Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher believes the coronavirus pandemic is entirely to blame for Timo Werner’s Anfield move collapsing.
The RB Leipzig forward seemed destined to join the Reds this summer, but breaks were put on the deal as the global situation worsened.
The financial ramifications of the pandemic are yet to be fully realised, but Liverpool are reportedly set for a quiet summer in the transfer window.
Carragher doesn’t think it’s just about the money though, the Sky Sports pundit claims Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Bobby Firmino are now better suited for next season.
The pandemic has resulted in many global sporting events being cancelled – and the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations is set to be moved to January 2022.
Carragher surmises that Werner would have been given fewer opportunities because there would be less of a reason to rotate and rest the front three.
“I honestly believe that if the pandemic hadn’t happened then Timo Werner would have been a Liverpool player,” he’s quoted as saying by the Mirror.
“If Werner had signed for Liverpool, he wouldn’t have been first choice because the front three is what it is.
“He would have brought the versatility I think Liverpool are lacking because he can play out wide or through the middle.
“But spending £50million on someone who would not be a first choice is a big decision.
“If there had been the Olympics and the Africa Cup of Nations next season, then Klopp would have been able to guarantee Werner plenty of games when Salah and Mane were missing.
“He’d have probably got 25-30 games in, but with those tournaments being postponed it would have been harder to convince Werner to sign, because the front three don’t miss many games.”
While we agree with Carragher that the pandemic was detrimental for any deal the Reds were working on, it’s difficult to say whether the German striker would have been given less chances.
The possibility of Werner playing in front of Firmino and starting two deep-lying midfielders remained, changing up our typical 4-3-3 formation – we don’t know what Klopp was planning.