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Transfer Window Review: Why Signing A Central Defender Would Have Made Liverpool’s Transfer Window A Perfect One

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Jurgenn Klopp
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Analysing Liverpool’s Transfer Window – How Did The Reds Fare This Summer?

Liverpool had an eventful transfer window this past summer. The Reds finished 4th in the league last season and had the prospect of Champions League football returning to Anfield, coming into the summer. So, squad strengthening was a must for Jurgen Klopp, if his team were to challenge on every front in the new season.

Let’s take a look at the business that they were able to do and how they fared in the window in an overall sense.

Outs: Mamadou Sakho, Lucas Leiva, Kevin Stewart, Andre Wisdom 

Loan Departures: Divock Origi, Connor Randall, Sheyi Ojo, Ryan Kent 

Liverpool got rid of fringe players in the summer, selling off the likes of Andre Wisdom and Kevin Stewart to Championship clubs. Long-serving midfielder Lucas Leiva decided to move on in search of regular game time and joined Serie A side Lazio. Outcast Mamadou Sakho was sold on the transfer deadline day to Crystal Palace for a fee of £26million. 

Divock Origi was loaned out to German side Wolfsburg given he would not be getting a lot of first-team football at Anfield, along with a number of players from the youth and reserve sides.

Mamadou Sakho
Mamadou Sakho

Ins: Mohamed Salah, Dominic Solanke, Andrew Robertson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita (2018) 

Recruitment began early, with the signing of Egyptian attacker Mohamed Salah for a club record fee of £36.9million fee, and young striker Dominic Solanke was brought in for free from Chelsea. Left-back Andrew Robertson was signed from Hull City for a fee of £10million and Naby Keita was finally nabbed away from RB Leipzig, after a whole summer of efforts. The Guinean will be joining only next summer, after Liverpool agreed to meet his release clause of £48million. 

And there was more business done on the deadline day, when the Reds signed versatile midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal, from under the noses of Chelsea for £35million.

How Did They Fare In The Window?

The club got most of their business done early in the window, with the capture of Salah and Solanke completed even before they began pre-season training.

They are proving to be great additions to the squad already. Salah has already scored a couple of goals and has turned an already dangerous Liverpool attack into a more fearsome prospect. Solanke may not have had a great deal to do so far, but he displayed his quality during the pre-season and will be ready to step up when the team needs him. Considering his talent and potential, he could turn out to be a great signing for the Reds. 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joined Liverpool from Arsenal

The left-back position was a troublesome one for Klopp last season. With Alberto Moreno struggling, the German had to rely on veteran midfielder James Milner to do the job at left-back throughout last season and the former England international did a sterling job of it. However, coming into the new season, with European football at stake, Liverpool needed to address that issue and they have done that by signing Andrew Robertson. 

The Scotland international has played a solitary game so far, but did enough in that one outing to prove that he will be a valuable addition to the squad, and might prove to be a great bargain. 

The jury is still out on Oxlade-Chamberlain, given that he hasn’t been able to kick on the immense potential that he has shown in his six years at Arsenal. There remain questions over his best position and whether or not he possess the quality to replace any of the players from the playing XI that Klopp currently fields. But he is someone whose form has been on the rise in the last several months, and is only going to improve from hereon. In due time, he will prove himself and will turn out to be a good piece of business for the Reds.  

One of Liverpool’s primary targets this window was Naby Keita of RB Leipzig. The club saw multiple bids of over £50million get rejected, with the German club holding firm. Eventually they gave up and the Merseysiders were able to sign Keita up, albeit for the 2017/18 season. The 22-year old is currently one of the most exciting midfielders around and it was a shrewd move by the Reds to get the business done this year itself.

Apart from all this, the biggest positive for Liverpool will be the fact that they were able to hold on to star playmaker Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian was chased vehemently by Spanish giants Barcelona, as a replacement for their lost star Neymar, who had moved on to PSG. They made several bids in excess of £100million, and the player himself submitted a transfer request in order to force through a move. But the Reds did not budge and ended up retaining him.

While it is fair to say that they haven’t missed him a whole lot in the opening few weeks of the season, Coutinho remains one of the best creative players in the Premier League and will have a huge part to play in any success that Liverpool want to achieve. He may be in an unhealthy state mentally, but he will be back and will make a huge difference for the club.  

However, what will hurt the team is the fact that they could not bring in a new centre-back before the window closed. Central defence is an area where the Reds needed serious reinforcements, without a doubt. They can’t expect to go through an entire season with just three recognised senior centre-back options in Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan, more so given Lovren’s injury record.

Mohamed Salah (2nd from left)

Yet, Klopp failed to address this issue, but it was not due to a lack of efforts though. The Reds tried everything possible to get Virgil van Dijk from Southampton, but the Saints wouldn’t sell. Makes one wonder though, why, despite knowing their stance, Liverpool didn’t turn their attentions elsewhere?


It has been a very good summer in terms of business for Liverpool, but clearly, they have missed a trick in not bringing in a centre-half. Had they managed to do that, it would have capped off an almost perfect transfer window for the Reds.