It’s that time of year again: the rumours fly, the names are picked out of a hat and Liverpool’s squad will contain approximately 742 players this time next month.
If they were all right, that would be the case, anyway.
But we know they’re not in some cases, we hope they’re not in others, and the idea that any of these media outlets have any clue whatsoever what Jurgen Klopp, Michael Edwards and the rest of the gang are up to is downright laughable.
Here’s the best of the worst transfer rumours of late, starting with one which suggests the Reds are desperate to give Virgil van Dijk a new partner in crime at the back.
The “weak point” of the team
Hard to know where to begin with this one.
The weak points?!
Firstly, we don’t have weak points. We’re European champions, we’re unbeaten in a year in the league, we’re the champions of the bloody world.
And secondly, those two players have both outperformed Van Dijk in short bursts over the past 18 months, and both have been utterly superb in their own right.
Maybe the good folks at Eldesmarque in Spain don’t watch us that much. Poor them, if so.
In any case, all this is to point out that their reasoning for the Reds signing Diego Carlos, paying €75 million to beat Real Madrid to his signature, is somewhat wildly wide of the mark.
Another former Hull left-back?
Interesting one this, which we’re not quite going full-snark on, as the underlying reasoning is pretty sound…to an extent.
The Mirror‘s John Cross reckons the Reds have been “making checks” on Max Clark.
If you’re asking “who?” then you clearly aren’t avid watchers of the Eredivisie’s sixth-best team, as he’s the Vitesse left-back taking the statistical world by storm and who used to play for Hull, thus is homegrown.
Essentially, the story is that the Reds and a whole bunch of other clubs noted Clark popping up as they ran through the highest-performing numbers.
We could believe that, no problem—any outlier is going to be checked up on further, to see if the playing style and the game intelligence matches the in-game production levels.
But then Cross suggests “Clark’s crossing statistics are off the scale” and says there will be “no shortage of takers because of his impressive numbers,” so is that true?
We don’t need air-conditioned offices, fancy work nicknames and astrophysicist colleagues to find out, just a plain old laptop and WhoScored.com.
Clark’s 1.9 accurate crosses per 90 minutes put him sixth in the Eredivisie (players with six appearances or more only), with another left-back ahead of him from Groningen. His 1.6 key passes/90 leave him outside the top 50 in the league, but second for full-backs.
For comparison, Andy Robertson averages 1.6 key passes/90, Trent 3.0, and accurate crosses are 1.0 and 2.5 respectively.
So Clark comes across as having decent enough numbers in those two categories, but hardly “off the scale”—so we’d suggest this was nothing more than a routine passing interest in a player we’d know everything about anyway, just like pretty much every other player in Europe’s top leagues.
It’s 2015 again!
Mario Gotze is set to leave Borussia Dortmund in the summer after a difficult couple of years in which he has battled illness and loss of form, playing less than 500 minutes in the Bundesliga this term.
Bild say there’s no chance he’ll renew and will depart the club—meaning the Echo immediately made him a potential transfer target for the Reds, citing old quotes about Klopp and Mario being close mates.
Apparently he could be “on Klopp’s radar as an extra midfield option” and “the prospect of getting him on a free transfer could be too good to turn down.”
IT’S. NOT. GOING. TO. HAPPEN.
It’s all Klopp’s fault
Remember when we played Genk, local journos asked Jurgen about their best player in the press conference and the boss was nice and complimentary about him?
Yeah, since then, Liverpool have been linked with Sander Berge about forty-six times, despite having Fabinho as first-choice, Jordan Henderson excelling again and apparently even Pedro Chirivella deciding he’s basically the new Pirlo.
Rumours escalated when Berge himself said Anfield was amazing and Liverpool were great and he wanted to play there as often as possible, but rather than take that the way it was intended—he wants to be at the highest level facing this sort of opposition—the gossip columns twisted that into a good old fashioned “come and get me” plea.
Anyway, it’s gone a bit quiet there since the Genk top brass admitted that Napoli were in talks over buying Berge (or “stealing a march on Liverpool” if you prefer).
But really, if Klopp had just said he was crap in the first place, we wouldn’t have had to put up with any of this.
The new Phillips/Van den Berg
Remember when we had Ian Ayre and we always used to “monitor” players and it was a bit of a joke?
He’s the Brighton defender, on loan at Leeds, who has no recall clause and who Brighton have already said they won’t be selling.
They also say “Premier League leaders Liverpool are not expected to follow up on their reports on White in this window,” which rather ruins the whole point of a January rumour, but whatever.
Anyway, he’s played every minute in the Championship this season and Leeds are top with the second-best defensive record, so that’s good.
White is also 22, which is the same as Gomez, and his current career history includes just over 50 games in Leagues One and Two, 13 domestic cups appearances and no games in the top flight.
We reckon Gomez—over 50 Premier League games, 25 European/Continental games, eight England caps—is pretty safe for now.
The only way another centre-back is added is if perhaps Dejan Lovren departs, given Matip has a new contract. We have Hoever, Phillips, Van den Berg and other young defenders all trying to push through, too, so a 22-year-old addition seems…unlikely.
A little research goes a long way
And finally, a big round of applause for someone working at Sky Sports.
In among their tracker (viewable above) of who else the Reds have been linked with—all gone a bit quiet on that Ryan Fraser front, hasn’t it?!—someone has found a Brazilian media story and interpreted it in stunning fashion.
Apparently some lad called Allan is interesting us, who plays for Fluminense. He must be good! Oh wait…
You mean our lad, don’t you? Allan Rodrigues de Souza, who has been on loan from Liverpool to Fluminense, and will join one Brazilian club or another this month.
Nice one. Very January transfer window, that.