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Liverpool might have started the winter with a massive surprise by acquiring Virgil Van Dijk but have ended up as the biggest losers among the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ following the shutdown of the transfer window on 31st January.
They lost Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona but Jurgen Klopp didn’t bother to find any replacement and preferred to use the tools already available at the club instead of signing someone like Thomas Lemar or Riyad Mahrez. This has generated a frenzy of rage among the fans who are fuming due to Klopp’s reluctance to spend the ‘Coutinho money’ as well as the management’s lack of intent to transform the Merseysiders into title contenders once more.
The Reds witnessed more departures than inclusions this window, which left them with a shallow squad despite their participation in the prestigious Champions League football. Daniel Sturridge has been loaned out to West Bromwich Albion for the remainder of the campaign that has left them with Danny Ings and Dominic Solanke as the only available backup options for Roberto Firmino.
Also, lack of creativity in the middle of the park has often troubled the Reds this term and despite failed attempts to bring Naby Keita in the winter instead of his proposed summer move, the gaffer didn’t set his sights on alternate options.
Youngster Ovie Ejaria was loaned out to Championship side Sunderland, so is Marko Grujic who joined promotion aspirers Cardiff City temporarily. Also, wingman Ryan Kent was loaned out to impressive second-tier side Bristol City and Divock Origi, too, has not been recalled from his loan at Wolfsburg following a disappointing spell. Serbian winger Lazar Markovic is another player who’s out of the club as he’s joined Belgian club Anderlecht on loan for the rest of the season.
Although the above-mentioned ones were not really breaking into the first-team under Klopp and needed regular minutes for career growth, a couple of them (Daniel Sturridge and Ryan Kent) should have been retained to increase bench strength for the rest of the campaign.
Liverpool haven’t suffered injury nightmares but the boss will truly struggle to line up a strong attacking unit if the likes of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmino suffer significant injuries. Klopp has opted to hold on to the 18-year-old Ben Woodburn and despite his enormous potential, it will be an uphill task for the teenager to leave an impact similar to that as the lethal front trio.
Adam Lallana is not being viewed as Coutinho’s replacement but the Englishman is still struggling to be fit following months of absence with a thigh injury. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has delivered some decent performances so far since his summer deadline move but has been inconsistent at the same time and can not be as influential as Philippe Coutinho in an attacking midfield role.
This window has thus taken the Reds a couple of steps behind as they now have to pray for some luck to favour them in their quest for a top-4 finish.