. Liverpool needed a technically gifted midfielder who could help out defensively, add drive and physicality to the side as well and chip in with goals and assists.
The Reds have missed a complete central midfielder like that since the departure of Steven Gerrard. Szoboszlai has more than just inherited the former Liverpool captain’s legendary number eight shirt. He has lived up to the hype every bit and he promises to be a superstar for Liverpool in the coming seasons.
Value for money signing: Ryan Gravenberch
Liverpool completed a late move for the Dutch midfielder on deadline day for a fee of around £35 million, and he could prove to be a real steal if he manages to recapture his form and confidence. The 21-year-old had fallen down the pecking order at Bayern Munich, and he needed to leave in search of regular playing time.
Gravenberch was regarded as one of the best young talents in the world during his time at Ajax. But his development did not go according to plan after moving to Bayern Muich. Jurgen Klopp will feel that he can unearth a gem with the Dutchman, and it remains to be seen whether the German can nurture Gravenberch into a quality midfielder.
He could be the ideal long-term replacement for Thiago Alcantara who is now in his final year of the Liverpool contract. Gravenberch can control the tempo of the game, evade the press, drive forward with the ball and pick out teammates with defence-splitting passes.
However, he needs to work on the defensive side of his game and adapt to the Premier League before he can truly showcase his qualities. The reported fee is hardly a premium in today’s market, and he could prove to be a bargain buy for Liverpool in the coming seasons.
Inevitable Departure: Jordan Henderson
The former Liverpool captain has not been at his best for a while now. His performances were overly criticised last season, and he lost his regular starting spot as well. While there were no clear indications that he would be sold this summer, there was always a belief that Liverpool could use an upgrade and Klopp could dip into the transfer market for quality central midfielders this summer. The arrivals of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai signalled the end for the England international and he has now moved to Saudi Arabia to begin a new chapter of his career.
Henderson has been a loyal servant for Liverpool. But the Reds have clearly outgrown him and they need better players if they want to compete at the highest level. Henderson cannot afford to sit on the bench every week at this stage of his career either, and it is difficult to turn down a lucrative payday in Saudi Arabia as well.
The Big Miss: Joel Matip
Joel Matip has been a very useful player for Liverpool since joining the club on a free transfer from Schalke. However, he looked like a shadow of his former self last season, and the Reds were in desperate need of a quality central defender heading into the summer transfer window. They should have sold the 32-year-old and brought in a younger alternative.
Liverpool need someone better than Matip right now and signing a versatile central defender who can operate as a full-back as well would have been ideal. In addition to that, Matip is nearing the end of his contract at Anfield, and he will be able to move on as a free agent next summer. Selling him for a nominal price this summer and signing a replacement would have been a wise decision.
Liverpool had an eventful transfer window and quite frankly, they have done well to reshape the midfield unit. Heading into the summer transfer window, few would have argued that the midfield was in need of major surgery. Liverpool have done well to add a bunch of talented young players and an experienced utility man like Wataru Endo.
However, they are still lacking a quality defensive midfielder who can be the long-term replacement for Fabinho. In addition, the absence of a versatile defender leaves a gaping hole in the back four as well. Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate are the only reliable defensive options at the club right now.
Furthermore, there is a lack of quality backup for Trent Alexander-Arnold as well. Getting a quality young defensive midfielder and a versatile central defender could have turned an impressive transfer window into a flawless one for Liverpool.