July 28, 2017, 05:47:48 PM

Author Topic: Summer Transfer Window 2017  (Read 1372 times)

Offline Tes

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Re: Summer Transfer Window 2017
« Reply #60 on: June 28, 2017, 08:56:09 AM »
Left-Backs & Defensive Midfielders Are Buzzwords, But Liverpool Need A Centre-Back Partnership Too

James Milner at left-back, Jordan Henderson as the nominally holding midfielder. If Liverpool supporters had been told in May that would be the case for a League Cup second round fixture at Burton in August, they might have looked worried, but a train of thought along the lines of “it’s only Burton” would likely have prevailed.

Right, and perfectly acceptable for a good performance and result as it turned out, but it’s not only Burton—it was also Burnley and it’s also likely to be the case against Tottenham Hotspur. As incredible as it seems, two of the areas the Reds most needed reinforcements in over the summer were seen as perfectly fine, worthy of sales rather than additions. Fair enough if Jurgen Klopp believes his options to be capable of coping and playing the game he wants to play, but Liverpool have another pressing need to sort out: the centre of defence.

Unlike left-back and defensive midfield, this area of the team has been revamped: a 50 percent changeover in personnel, no less, with Kolo Toure and Martin Skrtel replaced by Ragnar Klavan and Joel Matip. Bundesliga signings were expected to be reasonably commonplace for Klopp, but it’s a fair bet most Reds supporters would have been hoping for a Johannes Geis, Jonathan Tah or (say it quietly) Mario Gotze rather than a defender they didn’t even realise existed, despite playing against him twice the previous season.

So far, it has been a decidedly mixed bag once again for Liverpool’s back line, early days though it might be.

Alternately impressive and shambolic in possession, it’s without the ball where the defenders cause most alarm. Positionally they each make errors, their timing of when to step out of the line and challenge higher upfield is inconsistent at best…and yet each look capable of having the odd monstrous performance and stopping everything, too.

The big issue is that Liverpool have not been able to arrange a preferred pairing and establish an understanding in defence, not just this season but for years previously.

Jamie Carragher’s retirement and Daniel Agger’s consistent injuries meant Martin Skrtel was often in the side by default, but even he was in and out under Brendan Rodgers initially. The Ulsterman then switched between a back three and a back four, signed, stuck with and then dropped Dejan Lovren and, somewhere in the middle, made Emre Can a midfielder-turned-centre-back-cum-right-back.

The defence has been muddled, meddled with, left to fend for itself and heavily criticised because of individual errors…but those errors all stem from having no cohesion, no leadership, no automatic fall-back position to a determined barrier between the opposition attackers and the much-maligned Simon Mignolet. In short, not enough coaching.

As soon as the ball is lost, the default for successful teams is to regain shape, take up appropriate positions and align themselves to win back possession—whether that’s by pressing high, sitting in a low block or whatever other solution the coach comes up with. Liverpool’s defensive mechanisms have been ill-prepared at times, and seemingly barely thought out at others. And so much of it can be traced back to not having a regular pairing at the back who know each other, trust each other and have a simple understanding of who takes on which job at any given moment.

It doesn’t help, of course, that the team’s best defender—Mamadou Sakho—has been alternately injured, ignored, injured again, falsely suspended and then kicked off a pre-season tour. The Reds need him at his best, but it’s looking more likely that they won’t have him at all, at least over the first half of the season if a loan spell is arranged to “regain fitness.”

Lovren and Matip, then. It still looks the most likely duo, even with Klavan getting the nod at the start of the Premier League campaign after a more impressive pre-season, and it would help Liverpool tremendously if Matip could live up to the high praise lavished upon him by Klopp after his free transfer was confirmed. Powerful in the air, strong in possession, recovery pace and aggression—Matip has all the basic tools for success, but defending relies on so much more. The faces ahead of him will likely not change too much this season, with fewer matches and less rotation, and the former Schalke man must ensure he makes the most of that consistency which has been missing in seasons gone by.

Whether or not more additions are made before the transfer window shuts, Liverpool will get nowhere near their aim of winning titles without creating a far more solid defensive base than they have managed so far, and that must start with establishing a regular pairing in the centre.


A good piece, and appropriate for where we are now. Actually, where we still are, as this was published  in August of last year, 6 days before the Summer window closed. The Winter window came and went, the current one officially opens in days, but apart from the reference to fewer games, outside of possibly Van Dijk and Keita (and neither are exactly nailed on), the date could be changed to 2017, but everything would still be current.
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Offline Tes

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Re: Summer Transfer Window 2017
« Reply #61 on: July 19, 2017, 12:32:41 PM »
Surely now that we've had a second bid of £66M rejected for Keita, we need to move on. If we can't actually sign him this Summer, then let's get a first refusal at the £48M clause he supposedly has in his contract for next Summer, and either look to bring someone else in (first place to look is the French league) or decide if we can mould Grujic or Can into the role that Klopp had in mind for Keita.
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Offline Tes

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Re: Summer Transfer Window 2017
« Reply #62 on: July 19, 2017, 12:42:48 PM »
Looks like we're getting Robertson from Hull for £8-10M as our new left back.

Maybe he's the Plan B and the Plan A has yet to be revealed, or maybe Klopp plans to utilise Milner alongside Robertson for this season and look to upgrade next Summer as he sees the spine of the team, midfield and at least one central defender as more pressing an issue.

What worries me with lowering the importance of the full back positions this Summer, is that one of the ways we can tighten up defensively is to stop the supply from wide areas into the box, as that's a key area where we struggle to defend. Having a quality left back that doesn't get caught out of position, who is able to avoid giving away cheap free kicks in wide areas, likewise cheap corners and understands the importance of covering his centre half in behind and around the back, would help tighten up our defence to a worthwhile degree.

I'm not saying Robertson can't be that. He may well push on in his development and prove to be capable of providing what we need, it just feels like some positions are trying to be fixed 'on the cheap' in comparison to other positions, even taking into account the cost differential between certain positions.
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Offline Tes

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Re: Summer Transfer Window 2017
« Reply #63 on: July 19, 2017, 01:39:22 PM »
Surely now that we've had a second bid of £66M rejected for Keita, we need to move on. If we can't actually sign him this Summer, then let's get a first refusal at the £48M clause he supposedly has in his contract for next Summer, and either look to bring someone else in (first place to look is the French league) or decide if we can mould Grujic or Can into the role that Klopp had in mind for Keita.

Leon Goretzka from Schalke could be a nifty purchase. With Can's contract still to be signed, and who knows if Hendo will make it through the season, Goretzka is a good fit for either player. It wouldn't mean we couldn't go back for Keita next Summer, but it would strengthen us in an area where we look anything but strong to weak, depending on circumstances.
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Offline Edward224

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Re: Summer Transfer Window 2017
« Reply #64 on: July 20, 2017, 05:42:27 PM »
Looks like we're getting Robertson from Hull for £8-10M as our new left back.

Maybe he's the Plan B and the Plan A has yet to be revealed, or maybe Klopp plans to utilise Milner alongside Robertson for this season and look to upgrade next Summer as he sees the spine of the team, midfield and at least one central defender as more pressing an issue.

What worries me with lowering the importance of the full back positions this Summer, is that one of the ways we can tighten up defensively is to stop the supply from wide areas into the box, as that's a key area where we struggle to defend. Having a quality left back that doesn't get caught out of position, who is able to avoid giving away cheap free kicks in wide areas, likewise cheap corners and understands the importance of covering his centre half in behind and around the back, would help tighten up our defence to a worthwhile degree.

I'm not saying Robertson can't be that. He may well push on in his development and prove to be capable of providing what we need, it just feels like some positions are trying to be fixed 'on the cheap' in comparison to other positions, even taking into account the cost differential between certain positions.

Milner will still be our No.1 left back with Robertson pushing him.

With Stewart going the other way for £8m it's basically a free transfer, so can't complain for a decent, youngish player who has proven to be a good and potential to be very good left back for hardly not outlay.

People who I speak to say he reminds them of Steve Finnan a little bit, can't say I've seen enough of Robertson to judge that comparison though.

Offline Tes

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Re: Summer Transfer Window 2017
« Reply #65 on: July 21, 2017, 12:09:20 AM »
Milner will still be our No.1 left back with Robertson pushing him.

With Stewart going the other way for £8m it's basically a free transfer, so can't complain for a decent, youngish player who has proven to be a good and potential to be very good left back for hardly not outlay.

People who I speak to say he reminds them of Steve Finnan a little bit, can't say I've seen enough of Robertson to judge that comparison though.

Whilst it's not ideal, it's a lot better than Milner as first choice and Moreno as an obvious second choice.

Interesting comparison with Steve Finnan.

As you say the Stewart money, or else we should recoup the outlay on Moreno, makes it break even, and at least it improves on last season.
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Offline Tes

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Re: Summer Transfer Window 2017
« Reply #66 on: July 21, 2017, 12:20:14 AM »
I can't see the point in upping the Keita bid by just £4M to £70M, as seems to be a mooted possibility.

Surely we either go to at least £75M, or just try and preserve a relationship with Red Bull, and attempt to get first refusal for next Summer, and at the same time move on to another target so we don't miss out all together.

Likewise with Van Dijk. Do we make one big effort and then move on if not successful?

If not, we risk being arguably weaker than last season with Lucas having left, unless Sakho gets a reprieve. Even then, we could do with upgrading Klavan, if not Lovren.

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Offline Edward224

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Re: Summer Transfer Window 2017
« Reply #67 on: July 21, 2017, 12:26:29 AM »
I can't see the point in upping the Keita bid by just £4M to £70M, as seems to be a mooted possibility.

Surely we either go to at least £75M, or just try and preserve a relationship with Red Bull, and attempt to get first refusal for next Summer, and at the same time move on to another target so we don't miss out all together.

Likewise with Van Dijk. Do we make one big effort and then move on if not successful?

If not, we risk being arguably weaker than last season with Lucas having left, unless Sakho gets a reprieve. Even then, we could do with upgrading Klavan, if not Lovren.

I feel we'll put in one last bid for both............I think we stand a better chance of getting Van Dijk though.

Offline Tes

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Re: Summer Transfer Window 2017
« Reply #68 on: July 21, 2017, 08:49:37 PM »
I feel we'll put in one last bid for both............I think we stand a better chance of getting Van Dijk though.

Looks like we've reached the 'take it or leave it' stage with Keita:

Liverpool planning a third and final offer for Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita

The Premier League side will make a final bid for Leipzig's star player Keita, which is understood to be in the region of £75m with £40m paid up front

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/transfers/naby-keita-liverpool-final-transfer-offer-75million-rb-leipzig-a7854176.html

If we don't get him now, we probably never will, as it will be very hard next Summer, especially if the sub £50M clause is true.

Maybe the only other way is if his form drops right off as a result of not being allowed to leave, and that puts other teams off next Summer, whilst we take the risk.

It will be interesting to see how Mahmoud Dahoud fares at Dortmund this season, having been forced to stay at Borussia Mönchengladbach last Summer, his form dipped dramatically last season, and Dortmund picked him up for just £10.2M in June.
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Offline Tes

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Re: Summer Transfer Window 2017
« Reply #69 on: July 21, 2017, 08:54:12 PM »
I feel we'll put in one last bid for both............I think we stand a better chance of getting Van Dijk though.

Van Dijk has told his manager he wants to leave and has been banished to training alone:

http://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/831522/Virgil-van-Dijk-Liverpool-Jurgen-Klopp-line-up-next-season-sportgalleries

Watch Chelsea nip in and steal him.
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Offline Tes

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Re: Summer Transfer Window 2017
« Reply #70 on: July 21, 2017, 11:15:29 PM »
A couple of articles 'offering' alternatives to Keita:

https://realsport101.com/news/sports/football/liverpool-four-midfield-alternatives-naby-keita/

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/transfers/liverpool-transfer-news-naby-keita-rb-leipzig-five-alternatives-jurgen-klopp-a7849926.html

Interestingly we've started to be tentatively linked to one of the players mentioned in the second article - Leon Goretzka of Schalke.
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Offline Tes

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Re: Summer Transfer Window 2017
« Reply #71 on: July 22, 2017, 11:33:52 AM »
Jean Michael Seri, no5 in the second article I linked, would also be a sensible signing.

Irrespective of whether we get Keita, and more importantly if we don't, with Can's situation being far from certain, and with Hendo's injury problems over the last two seasons (15/16 147 days and 16/17 129 days), and Hendo played parts of last season carrying the injury, adding one of Goretzka or Seri would sort that situation somewhat.

We don't want to go into the season with Can having left, and no Keita, and it would be unlikely that clubs would be prepared to sell that standard of player in January.
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Offline Tes

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Re: Summer Transfer Window 2017
« Reply #72 on: July 23, 2017, 10:53:26 AM »
It's looking more and more likely that Can is off to Juve. If that's the case, then we do what the likes of Southampton and RB Leipzig have been doing to us, and what Spurs did with Walker and Everton with Lukaku, and that's demand a price that makes it impossible for us to turn down.

Let's start at the same price Chelsea quoted Juve for Matic. Matic is 28, where as Can is only 23.

Can is hardly likely to 'down tools' if he doesn't get the move this Summer, as he'll be desperate to get in the Germany squad for next Summer's World Cup.

Maybe this could work out very nicely for us. Can leaving could provide the space and opportunity for Grujic to break through, and I think Grujic has the potential to be a better player than Can, but let's make sure we get our 'pound of flesh' off Juve, as we've been fleeced too many times by Italian clubs, and it's time that trend was reversed.
They're champions of Italy, CL finalists, so let's place a 'big club premium' on Can's head, just as clubs do to us and most European clubs do to PL teams in general.
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Offline Tes

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Re: Summer Transfer Window 2017
« Reply #73 on: July 23, 2017, 11:04:51 PM »
Liverpool ready to shelve interest in Naby Keita - but will return for him next year when RB Leipzig exit clause becomes £48m

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2017/07/23/liverpool-ready-shelve-interest-naby-keita-will-return-next/

It will be interesting to see whether Klopp moves for someone else, or decides to leave things until next Summer, when of course there's no guarantee of getting Keita then either.

The Can situation has to be resolved quick sharp too. Likewise, will Klopp look to replace Can or go with what we have giving the likes of Grujic and opportunity.
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Offline Tes

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Re: Summer Transfer Window 2017
« Reply #74 on: July 24, 2017, 11:29:16 AM »
Apparently we're now waiting to be invited to make a bid for Van Dijk, but won't make a bid without being encouraged to do so by Southampton.

I think we're playing a hugely dangerous game. We're apparently not actively pursuing any other centre back targets, but so far we've not done much either about getting Sakho 100% ready to utilise.

Why we're not working with what we know, and with what the actual situation is, I don't understand.

We could easily end up with no Van Dijk and an unprepared Sakho, leaving us even weaker in an already under strength and under performing area of the team.

I realise that Sakho is still partially recovering from the injury he suffered at Palace, but there doesn't seem to be the intensity about getting him ready that we see and have seen with other players.

Sakho is our player. Let's utilise him fully. He's paid his penance and for the sake of the club let's make best use of him. He's at the very least the second best central defender we have, possibly still the best, and a partnership of Matip and Sakho looks the best bet out of all the other potential permutations.

Likewise, I hope we've got a Plan B where Keita and Can are concerned, and are ready to move on it quickly. We can't do with not getting Keita and losing Can. We've lost Lucas, and without cover, Hendo's workload will be too much with 4 competitions, and we run the risk of being without anyone there, as Hendo will no doubt succumb to injury at some point.

I know Wijnaldum's been tried there, but it's not his natural position, and if Wijnaldum is forced to play there, and Can's left, who plays in Wijnaldum's position?
We risk too much disruption to too many positions because of one injury. Just like last season when Mane was at the AFCON, and Lallana was moved forward to cover, we ended up disrupting 2 positions with no effective solution for either.
We need to avoid having to move a player from their best position to cover for injury in another position, especially if we don't have adequate cover for the moved player's position.
Don't make the same mistake twice, there's plenty of new ones to choose from.

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