Premier League opinion: Is lack of transfer window activity a cause for concern for champions Liverpool?

 rt.com  09/16/2020 17:35:57 

Premier League opinion: Is lack of transfer window activity a cause for concern for champions Liverpool?

It has been a quiet summer in the transfer market for the Premier League champions, as rivals look to bridge the gap by recruiting extensively. What effect will this have on the Reds ambition to retain their title?

In a recent interview, the Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hit back at suggestions the club was resting on its laurels following success last year. The repercussions from the Covid-19 pandemic are far-reaching and have generated uncertainty around the world, impacting the Merseyside outfit when others have bolstered their squads with expensive new signings. 

Klopp has been quick to defend the club’s transfer policy and has reassured fans they can still be successful on the field, insisting that Liverpool are a “different kind of club” than those “owned by countries, owned by oligarchs”  and for whom it is “less important how uncertain the future is.”

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Runaway champions last year, Klopp will be under no illusions of the scale of the task that faces his side this season.

In stark contrast, Chelsea have splashed over £200 million on new players including Kai Havertz and Timo Werner from Germany, as well as Ben Chilwell from domestic rivals Leicester,  seemingly making up for lost time after a two-window transfer ban and the Blues have wasted little time in improving their squad. 

With the window open until October 5, further recruits cannot be ruled out, particularly in the goalkeeping department with Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy rumoured to be closing on a deal to join the club. 

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Breaking their transfer fee record to sign Havertz for £89 million, as well as thriftily pulling off a deal to sign former PSG captain Thiago Silva for free to shore up an extremely shaky defence last year, the West London side has generated eye-catching headlines that have made the rest of the league stand up and take notice. 

The fact that the club will now be expected to challenge for the Premier League title will not be lost on manager Frank Lampard – the loosening of the purse strings by Roman Abramovich provides its own pressure to deliver quick success and Lampard must now complement the owner’s backing and deliver results on the field.

It is important to remember that high spending does not necessarily equate to success on the field. All too often in the past clubs have invested heavily on new players, only to find out their recruitment policy was flawed and, as alluded to by Klopp, an influx of players brings benefits but can also lead to problems. 

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Notably, it takes time for new signings to bed in, particularly those from abroad where players are not accustomed to the fast-paced and physical nature of the Premier League. Klopp was quoted by BBC Five Live as saying: “It’s not all about bringing in quality, you cannot bring in 11 best players in the world and just hope a week later they will play the best football they ever will play.” 

History shows success takes time. The impact Klopp has had on Liverpool is astonishing; a galvanising influence who has transformed the fortunes of the club, he has steadily built a squad and improved the side beyond recognition. 

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However, a protracted transfer-saga with Thiago Alcantara will surely have dampened the 53-year-old’s expectations of his club’s pull in the European market, and if a deal isn’t done with Bayern Munich for the Spaniard, it would make sense for Liverpool to tie up the uncertain future of academy graduate Rhian Brewster, and reassure midfield talisman Gini Wijnaldum that the Dutchman is wanted at the club.

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The charismatic German has instilled a team ethic and spirit that cannot be matched across the division, culminating in the club’s first league title in 30 years and will ensure they will be challenging again to retain their title.

Klopp will likely privately acknowledge the lack of signings has been a frustration, as he would have hoped to have made at least one significant signing to provide new energy and competition to the squad.

Now in the unusual situation of defending a first title in three decades, it will take all Klopp’s man-management and tactical skills to inspire Liverpool to retain the league should transfers be unforthcoming.

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