This is a PIVOTAL transfer window for Liverpool but Arne Slot era is off to a sluggish start

Last summer, Liverpool needed to overhaul their midfield and they did just that. 

It was known for a considerable time that Naby Keita, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would all depart at the end of the 2022/23 campaign. 

However, it was surprising to see Jordan Henderson and Fabinho call time on their Liverpool careers. The pair had struggled but few expected the manager to sign off on losing so much experience in a single transfer window. 

Money talks though. 

The Reds moved quickly to bring in Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai. After a failed attempt to sign Moises Caicedo, Wataru Endo swapped the Bundesliga for the Premier League, moving to Liverpool from VfB Stuttgart in a deal worth £16 million. The midfield rebuild was finished off with the late arrival of Ryan Gravenberch from Bayern Munich.  

This time around, the squad doesn’t need such drastic action. Contrary to popular belief though, it isn’t anywhere near the finished article as some would have you believe. 

Joel Matip and Thiago both left having not had their contracts renewed. There’s an argument to be made for not replacing the latter, especially with him missing the entirety of last season, but the former has left a void within the squad. Jarell Quansah stepped up and made himself a part of Jurgen Klopp’s first-team plans but the Reds are still threadbare in defence. 

Yoro links 'have substance'

Leny Yoro is wanted and, per The Athletic, the link to the Frenchman is the only one with real substance so far this summer. The feeling is he’s viewed as an opportunistic signing due to his contract situation combined with the fact Real Madrid, named as the club most likely to sign the Lille centre-back, are a little strapped for cash having spent a fortune signing Kylian Mbappe. 

Regardless of what happens with Yoro, a centre-back needs to arrive this summer. On paper, Liverpool have four centre-backs at their disposal in Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate, Quansah and Joe Gomez. In reality, things are a little different.

Konate, as good as he is, is hardly reliable. He’s started just 40% of the Premier League matches since moving to Anfield from RB Leipzig. Obviously, this number is impacted by Klopp’s decision to ease him into life following his move from Germany. But injuries have caused him to miss a lot of matches and then there were times the German tactician was forced to limit his minutes, so he was rested

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Of course, past injuries aren’t a predictor for future ones but there’s enough evidence to assume you aren’t going to get 4,000 minutes out of Konate in a single season. 

If Quansah is sharing the right-sided centre-back role with the Frenchman, who eases Van Dijk’s workload? Because that is something Liverpool are going to have to address sooner rather than later. He’s 33 next week and he’s played a lot of football over the years. 

Gomez could step up but he’s adopted the Milner role of being the utility man for this team. He fills in at full-back, on either flank, and Liverpool need someone like him within the squad capable of playing several roles. 

Centre back needed

Andrew Robertson and Kostas Tsimikas seem partial to the odd stint on the sidelines these days. The fear with Robertson is that that heavy period across 2018-2022 is finally catching up with him, just as it did to other mainstays in the team such as Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Gini Wijnaldum, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson. 

The signs are there. There’s no point waiting until it has happened before you react. The wise thing to do would be to ensure there’s already a plan in place for the eventual drop-off. In Gomez, Liverpool have that. But if he’s part of the centre-back rotation cycle, there’s a problem. 

A new centre-back is needed. There’s a strong case to bring in someone who can play at left-back too, with the potential to be the long-term heir to Robertson. 

Transfer plans also hinge on what the plan is with Trent Alexander-Arnold. Is he a right-back? If so, does the midfield have enough quality? If he’s a midfielder, what’s the plan at full-back? Conor Bradley is a talent but can he play 40 matches there next season or is a signing required to share the burden? 

Liverpool's contract troubles

All of this needs to be considered and that is before potential sales are assessed. There are still doubts about the futures of Caoimhin Kelleher and Luis Diaz while Mohamed Salah, Alexander-Arnold and Van Dijk are in the final 12 months of their deals. Combine all of this with the changes off of the pitch and this could easily be a summer of high turnover for the Reds. 

Liverpool might not need to overhaul one particular area of their team but the idea that this group is just the odd signing away from being complete is far fetched at best. The chasing pack are already making moves.

The Reds, who finished third last season, are part of the chasing pack but, for whatever reason, they’re being a little sluggish early on in this transfer window. The complete opposite of last summer despite it being a pivotal window in the Richard Hughes and Arne Slot era. 

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