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Melissa Reddy on Liverpool’s midfield issues: Is the transfer window the solution or something else?

BY SkySports
08.29.2022
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Jurgen Klopp has said Liverpool do need more support in midfield, despite dismissing the possibility earlier in the summer; The Reds are struggling to find the right option in the transfer window and are unlikely to make a rash purchase before the 11pm deadline on Thursday

Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp

In the build-up to equalling the Premier League record for the biggest-ever victory, Jurgen Klopp had admitted his public stance on not needing to solve Liverpool’s midfield issues in the transfer market was incorrect.

While the 9-0 annihilation of Bournemouth was most welcome, highlighting the professional pride and fight in his side’s reaction to a rocky start to the season, accommodating opponents will not sway the fact the Merseysiders need to strengthen in that department.

Liverpool are measured on recruitment matters, and just as they do not allow one defeat or injury to shift the course of their thinking, neither will one victory – however mammoth.

Even Klopp’s admission that buying a midfielder is the smart move is not reactive, it had been the initial plan before being shelved as primary targets were unattainable.

Real Madrid snared Aurelien Tchouameni in a €100 million deal that was not financially practical for Liverpool, before factoring in personal terms.

Bayern Munich muscled in on Ryan Gravenberch, gaining assurances from him – as they did with Sadio Mane – long before the rest of Europe’s elite switched on.

Liverpool have kept a watching brief on Enzo Fernandez, who swapped River Plate for Benfica to continue his development and if Jude Bellingham was on the market this summer, they would’ve been front and centre in discussions.

Nicolo Barella is contracted to Inter until 2026 and would cost “silly money”.

Frenkie de Jong ideally doesn’t want to leave Barcelona, his contractual dispute drags on, and his wage bracket is out of bounds.

So it is not that the club’s recruitment team haven’t been searching for long-term remedies, just the pool of players considered the ‘right fit’ for a side wanting to compete for domestic and European honours is shallow.

As Klopp himself has explained: “You can imagine we are working constantly on these kind of things. We spoke about reasons why sometimes it is not happening, sometimes too expensive, sometimes not the right player. Situations change, but one thing stays important, it needs to be the right player.”

Liverpool are in a situation, given their lack of fit options and receding days before deadline, where they have to consider whether it is worth plumping for an option that is near enough being correct for them rather than nailed on. In this sphere is Manu Kone, Moises Caicedo, and to a lesser extent, Konrad Laimer.

Youri Tielemans profiles well and is available, but there clearly hasn’t been enough credence in what he offers and how to integrate it within the specific functionalities of midfield.

If primary targets are not available – and there’s no guarantee over them next summer either – then a short-term fix that has the tools to develop into long-term solution may work in this scenario.

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