Over the years, Liverpool fans have witnessed their team bring in copious amounts of players, as the club repeatedly aims to take strides forward toward leaving what modern-media has christened a ‘period of transition’, and return to its former glory.
A story of infrequent success
In the last decade, many signings have failed to make a significant impact on the squad, and as a result have either been shown the exit door, shipped out on numerous loans, or somehow managed to stay and lurk around the fringes of Melwood. Names that will bring back these feelings of mediocrity and general disappointment will include Sebastián Coates, Iago Aspas, and Fabio Borini to state a few.
Occasionally fans of The Reds will have been excited by high profile, big money moves, such as the initial arrivals of Andy Carrol and Mario Balotelli. Although ultimately it is safe to say these weren’t the men to propel Liverpool to new heights.
It’s not always been doom and gloom over at Anfield. The spells players like Fernando Torres, and Luis Suárez enjoyed in the red half of Merseyside have catapulted them to near-legend status, and in more recent history the introductions of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané, and Mohamed Salah have presented LFC with arguably the most lethal attacking trio in world football. It is the usual infrequency of these huge transfers that means the summer of 2018 is fast becoming the likely start of something very special for Jürgen Klopp’s men.
Despite the 2017/18 season allowing Liverpool to demonstrate some top quality performances, evidenced through an unexpectedly successful Champions League campaign, the team’s weaknesses were clear for many to see. Last January, Klopp addressed his reoccurring defensive issues with the signing of long-term target Virgil Van Dijk, yet the outgoing Phillipe Coutinho left a gap in midfield. Simon Mignolet’s mistakes against Arsenal in late December last year blew a 2-0 lead and meant the points were shared at the Emirates. Loris Karius consequently claimed the number one spot in goal for the remainder of the season. Karius’ nightmare game against Real Madrid in the Champions League final in May meant that new personnel between the sticks was essential this summer.
A clear statement of intent
In August 2017 it was announced that highly sort after, Guinean midfielder, Naby Keïta would join Liverpool from Red Bull Leipzig upon the conclusion of the 17/18 season. The signing followed Keïta’s incredible efforts in enabling RB Leipzig to achieve a 2nd place finish in their first ever season in the German top flight. In 31 league appearances in the 16/17 season, Keïta registered 8 goals and 7 assists, he also created an average of 1.3 chances per match.
His attacking and creative ability, combined with his vigorous work rate makes him an ideal candidate to partner Jordan Henderson to supply those penetrative through balls once made by Coutinho, whilst also likely getting his name on the scoresheet a fair few times in the coming year. LFC’s beating of the likes of Manchester United, Barcelona, and a host of other top European teams to adding Keïta to their playing staff this summer, sends out a clear statement across world football that the reds mean business, and will not be financially bullied from their main targets like in recent seasons.
Defensive, Brazillian midfielder Fábio Henrique Tavares; known as Fabinho, joined Liverpool this summer for £44m. In the 16/17 season, Fabinho’s 9 goals contributed to Monaco’s surprise Ligue 1 title win over rivals Paris Saint Germain. In the 17/18 season Fabinho’s efforts resulted in another 8 goals, and his defensive ability aided Monaco to 2nd in the table. His ability to offer goals, particularly from range, paired with his physicality and strength at the back of midfield will prove beneficial to Jürgen Klopp as he lines his squad up in the forthcoming premier league season.
Fabinho’s diversity as a player will bring a new tactical war chest to Anfield revealing new traits in those around him. His signing will also add much needed depth in an essential area of Liverpool’s team following the departure of Emre Can to Juventus.
From a fan’s point of view, the world record-breaking signing of goalkeeper Allison Becker from AS Roma will be a hugely welcomed one. The unreliability of Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius meant patience had ran thin, and an accomplished, quality shot stopper was desperately needed.
Allison: the missing link?
Links between Allison and Liverpool have been circling around almost endlessly since before the world cup. Allison made a total of 22 clean sheets across all competitions last season for Roma and on top of that pulled off a string of unbelievable saves which carried his team into the Champions League semi-finals without conceding a single goal at home. His lightning reflexes and quality distribution will act as a breath of fresh air over the kop and also within the dressing room. The only questionable part of this move is the absurd fee being paid for a goalkeeper, however the funds received from Coutinho’s switch to Barcelona will soften the blow. Like keïta, Liverpool’s buying of Allison will be noted by football’s giants. Allison is one of the best goalkeepers on the planet and there is not many clubs that would not benefit from his services. It was rumoured Real Madrid were to come in for his signature, but The Red’s prevailed and showed once again they will not be scrambling for second choice buys.
Xherdan Shaqiri has been brought in by Klopp from Stoke City. The pacey Swiss winger is a set piece expert and holds incredible strength despite his small stature. When his arrival was announced questions were asked as to how Shaqiri will fit into a team where to achieve game time he would have to beat Mane and Salah to a place in the line-up.
Premier league teams this season will structure themselves more cautiously when dealing with Firmino, Salah, and Mane, and so it will prove hugely beneficial to have a ‘plan B’ in order. Liverpool will also want to realistically compete in all of the trophies they participate in this season, both domestically and on the continent. The high number of games the squad will play means it is important to have high quality back up for the magic front three, to ensure there is cover should an injury arise or a player need resting.
This summer transfer window has seen LFC bring in quality players in every position they appeared vulnerable last term. It has also seen several instances of the club identifying a main transfer target and acquiring them, whilst fending off competition from rival top clubs. The existing extremely talented members of the squad should continue to develop, and with this added strength could we be about to see some serious silverware return to Merseyside?