Thursday, February 2, 2023

Liverpool’s Transfer Report Card: The Main Stand and Mané Get Top Marks, But Who Is The Dunce?

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Jon Depp (JD)
Eccentric writer, effervescent blagger. What he lacks in cheekbones, he makes up by being cheeky. The footballing Jack Sparrow pompously navigating the high-waves of journalism. 2015 International Football Blogging Award Finalist, the pin-up boy of The 4th Official.

The dust has settled, and the transfer window is at a close. And it’s time for … that beautiful behemoth of a main stand that Liverpool have propped up. Looks like something you could see from the moon, innit? Imagine the European nights at Anfield. Would be some experience, wouldn’t it?… Right, so, where were we? Oh, yes. the transfer review.

You can’t help but marvel at the new main stand, a monument which would find itself in any which list of the seven footballing wonders of the world, if there was such a list. (The Pancho Arena in Hungary, with a capacity of just four thousand five hundred, would top said list…) This thought just occurred to me, – do you think that the main stand was all an elaborate ruse to distract fans from pressing transfer issues?… Of course, not. Yes. But, it’s so big, pretty and shiny.

Liverpool – The Significant Arrivals

Sadio Mane – Southampton, £36m

Loris Karius – Mainz, £4.7m

Joel Matip – Schalke, free

Ragnar Klavan – Augsburg, undisclosed

Georginio Wijnaldum – Newcastle, £25m

Liverpool – The Significant Departures

Jordon Ibe – Bournemouth, £15m

Martin Skrtel – Fenerbahce, £5m

Joe Allen – Stoke, £13m

Christian Benteke – Crystal Palace, £32m

Lazar Markovic – Sporting Lisbon, loan


The Good

Sadio is going to be a star at Anfield, if his recent performances are anything to go by. His exhilarating, effervescence on the ball has wowed fans – as did his emphatic run and finish against Arsenal. If Liverpool are to attain any tangible success in the course of the season, the Senegalese international will be at the forefront of it.

On the opposite end of the pitch, Loris Karius will have an equally telling part to play in the fortunes of Juergen Klopp’s battling battalion. Simon Mignolet, as try as he might have had, still doesn’t inspire confidence among the backline – and the former Mainz keeper, who Kicker’s poll concluded to be the second best goalkeeper in the league, behind the massive Manuel Neuer, will bring his steely resilience into the fold once he recovers from his arm injury. Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan may be the two most understated transfers in the Premier League – the two central defenders’ arrival from the Bundesliga will go a long way to shore up the leaky Liverpool defence – both blessed with technical ability and composure.

There are big question marks, however, looming over the pretty head of the 25 million pound man, Genie Wijnaldum – who has struggled to find his bearings so far in Juergen Klopp’s system. Looking lost, and largely anonymous in his displays so far, he is yet to fully grasp the demands of his newly shoehorned role of a central midfielder. The signs aren’t encouraging for the former Feyenoord dreamboat.

The Bad

Liverpool fans have been tweeted their thumbs into a furious twist, advocating the rather obvious need for a central defensive midfielder and a left-back. Not since John Arne Riise and Javier Mascherano have the fans seen consistency and class in those two positions of the pitch. The collective executive decision to not pursue either off the field, may provide the Merseyside giants with the most embarrassing mistakes on it. They had ample time and opportunity to address the aforementioned issues, and if indeed they suffer because of it, the hierarchy will only have themselves to blame.

Grade: C +

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