Liverpool: The first six fixtures of the new Premier League season
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In the last four transfer windows, Liverpool have signed just nine players on a permanent basis. Dating back to the 2019 summer window, the Reds have failed to add to their squad in the way others have and paid the price for this last campaign.
A number of freak injuries throughout the course of the season proved to be the team’s undoing, resulting in Jurgen Klopp’s side losing the same number of league games (9) as they had done in the three previous seasons combined.
Liverpool’s lack of squad depth soon became an issue as the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez began lengthy spells on the sidelines, forcing the team into an unfavourable reshuffle.
Jordan Henderson and Fabinho operated in central defence on a number of occasions for the Reds, meanwhile academy graduates Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips were also called upon.
Although Liverpool produced a remarkable end to the Premier League season to secure third place, the Reds’ lack of squad depth was laid bare for all to see.
But how did it come to this in the first place?
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After missing out on the title by a single point in the 2018/19 campaign, the Reds responded to this with minimal activity in the 2019 summer window.
Youngsters Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott were signed for a combined total of £3million, meanwhile two goalkeepers were added to the ranks as Adrian and Andy Lonergan arrived as free agents.
By January 2020, Liverpool had all but wrapped up the league title and saw little need for major outgoings. Takumi Minamino was the only man through the door, signing in a £7,250,000 deal from RB Salzburg.
The Reds went on to claim their first league title in 30 years, but again adopted a conservative approach when presented the opportunity to build on their success.
Finances were affected by the coronavirus pandemic, although the captures of Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota could be classed as quality acquisitions.
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One big issue with the summer window of 2020 was the fact that outgoing central defenders Dejan Lovren and Ki-Jana Hoever were simply not replaced.
Liverpool could not have foreseen the highly unfortunate injury setbacks that were to come their way, but there’s no doubting that this played a significant role in the team’s inability to cope with a relentless run of bad luck.
By the time January arrived, the Reds were in desperate need of reinforcements.
Liverpool’s first-choice centre-backs were all sidelined, leaving the inexperienced Phillips and Williams in a testing position.
A whole host of names were being linked with a move to Anfield but, in the end, it was Preston defender Ben Davies and Schalke’s Ozan Kabak who arrived.
Davies was signed for £500,000 but is yet to make his first-team debut for the club, while Kabak’s short stay could be deemed somewhat of a success.
The Reds will hope they don’t face such an unforgiving season as last year again, but lessons must be learned from this regardless.
If Liverpool are to go toe-to-toe with Manchester City for the title, this must be reflected by improving the options available in each area of the pitch.
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