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Why Liverpool's January Transfer Window Was a Failure

LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 01:  Brendan Rodgers (L) is unveiled as the new Liverpool FC manager by Ian Ayre (R) Managing Director of Liverpool FC at a press conference at Anfield on June 01, 2012 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clint Hughes/Getty Images)
Clint Hughes/Getty Images
Matt LadsonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 3, 2014

Within an hour of the transfer window closing on Friday evening, Liverpool FC released an interview with manager Brendan Rodgers proclaiming the manger's confidence in his current squad.

After the failure to bring in any players, Rodgers' interview, and especially the timing of its release, was seen by many as rubbing salt into the wounds of supporters.

Liverpool and Rodgers clearly wanted to bring in new signings during the transfer window, so the fact they didn't can only mean that the window was indeed a failure.

 

Salah and Konoplyanka

Rodgers had clearly identified the wide attacking area as the one which he wanted to strengthen, despite most supporters being of the opinion that a full-back and a defensive midfielder were of far greater need.

Fabrizio Giovannozzi/Associated Press

Mohamed Salah was pursued before he ended up joining Chelsea, and then Yevhen Konoplyanka became the main target as managing director Ian Ayre flew to the Ukraine in an attempt to sign the winger. That deal collapsed at the last minute, reportedly due to the Dnipro owner refusing to sign the paperwork despite Liverpool having met the player's release clause.

Prior to the window opening, most supporters would not have been worried by the failure to sign either of the two players as Liverpool do have quite an array of attacking talents at their disposal. They would though have been concerned at the failure to address the more glaring areas of need in defence and midfield.

 

Squad Depth

Against West Brom, we have already seen the lack of depth that we've witnessed so often this season at Liverpool.

Rodgers' side failed to control the game, struggled to get any flow or tempo and were devoid of options from the bench. The arrival of new players in the transfer window would have solved such issues.

Rodgers wanted more depth in attack.
Rodgers wanted more depth in attack.Clint Hughes/Associated Press

Instead, too much reliance will continue to be placed on the thin squad at Anfield—and on youngsters such as Raheem Sterling, 19, and Philippe Coutinho, 21.

Jordan Henderson has featured in every game Liverpool have played this season, starting every Premier League game, and looks like he would benefit from a rest. But with Joe Allen not fully fit from injury, Rodgers was unable to rotate his midfield.

Coutinho was impressive against Everton but struggles to make an impact in away games, where Liverpool have struggled all season—just four away wins in the Premier League.

So not only did Liverpool fail to sign their primary or secondary targets, they also failed to reduce the reliance on players already at their disposal, which could have freshened them too.

 

Injuries

No return date has been put on Johnson's return.
No return date has been put on Johnson's return.Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Of course, Liverpool's squad would look much better without the injuries currently keeping Daniel Agger, Mamadou Sakho, Jose Enrique, Glen Johnson and Lucas Leiva sidelined. Missing five key players would harm any side.

Those five are also some of the players most capable of playing the style of play Rodgers desires; swap Aly Cissokho for Enrique, bring in Sakho or Agger for Toure in defence and immediately the starting XI looks vastly stronger than the one Rodgers has been forced to field of late.

 

Loans

Liverpool supporters may have hoped that Rodgers and Liverpool would use the January transfer window to recall some of the players currently out on loan. The likes of Fabio Borini, Suso and Andre Wisdom would certainly strengthen the squad at the moment.

Those loans weren't able to be recalled and instead Liverpool actually loaned another handful of players out. Ryan McLaughlin left for an initial one month loan to Barnsley that has already been extended to the rest of the season—despite the shortage at full-back and Johnson's mysterious injury of which details have not been explained.

Ilori left on loan.
Ilori left on loan.Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Tiago Ilori, a £7 million signing in the summer, instead of being introduced to the squad to add depth and possibly a solution to the left-sided centre-back area in Agger and Sakho's absence, was loaned to La Liga side Granada instead.

 

'Galvanised'

"If no players come in that will galvanise us even more" claimed Rodgers shortly before the transfer window closed, as per The Telegraph.

Only time will tell if that proves true, but surely Rodgers would have preferred his squad to have been galvanised by incoming additions rather than relying upon what is already a very thin squad.

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