The Hard Tackle analyses Liverpool’s transfer business and gives its verdict of the Merseyside giants’ performance in the summer transfer window.
The summer transfer window that slammed shut earlier this week produced some intriguing stories and narratives. It also gave us some of the most unthinkable transfers before finally drawing to a close in a typically frenetic fashion as several clubs across Europe scrambled to get the deals over the line.
However, there was one club that was barely active in the transfer market from the looks of things. We are, of course, talking about Liverpool, who barely moved the pieces around in their squad in the two-month long summer transfer window.
Indeed, the Reds signed just one player in the form of Ibrahima Konate, who arrived early in the window. In addition, very few players were moved out, at least among those who have been there or thereabouts in the first-team setup, with Georginio Wijnaldum and Xherdan Shaqiri the only significant departures.
There have been contrasting opinions over Liverpool’s decision to not be too active in the transfer market, with the Merseyside giants instead of focusing on tying down key players to long-term deals. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Liverpool and how they fared in the summer transfer window while also giving its final verdict on the overall business.
INS: Ibrahima Konate
OUTS: Georginio Wijnaldum, Xherdan Shaqiri, Harry Wilson, Taiwo Awoniyi, Marko Grujic (loan), Ben Davies (loan), Ben Woodburn (loan), Rhys Williams (loan), Sheyi Ojo (loan)
MVA (Most Valuable Addition): Ibrahima Konate
No prizes for guessing who has been picked here. After all, Liverpool only signed one player while also promoting Harvey Elliott to the first-team setup full-time. While Elliott is, on paper, arguably a better addition to Jurgen Klopp’s squad, he has not been brought in from elsewhere, which is why Konate has been picked on the technicality.
The Frenchman, though, is not a bad signing by any stretch of the imagination. Yes, he has had his fair share of injury troubles in the last few years, with those spells on the sidelines being for longer periods, which adds to the concern. However, the 22-year-old has an incredibly high ceiling.
So, if Klopp and his coaching staff can work around the fitness problem, then there is a big player at the disposal of the Liverpool manager. With Joe Gomez’s own injury issues always looming over him and Joel Matip approaching 30, Konate is an addition who can prove to be a long-term solution for Liverpool.
With that in mind, the £36 million outlay appears to be a shrewd piece of business by Liverpool, who ought to derive a lot of success with him lining up at the heart of the defence for years to come. For now, Konate is being eased into the side by Klopp, with Joel Matip ahead of him in the pecking order, and it remains to be seen if he can make an impact this season.
Shrewd Work (A Departure That Is Ideal For All Parties): Xherdan Shaqiri
Speaking of shrewd work, the departure of Xherdan Shaqiri does fall in that category. While the sale of Harry Wilson helped Liverpool recoup a higher sum, Shaqiri’s absence has helped the Reds offload a player who had been unable to get a look-in in the last couple of seasons while also benefiting an up and coming player.
The fee raked in from his sale barely beefs up Liverpool’s wallet, but it does help to fast-track a certain Harvey Elliott into the thick of the action. The teenage prodigy is a player who has been praised from all quarters, and he has also drawn comparisons with Lionel Messi.
And after starting two of Liverpool’s three games so far this term, a bright future seems to be on the horizon for Elliott. That he can feature in midfield and attack – just like Shaqiri could – only adds to the reasoning behind the Swiss international’s departure from Anfield.
As for Shaqiri himself, the move to Lyon is sure to help him resurrect a stuttering club career at a team that is likely to be vying for the UEFA Champions League places. With Shaqiri very much at the peak of his powers, he could be set to make a big impact for Lyon, who had been in search of a replacement for Memphis Depay.
The Big Miss (A Player Who Should Have Left): Caoimhin Kelleher (loan)
This section is usually reserved for players who ought to have been sold. However, in this case, we have picked a player who would have benefited by leaving Liverpool, albeit only temporarily so. We are talking about Caoimhin Kelleher, who has to be sent out on loan by the Reds sooner or later.
The young goalkeeper has proven to be quite an asset for Liverpool whenever trusted by Klopp, with his most recent run seeing him make an impact in the Champions League. Having shown a lot of promise, Kelleher would have been served really well if he gained first-team experience elsewhere before returning to Liverpool.
Yes, he is unlikely to get much game-time as long as Alisson Becker is at Liverpool. However, the Brazilian goalkeeper is nearing his thirties, meaning Kelleher could start to come into contention for a bigger role in a few years’ time.
However, if he cannot manage to make any significant progress in his game by seeking first-team opportunities on loan, he might not be in contention at all. It remains to be seen if he gets the loan exit in January, having been linked with such a move last winter as well. For now, he is stuck as a backup behind Alisson.
Final Verdict: A MIXED BAG
Despite barely adding any player to Jurgen Klopp’s squad, the summer transfer window appears to be largely a successful one for Liverpool. Yes, they perhaps missed a trick by not signing an attacker, especially with Divock Origi being linked with a potential move to Turkey.
However, Klopp has the option of keeping Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Harvey Elliott as potential backup options for the attacking unit, with Takumi Minamino another option at his disposal. Having said that, the turn of the year, which will come with the advent of the Africa Cup of Nations, might provide a stiff test for Liverpool, with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah likely to represent their respective nations.
As for the reluctance to sign a midfielder, Elliott’s promotion and the decision to not sell Curtis Jones could help vindicate the decision. In Ibrahima Konate, Liverpool have signed a potential long-term solution in defence while they also managed to sell two unhappy players in Harry Wilson and Xherdan Shaqiri.
So, if they can manage to rake in enough money to have a positive net spend, the transfer window could be a success for Liverpool, especially after tying down just about every key player to a long-term deal. The turn of the year, though, could be the litmus test for Jurgen Klopp & co.