It would be incorrect to say Liverpool went through the entire summer transfer window without making a signing. Technically speaking, the European champions made three additions to their squad, with teenagers Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott and former West Ham goalkeeper Adrian all signing.
It would, however, be fair to say none of these signings will greatly improve Liverpool in the short term, with the combined sum of just £1.7 million used to capture all three. In these case of van den Berg and Elliott, these were additions with one eye, maybe even both eyes, on the future. And Adrian was signed to replace Simon Mignolet as the Reds’ number two behind Alisson Becker.
Indeed, it was a quiet summer at Anfield. Last summer saw Liverpool make Alisson the most expensive goalkeeper in history, with Naby Keita also signed for big money. Six months before that they made Virgil Van Dijk the Premier League’s most expensive defender, smashing their club record transfer fee. The contrast between all this and the crickets of this summer was stark.
Some will argue that Liverpool didn’t need to make many squad adjustments. They are European champions, after all. But it is almost always a good idea to strengthen from a position of power and Jurgen Klopp’s side failed to do that this summer transfer window.
As historic as the 2018/19 season was for Liverpool, they still finished behind Manchester City in the Premier League table. The Reds may have pushed them all the way, but as far as their title ambitions are concerned there is still work to do to catch Pep Guardiola’s champions.
City made two big signings to improve their starting lineup, with Rodri signed from Atletico Madrid as the successor to Fernandinho and Joao Cancelo lured from Juventus. Both these players will strengthen a squad already considered the strongest in the Premier League, maybe even in Europe.
Klopp has moulded this Liverpool team in his own through good coaching, but the acceleration of their development came through ruthless spending. When the Anfield side needed a centre back, they got the best one they could find. When they needed a goalkeeper, they did the same.
There was nothing ruthless about Liverpool’s business this summer. It’s difficult to escape the feeling that having given themselves such a strong platform last season they have spurned an opportunity. Improving on last season was always going to be difficult. Even more so now.
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