The ECHO’s Ian Doyle answers all your Liverpool questions, including updates on FSG, Jude Bellingham and Moises Caicedo.
Although Liverpool are yet to even reach the halfway point of the 2022/23 Premier League campaign, it’s fair to say this season has been like no other in terms of talking points at Anfield.
After a pulsating 63-game season saw the Reds fall just short in their pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple, injuries and a collective struggle for form this time around have seen Jurgen Klopp’s side come in for plenty of criticism this term.
To add to the on-field transition the Reds are dealing with, Fenway Sports Groups’ welcoming of a partial/full sale at Anfield rocked the footballing ecosystem towards the back of 2022, with banks Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs currently exploring potential suitors.
Such issues have meant that there is a plethora of issues for our Chief Liverpool Writer, Ian Doyle, to discuss in our latest ECHO question and answer session.
Darwin Nunez and Liverpool’s adaption
Cincylfc: We’re statistically creating a lot of chances, especially when Darwin plays. Do you think the goals start coming or will this be an anomaly of an analytics year? Also, are we sacrificing defensive stability to create these chances or just throwing everything at goal to make up for a defense that is giving up too many?
Ian Doyle: I think you are a little bit correct on all your points. Nunez is still adapting, and when it clicks I’d imagine he’ll score even more than he is at the moment. If you ask ex-professional footballers who actually played the game at a high level, they almost all believe he is a player who will eventually become a big success at Liverpool.
James01: “Hi Ian, do you think the club should have been pragmatic and bought a midfielder this window (even if not their first choice) to give us a better chance of getting CL? Without CL we will still need to buy players come the summer but probably will not be able to get the ones we waited a year to sign. If so, we will still have to upgrade if/when we get back in the CL anyway.
“Feels like a bit of a false economy doing nothing now.
“Judging how much of a difference Naby and Bajcetic made Vs Wolves arguably they wouldn’t need to be world beaters to significantly improve us currently either.
“Cannot really understand why we haven’t done anything to address an area that is massively undermining us. Possibly their relative inactivity now (and in the summer) is due to them gearing up to sell before the summer?”
ID: “I always understood why they didn’t sign a midfielder last summer. They wanted Tchouameni, he didn’t come, so rather than buy a player they didn’t really want they thought ‘well, we have enough options already and we now don’t really have to sell Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain’.
“They also had Harvey Elliott back and properly fit, adding to a squad that almost won the quadruple. Of course, Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain have historically had injury problems, but for both to be sidelined around the same time for a long period, suddenly Liverpool needed a backup so Arthur Melo came in on loan, who then gets injured straight away.
“What Liverpool also couldn’t legislate for is Fabinho and Henderson losing form at the same time and having a hangover from last season, and Jones being injured for the most part. Suddenly there are not many midfielders available with sufficient experience and in form, when literally a few months earlier they were almost all flying.
“The point you make on Bajcetic and Keita perhaps underlines why they probably won’t sign anyone this window. They may feel they have enough still. Keeping Thiago Alcantara playing at least four out of every five games would for me be crucial.
“Liverpool bought Nunez, Ramsay, Carvalho and Gakpo since June for a commitment of about £150m. Not the sign of a club cutting their losses. Also success for Liverpool would make them more valuable, which is what FSG would want to sell. It wouldn’t make financial sense otherwise.”
Liverpool’s pursuit of Jude Bellingham
Nathanq: “Why are Liverpool going all in on Jude – he’s good – but he isn’t going to replace everyone who is leaving. Would it not be better for Liverpool to go and buy three midfielders like Kone from Gladbach, and others who would cover all the positions that Liverpool need to cover?
“Do u think they will be going after a central defender as well to replace Matip?”
ID: “Jurgen Klopp really likes Jude Bellingham and it’s obvious Bellingham at the very least admires Klopp and Liverpool. Forget the travails of this season – the player, who is still only a teenager, will be looking at where he wants to be in the next four or five years.
“I’m sure if Liverpool stood by and let Real Madrid, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea squabble over a player they want to sign, the fans will go spare. So it’s good that Liverpool are in the conversation for Bellingham, although that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll sign him. And even if they do, he won’t be the only one coming in the summer. As you say, they need more.”
Potential Jude Bellingham alternatives?
Sixtyfivehome: “Hi Ian, If Bellingham were to choose Real Madrid , do you think Liverpool might possibly look to Rice instead?”
ID: “It’s a possibility but he isn’t quite the same type of player. It may depend on which other midfielder/s they try to sign. I actually think Rice will end up back at Chelsea.”
Barnsey11: “Hi Ian I know Jurgen has stated that we won’t be spending anymore money in the January transfer window unless the right player is available at the right price.
“Do you think that this closes the door on any midfield reinforcements in January or do you think they are trying to make something happen in the background with say Caicedo?”
ID: “I’d be very surprised if Liverpool sign anyone before the window shuts but it’s not entirely implausible. Don’t forget, the selling club would have to have a replacement lined up as well. Liverpool demonstrated with Luis Diaz they’ll make the move if they feel they have to. This is a window where we literally are just going to have to wait and see.
“Even the club won’t know with absolute certainty if they’re making a definite move or not yet.”
FSG latest amid interest from Qatar.
Thutton: “Is there any truth in the rumours of interest from Qatar? If so do you know if it has progressed at all?”
ID: My colleague Dave Powell has been following takeover developments closely, and he reported yesterday FSG have received no bids nor any real expression of serious interest that has warranted high-level discussion.