Like it or loathe it, the transfer window is a dominant factor in the success or failure of a club’s season. While the ceaseless rumors can be exhausting—and unsettling for any team—it can also bring hope and expectation for what’s to come.
Liverpool’s transfer window hasn’t been so dramatic just yet. A couple of smart incomings in the shape of Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister were completed efficiently and with minimal fuss, while the main outgoings were all confirmed on July 1, when James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino departed with little fuss upon the expiry of their contracts.
Things could all change in an instant, though, especially since the Saudi Pro League has been splashing the cash all over the place.
As it stands, what are the best- and worst-case scenarios for Liverpool when the Premier League summer transfer window shuts at 11pm (BST) on September 1?
Liverpool sign Kylian Mbappe, Josko Gvardiol and Eduardo Camavinga while no one’s paying attention. Right?
Let’s be a little more realistic.
It’s been a fairly serene window for the Reds so far, and they’ll want it to remain that way.
Two midfield talents have been brought in to address key holes in the squad, while some dead weight has been shifted and the wage bill has been cleared up. That’s a good start.
Rumors abound, though. Jordan Henderson and Fabinho seem to be on the way out, while even Thiago Alcantara and Luis Diaz have been the subject of some of the latest reports.
Arguably, the loss of Henderson and Fabinho can be tolerated, while even a departure for Thiago wouldn’t be so bad. But losing all three in one go would be fairly dramatic. Meanwhile, Diaz leaving doesn’t bear thinking about.
So, Liverpool shipping out two of those three midfielders and bringing in at least one replacement (ideally a defensive midfielder) would be sound business, and keeping Diaz away from the riches of Saudi Arabia would be vital.
Throw in some defensive cover in the form of a center-back and a right-back and you’ve got the ingredients for a batch of smiles on Merseyside.
Before everyone starts catastrophizing, let’s just keep this simple, shall we?
The worst-case scenario is arguably losing players at the deadline without adequate replacements. While missing out on some targets wouldn’t be ideal, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. As it stands, Liverpool’s squad is strong on paper and should be primed and ready going into next season.
However, say that the club can’t resist a few tempting offers for players with hours before the window shuts but can’t find anyone to bring in to fill the gaps in time. Then there’ll be a problem.
Liverpool’s deadline-day history doesn’t exactly make for enjoyable reading (loan moves for Steven Caulker and Arthur Melo, spring to mind), so last-minute grabs for sub-par talent is not something Jurgen Klopp will want to see a repeat of. Liverpool’s transfer business in the last few years has largely been specific and methodical. Throw some chaos into the mix and things could go south fast.
Should Liverpool jettison Henderson and Fabinho but keep Thiago and the Spanish player’s injury issues persist, the Reds could be without a true senior midfielder with experience in the squad next season. The talent in the middle of the park is exciting, but you can’t really replace a head full of wisdom so easily.
Key losses and injury problems could also lead to some positional or formational reshuffling. Remember Liverpool’s nearly disastrous 2020-21 season that saw Fabinho deployed as a makeshift center-half amid a defensive crisis, leaving a chasm in the middle of the park where the Brazilian used to mop up incoming attacks? Then consider the short-lived experiment with what was effectively a 4-2-4 formation last season to accommodate all of Liverpool’s forward riches in a particularly barren run of form. Adjusting on the fly isn’t exactly Klopp’s best attribute, for all his undoubted talent.
So, above all, Liverpool will want to avoid any drama as August draws to a close. An unexpected departure or serious injury could throw things into serious disarray.