In the wake of Saturday’s 7-0 decimation of a hapless Crystal Palace, the word from The Liverpool Echo is that Jurgen Klopp won’t be dipping into the transfer market next month, supposedly happy with the depleted defensive arsenal at his disposal.
Of course, the provenance of this information means that it should be taken with a pinch of salt– see The Echo’s respective stances on the Thiago and Alisson transfers just before their actual signatures.
But this is a good exercise for us fans in bracing ourselves psychologically, should the window be a barren one. I’m sure most of us can remember how this fanbase was on the precipice of a hysteric outburst at the lack of signings during the most recent window – right up until Thiago’s arrival was publicly confirmed. Whether such a response is replicated in the event of an uneventful January will very much depend on our form leading up to the conclusion of the transfer window. Objectively, though, can we truly afford to sign no one over the winter period?
The very notion of doing so would’ve been laughed at in the immediate aftermath of the injuries sustained to Joe Gomez and Virgil Van Dijk. But since then, Joel Matip and Fabinho (deputising at centre-back), as well as Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips, have all impressed when called upon. Ironically, our defensive record has also improved markedly- the record stands at three goals conceded in the last six league games. Far from perfect, but it makes October’s 7-2 defeat at Villa Park seem like a distant memory. It’s easy to buy into the idea that the current defensive options will see us through for the remainder of the season.
But the rationale behind making new signings has rarely ever been to simply bolster the squad for the here and now. It’s to prepare for the worst possible outcome. Klopp opted not to add to his defensive ranks in the summer, deeming that three senior centre-backs were adequate, and almost immediately lost 2 of them for the rest of the season. The chances of Liverpool losing more of their defenders from here are probably greater than those of having your two best defenders sidelined for an entire season within the space of a couple of weeks.
Eder Militao is reportedly a possible target for Jurgen Klopp in January and morale is high right now, with the recent run of results and the impending returns of Thiago and Shaqiri. But I can’t help that feel it would be irresponsible, borderline negligent, even, not to add to our paper-thin squad. The chance to clinch a second consecutive league title is very much there, as is the opportunity to have a real go at a seventh Champions League title. It would be a true waste to allow complacency to get in the way of those goals.