Liverpool's starting XI can go toe to toe with the best of the best. There is no doubting that. However, their strength in depth needs improvement. Man City lost Kevin De Bruyne for most part of the season, and yet, they not only ended up retaining the league title but also won the FA Cup and the League Cup.
It was the bench strength that was ultimately the difference between Liverpool and City in one of the most closely contested title races in Premier League history. When a key player gets injured or is not in form, who can come in and do the job? How do Liverpool's substitutes fare when pitted against their counterparts in rival teams?
These questions need assured answers. Europe has been re-conquered, and Jurgen Klopp and his men have captured major silverware to finally show something for all their efforts and beautiful football. It is time to bring back the one thing that Liverpool fans crave the most: The Premier League trophy.
This is why it is important for Liverpool do good business in the summer transfer window. Lets take a look at the reasons.
Manchester City have just signed Rodri who is without a shadow of a doubt a clever signing by the Premier League champions. Though they have had to break the record for their most expensive signing, City have a player at their disposal who is tipped to marshal their midfield in the same way that Fernandinho does. And while we are on the subject of rivals, Manchester United recently signed Aaron Wan-Bissaka. United have long suffered from an ageing and unreliable defence and the signing of Wan-Bissaka is a step in the right direction.
Rivals signing quality players is always an incentive to go out and buy a top player who tips the balance.
#2 Fixture pile up
The Reds will be expected to challenge for all the trophies they can compete for. Be it retaining the Champions League, or doing one better in the Premier League this time, or winning a domestic cup competition. Then there is also the small matter of flying to Qatar mid season to partake in the FIFA Club World Cup, a competition the Reds are surely eager to win having narrowly and frustratingly lost to Sao Paulo last time in 2005.
Moreover, the annual December fixture pile up will require that the squad is well rotated in order to win as many games as they can. Last season, Xherdan Shaqiri came off the bench to provide some memorable moments as the Reds enjoyed probably their most fruitful December.
However, the diminutive Swiss faded away in the second half of the season. Liverpool had a bit of a wobble resulting in costly draws in February and March, and Salah's goal drought coincided with that period of time. The squad could do with more match winners who can pick up from where the starting XI left off.
#3 Need for a creative midfielder
In games against Leicester and Everton, it was evident that a creative midfielder was needed to unlock a stubborn defence such as these. Liverpool's midfielders, though effective, are mostly in the same mold of relentless workhorses. They power on and press intelligently, but sometimes a little bit of flair can come in handy. Adam Lallana is one such player but injuries have hampered his last two seasons, and he does not seem to have a long term future at the cub. Perhaps a Coutinho-esque player could do the job for the Reds who can produce a moment of magic every now and then.
#4 To overcome the Formidables
It is crazy how even 97 points can't guarantee a league title. Pep Guardiola's Man City have raised the bar so high that other teams will have to step up to their level to even have a sniff at the title. Liverpool did, and it still wasn't enough. Winning the league is more important than anything else (including the Champions League) for Liverpool fans and this season, they will expect their team to land that elusive trophy.
Man City's superior bench allowed them to chalk up win after win at crucial stages of the season. Liverpool need to make sure they equalize that difference by buying players who can not only keep the starting XI on their toes but also get the job done when told to come on.
This City team is a machine, and can only be bested by another machine because they will not relent. Liverpool are very close to becoming one themselves. This transfer window will be key to them taking that final step to the holy grail.Published 09 Jul 2019, 20:15 IST