It’s been the definition of a bittersweet outing for the Reds this evening, following a cutthroat performance in our 3-1 victory at Tottenham.
After grabbing our first league win of the year – and our first league goals since the stalemate with West Brom back in December – things are currently leaning more on the sweet side, as the three points remain hot off the counter, so to speak.
Though celebrations following what feels like a massive game to kick off the second-half of the season are in order, the reality of Liverpool’s defensive crisis will set in sooner or later.
Delighted as he was post-match, and rightfully so, Jurgen Klopp’s reaction to Joel Matip’s latest setback hardly made for encouraging listening, with the German uttering the dreaded two words: “ankle ligament”.
The loss of Fabinho before a ball had even been kicked at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium hardly helps matters either, particularly given the difficult run of upcoming fixtures coming our way.
Manchester City and Leicester stand out as the big ones if we hope to launch a successful title defence on this side of the season – a considerably tricky prospect without a single senior centre-back and, potentially, our fourth choice.
We hate to bore you with talk of transfers and the club’s obvious need of a stand-in signing (at this rate, we’ll need more than one) to help us navigate the remaining games without our usual starters but, at this point, it can hardly be helped.
The undeniable fact of the matter is that Klopp cannot be expected to produce miracles with Jordan Henderson and one of Nathaniel Phillips or Rhys Williams alongside the skipper in the heart of defence – it’s simply not a viable solution.
To force the German to just make do with Fabinho and Matip is arguably negligent in itself but without either of the aforementioned Reds, it would be downright sadistic on the part of the club hierarchy to not arrange for some kind of cover.
The clock is ticking for a signing to be sorted before the transfer window closes in four days’ time, potentially acting as the death knell of our season, should we continue to remain inactive.
For the sake of clarity, it’s worth noting that we understand the difficulty of the current situation, with COVID-19 having had a notable impact on the finances of sides across the globe; considering the self-sufficient nature of Liverpool, the circumstances have not been helpful.
While the club’s model of going for the right players at the right time and not accepting anything but exactly the target they want has proven to be more than successful, an exception has to be made in consideration of our current defensive crisis.
Should we potentially fail to qualify for the Champions League, (which seems unlikely at this current moment after such a dominant victory), we’ll be kicking ourselves for refusing to rectify the situation when we could have and for the damaging ramifications to follow.
There’s no point saving money for the summer if Liverpool ultimately can’t tempt the targets we’re aiming for with European football.
In light of how things are currently looking, it’s undeniably clear that to go on without one of Fabinho or Joel Matip would transcend well beyond the realm of risk-taking.