“When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark.
At the end of the storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark
Lovers of this beautiful game have become accustomed to this chant from the Liverpool faithful. Anfield has become a fortress. The scintillating football greeted with loud noise from the 12th man has terrified opponents times without number. Are we in for more of same or are we going to see a team struggling to surpass or even replicate the heroics of the past going into the 2019/20 season.
The curtain raiser for the new season is already in sight. The Champions of Europe will square up against the team from the blue half of Manchester who had a clean sweep of all the Domestic English trophies. We’re obviously up for the perfect entertainment most fans would have hoped for.
Going into this game, the reds have made just one signing. Their latest addition, Sepp Van den Berg, a center back purchased for the sum of 1.9m Euros from Dutch club, PEC Zwolle would be rightly regarded as one for the future. Is this the addition required of them at this stage to consolidate their place as one of the European power houses?
As is the custom, history has it that it is a necessity to make significant additions to a title winning squad. Such additions could be to address problem areas or increase the squad depth and competition for places in the team. Liverpool has been rated 19th, only above Norwich on money spent in this 2019 summer transfer window. This can be very detrimental to a squad that exited other English cup competitions for the failure to compete because of lack of squad depths.
The manager Jurgen Klopp has stated that he is not jealous of rivals splashing cash on players, “Liverpool do not live in fantasy land”. In as much as the German coach maybe right to some extent, but he should remember that he successfully arrived at this point to make such bold claims as a result of the huge cash splashed out in the past to address most problem areas. This move is what rival clubs are making while he is hoping to rely on old guards to do one better than the previous season.
Arguments can be made that the return of the likes of Oxlade Chamberlain, Adam Lallana and Joe Gomez feels like the addition of new faces to the team. But, it can’t be easily forgotten that another set of three or more players could return to the treatment table as it is a common occurrence associated with the game of football. Even in a situation where the whole team stays injury-free for the full season, which is highly unlikely, do these returnees have what it takes to get into the first eleven and cause same degree of havoc as the other regular starters being rested?
Times will come when fitness issues will set in. Some first team regulars will drop form and the team will drop points. Who will be called upon to stand up for the team, turn up with regular clutch performances, offer something different, bring results and in turn restore that winning belief?
Most recently, they have endured a very difficult pre-season with not so nice results. Yes! Pre-seasons are to work on fitness levels and work on the system the team wants to play. One win in five games? Oh well. It’s just a pre-season. But one thing is sure, the confidence that comes with favourable scorelines cannot be underestimated. Which ever way Jurgen Klopp manages to make up for this deficiency is entirely up to him.
The return of two familiar faces, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah lead the Reds to their first victory in pre season. This has the handwriting of what we are already accustomed to which is over reliance on the famous attacking trio. For how long will this continue without a repercussion?
Champions don’t rest on their laurels. They always strive to improve. They demand more from their players. But most importantly, they bring in new faces to challenge for places in the team. There are certainly some things that cannot be questioned about the reds. Jurgen Klopp and his boys have always shown their willingness to fight while the fans have never hesitated to thrown in their support. For how long these traits will keep them in competition is yet to be seen. The English transfer window shuts on Thursday 8th, August 17:00 BST. Hopefully, they don’t get punished so soon for not making a marquee signing or at least an addition of some decent squad players during the transfer window.