Liverpool: What to Expect on Transfer Deadline Day
The end of the January transfer window is fast approaching, with clubs around the country seeking to finalise the one or two deals that might make all the difference to their season.
Yesterday ['s defeat to Oldham] highlighted that when we do change the team around, we don't quite have that bit of depth yet. There's no number on it but we'll see what we can do before Thursday. If we can add another player, if not more, then great. If not, we'll look in the summer to keep the building process going.
The Reds are still chasing a top-six place, with perhaps still an outside chance of reaching the top four—if they come through Wednesday's fixture against Arsenal with a good result.
Deadline day will no doubt prove to be its usual stressful self for all associated with the club, while fans will be hoping it proves rather more eventful than at the end of the summer transfer window.
Here's what we can expect from Liverpool on deadline day this time around.
A Morning Full of Promises and Rumours
Wake up on deadline day morning, stick your favourite sports news channel on the television and you're bound to be swamped by endless repeats of managers being interviewed, newspaper columnists explaining why they think Team X is going to spend £20 million on Player Y and hoards of excitable news anchors breaking the latest confirmations of League Two Done Deals on Loan.
The gossip columns go into overdrive, linking top-flight clubs—especially Liverpool, it seems—with up to four new incoming players and half a dozen going in the opposite direction.
"Net spends" through January are invariably discussed, along with a strict assessment of the club's most recent fixture—as though one game in isolation might have any bearing at all on the recruitment of a team.
Expect the odd deal along the way to be "thoroughly discounted" or "ruled out" as a player tweets "I'm not going anywhere."
There will also be up to a dozen sightings of Luis Suarez at Liverpool John Lennon airport, in an M52 motorway services cafe with Roberto Mancini, a helicopter over London (as deadline minute draws closer) and being bundled into a blacked-out luxury van with a suspicious-looking character trailing a stethoscope out of his pocket.
All simultaneously, of course.
Youngsters to Be Allowed to Leave on Loan
There's a good chance that a couple of deals might well happen with little fanfare or fuss for the club.
Liverpool's exit from the FA Cup means that the younger lads not already regulars in the Premier League might not be seeing much action at all over the remainder of the season, so the likes of Jack Robinson and Conor Coady could well head out on loan.
Jon Flanagan would have expected to make a temporary move, too, but the right-back has been ruled out for several months with injury.
Sebastian Coates is another who could certainly do with getting a run of games, but manager Brendan Rodgers admits that it will depend on what is best for the club (LiverpoolFC.com).
I have said in the last couple of weeks that he is a player who I believe needs games and needs to go and play but obviously, I need to protect the club as well in relation to the size of the group. It might be the best thing for Seba to go on loan, but it might not necessarily be the best thing for the club.
Peter Gulacsi, Suso and Dani Pacheco are others who may leave before the window closes. In Suso's case, it will very likely depend on any incoming deals. Gulacsi may not be risked without a recall clause, as Pepe Reina has suffered injury problems this season.
A Sudden, Unexpected and Possibly Shocking Rumour
Sometimes it seems like fans know every transfer happening weeks, or even months, in advance. Long, drawn-out negotiations make the back pages of newspapers and headlines on websites for days in a row before a move is completed.
But once in a while, somebody just appears out of nowhere to join the club.
In the summer, Oussama Assaidi did just that when he unexpectedly signed a permanent deal with Liverpool without a hint of a rumour beforehand.
January of 2011 saw Andy Carroll suddenly targeted by the club after it emerged Fernando Torres wanted to leave for Chelsea, and within hours the former Newcastle United man became Liverpool's all-time record signing.
There's not always truth to these sudden links, but a lot of the time there is.
At some point during deadline day you can almost guarantee that Liverpool will have made a "sudden, late enquiry" for one player or another, probably Premier League-based, in the hope of concluding some last-minute business.
No Outgoings, One New Signing at the Most
In terms of permanent transfers, it is unlikely that Liverpool will be selling anybody this year.
The main components of the first team have all signed new, long-term contracts over the past few months and will certainly be seeing out the campaign at least, so unless a club comes up with an attractive offer for a squad member, it is not probable that Rodgers will offload any more.
In letting Joe Cole go and ending Nuri Sahin's loan spell, Liverpool have cleared around £200,000 per week off the wage bill since the end of 2012, so there is no further great need to lower it.
As for new signings, much depends on the pending arrival of Philippe Coutinho.
Should he join, the Reds may look to add one further name in the closing hours of the transfer window. It is likely, though, that whichever targets they have identified, the club has already opened discussions over a move.
Coutinho appears to be a priority, so the early conclusion of that deal may have an impact on who else, or how many others, Liverpool can go after.
Should the Reds add the Brazilian and a further one player to go along with Daniel Sturridge, they can rightly regard it as a successful transfer window.
The remainder of the campaign, and those to follow, will determine whether the names identified were the right ones—but the work of the window is to acquire them in the given space of time.
No Late Drama and an Early Evening for the Money Makers
And that's about it.
There shouldn't be any late rush to file paperwork from Liverpool this time around, no waiting around to find out if that Bundesliga superstar fancies a move to Merseyside over Madrid or worrying about fax machines being out of paper or ink.
Why do clubs still use fax machines?
Anyway, managing director Ian Ayre should have a relatively sane day, not scurrying about trying to find cover for loaned-out record signings this time. Brendan Rodgers will likely be taking a training or recovery session during the day following the Arsenal fixture the previous night, and should similarly not have too much to deal with other than deciding whether or not to loan out those youngsters mentioned earlier.
Liverpool aren't desperate for reinforcements this winter. They just need to add a couple of quality players in certain positions to make a push for a top-six place.
During the summer, there could be a rather large overhaul of the squad, and more money to spend, but for now it is about making sure that continual progression is realistic and any players who come in add to the quality of the team.
If the Reds end January 2013 with just Coutinho and Sturridge in, Cole and Sahin out, they will have had an acceptable transfer window, letting Brendan Rodgers build further in his own image.
Anything more than that should be be viewed as a bonus—as should be not having to wait up until 11 p.m. to see if Liverpool manage to get their men this time.