Liverpool have tended to avoid the January transfer window like the plague unless either motivated by desperation (see last term) or the right man being available at the right time (see 2018).
With the Reds a considerable 11 points behind Manchester City in the title race (albeit with a game in hand to play) and the Cityzens showing no signs of halting their remarkable progress, one might argue that the first condition at the very least has been satisfied.
It then, of course, raises the question as to what targets Michael Edwards and co. could look to pursue to help the side turn things around in the second-half of the season after the club marked it’s first involvement in the window with the sale of Tony Gallacher.
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Following our struggles in the backline last term courtesy of a ruthless spate of injuries that robbed us of talismanic No.4 Virgil van Dijk and his then stellar partner in crime Joe Gomez for much of the season, it initially appeared as if the middle of the park would be the next target for misfortune.
Whilst injuries have since largely dissipated, however, COVID absences have been a regular nuisance for Jurgen Klopp’s men as we look to build a vaguely consistent starting trio.
With Thiago Alcantara once more sidelined and Fabinho appearing to struggle following his own bout of the virus, our midfield has arguably looked the weakest link in the Liverpool chain.
We’ve seen links to the likes of Denis Zakaria, Franck Kessie, Renato Sanches and Florian Neuhaus mentioned since the summer window with a few other names dotted in between.
Given that the former duo are on expiring contracts, though, one might conclude it would be in our best interests to at least attempt to secure either on a pre-contract agreement.
A bargain bid, if the finances permit it at this stage of the season, may also be well-advised if the recruitment team deem one of the two likely to make an impact this term.
The issue of the forward line is a more complicated issue to solve than the midfield given that one has to convince a player to not only join Liverpool in the middle of the season but also risk being completely sidelined once Sadio Mane and Mo Salah return from the AFCON.
Realistically speaking, you’re either looking for a bench option comfortable with popping up every now and then and genuinely contributing like Divock Origi or a rare gem like Diogo Jota capable of staking a claim for regular first-team minutes.
With Bobby Firmino’s form dipping last term, the latter possibility was certainly open for our Portuguese international to seize but then we are talking about a new signing pushing one of our No.10 or No.11 for a first-team spot, which is another challenge altogether.
Therefore, it seems that the likeliest signing Liverpool would make (if any) would be to go for the younger end of the 20-24 age range – a Jonathan David-type player, for instance.
Given the Canadian’s contract with Lille is set to run for another two and a half years, however, we can probably safely rule out a move for the striker at this current point in time.
There are candidates with expiring contracts who have been linked with a switch to Merseyside who would be more affordable options, of course, with Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele being a prime option in that regard given the Blaugrana have yet to update his current terms.
Recent reports have suggested that the chances of Frenchman trading the Camp Nou for Anfield are somewhat slim as the club continues to engage in contract talks with the 24-year-old.
All in all, Liverpool’s likeliest bit of business in the winter window would appear set to be focused on the midfield department as we look to gain some sort of consistency in availability going forward.
It’s not a time of year we like to be active in, though we’ve certainly shown a willingness to dive into a window arguably characterised more by desperation than sound judgement when the right opportunity avails itself.
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