English Premiership

'Deadly' Liverpool leading the transfer war

2018-06-24 06:44
Naby Keita (AP)

Cape Town - Having come out of arguably their best season in recent history, Liverpool went into the 2014 English summer break at a crossroads.

All the talk centred on whether or not star player Luis Suárez would stay, while fans anxiously refreshed Sky Sports News in search of possible replacements should he depart.

Those loyal Kopites were to be disappointed because Suárez left for Barcelona and key target Alexis Sánchez chose Arsenal over Liverpool. Brendan Rodgers' side finished sixth the following Premier League season, and the manager only lasted a few months beyond it.

However, one Soccer World Cup cycle later, the Reds appear to have learnt from their mistakes.

While there have been whispers of a potential move away from Anfield for current star Mohamed Salah, at the time of writing, there is no clear evidence of him wanting to leave.

Liverpool's policy of selling key players may or may not have changed since Suárez left, but the club definitely appears to have improved their player recruitment plan.

The signing of Naby Keïta was sealed last year, although he will only now join the club from RB Leipzig at the beginning of the season. A Steven Gerrard-esque midfielder capable of making significant contributions both in attack and defence, the 23-year-old has the potential to rise to stardom at Anfield.

As if that wasn't enough, the Reds moved swiftly after the close of the season to bring in Fabinho - another gifted young midfielder with plenty to offer at both ends of the pitch.

Jürgen Klopp has hailed the Brazilian's ability to play in several different positions, and whether he will keep the 24-year-old in the middle of the park - for the most part remains to be seen.

After a second successive fourth-place finish and a first Champions League final in 11 years, Liverpool finished the 2017/18 season with cause for contentment. However, they know better now than to rest on their laurels.

Meanwhile, Chelsea finished behind the Reds in 2013/14, and moved swiftly to sign Diego Costa and Cesc Fàbregas, while Thibaut Courtois came back from Atlético Madrid.

The next season, the Blues steamrolled their way to the title, and Liverpool were forced to give their bitter rivals a humiliating guard of honour at Stamford Bridge.

On that day, someone at the Merseyside club must have sworn not to let history repeat itself because, four years later, Liverpool are winning the race off the field.

If they continue at this rate, they will most likely be one of the deadliest sides on it in the 2018/19 season.

READ: EPL 2018/19 fixtures released

At the time of writing, Liverpool are one of only three top-six sides from 2017/18 to officially seal any new signings.

Manchester United have brought in Diogo Dalot from FC Porto and Brazil's Fred from Shakta Donetsk while Arsenal have signed former Juventus right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner on a free transfer.

Chelsea and Tottenham will need to add to their squads to keep pace, while champions Manchester City may struggle to keep their standards up should they fail to secure any new recruits soon.

 

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Fixtures
Saturday, 15 December 2018
Manchester City v Everton, Etihad Stadium 14:30
Wolverhampton Wanderers v AFC Bournemouth, Molineux Stadium 17:00
Crystal Palace v Leicester City, Selhurst Park 17:00
Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United, The John Smith's Stadium 17:00
Watford v Cardiff City, Vicarage Road Stadium 17:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley, Wembley Stadium 17:00
Fulham v West Ham United, Craven Cottage 19:30
Sunday, 16 December 2018
Southampton v Arsenal, St. Mary's Stadium 15:30
Brighton & Hove Albion v Chelsea, The American Express Community Stadium 15:30
Liverpool v Manchester United, Anfield 18:00
Friday, 21 December 2018
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool, Molineux Stadium 22:00
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