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LFC END OF SEASON SALE

5 questions Liverpool fans are asking – from transfers to FSG takeover plans

With the January transfer window closed, Liverpool struggling badly for form and uncertainty off the pitch, supporters have a lot of questions to ask.

There is a growing divide between Liverpool fans, with the situation both on and off the pitch not aiding the ferocity of views.

The winter transfer window closed on Tuesday night, and with Cody Gakpo the sole mid-season signing, Jurgen Klopp will otherwise head into the second half of the season with the squad he began it with.

Liverpool are ninth in the Premier League, out of the FA Cup and Carabao Cup and facing a difficult tie against Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Owners Fenway Sports Group are seeking investment, while there are major changes afoot with high-profile boardroom members tendering their resignation.

Here are five questions fans are left asking.

 

Why was a midfielder not signed in January?

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 22, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Nottingham Forest FC and Liverpool FC at the City Ground. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was the transfer almost everyone was hoping for, with Liverpool in a rut in midfield leaving Klopp to put his faith in 18-year-old Stefan Bajcetic and soon-to-be free agent Naby Keita alongside Thiago.

That trio has started each of the last three games, while the dismal output from Jordan Henderson and particularly Fabinho off the bench has highlighted a growing issue.

Thiago is the only senior midfielder Liverpool have signed in what will be five years this summer.

Enzo Fernandez, Marcel Sabitzer and Jorginho were among those on the move on deadline day, but the Reds refused to budge and stuck with their existing group.

Largely, this will have been due to their plans for the summer, which involve Jude Bellingham and Matheus Nunes, but also the lack of an open, non-homegrown slot in the Premier League squad.

An under-21 player or a homegrown player would’ve been free to be registered – either that or unregistering Arthur.

So while the numbers may be there, is there really enough quality and energy in the ranks to plot a revival before the summer?

 

Why is Cody Gakpo playing up front and Darwin Nunez on the wing?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 7, 2023: Liverpool's Coady Gakpo during the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Good question. It’s a baffling one.

The £44 million deal for Gakpo excited supporters, who watched him play a key role for the Netherlands at the World Cup and post ridiculous numbers for PSV Eindhoven.

While used in a two-man attack for his country, the 23-year-old excelled on the left wing for PSV, scoring 13 goals and assisting another 17 in 24 games before his switch to Anfield.

But in the last four of his five appearances for Liverpool so far, Gakpo has been deployed as a lone, central striker.

Meanwhile, Darwin Nunez, who scored the majority of his 34 goals for Benfica last term as a centre-forward, has taken up duties on the left flank.

There is an explanation of sorts, with Klopp praising Gakpo’s defensive quality as a No. 9 and Nunez arguably better from out wide so far, but it still seems strange to shoehorn £129 million of proven talent into unfamiliar roles.

Still, it seems odd that the rationale for signing Gakpo was because of injuries to left-sided forwards Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota, and now he’s not even being used there.

 

When are the injured players back?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 9, 2022: Liverpool's Luis Díaz goes down injured during the FA Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Despite their abysmal form for much of the past six weeks, Klopp is right in suggesting Liverpool could have been in a better position were it not for their injuries.

At present, the Reds have Diaz, Jota, Virgil van Dijk and Roberto Firmino out with long-term issues, along with loanee Arthur, while Ibrahima Konate is the latest to suffer a short-term setback.

So when are they expected to return?

Jota, Van Dijk and Firmino are due to rejoin training in mid-February, and could therefore target a comeback against Real Madrid (Feb 21), while Arthur is facing a similar timeframe of recovery.

Reports suggest Konate will be out for up to three weeks, which could rule him out until the trip to Crystal Palace (Feb 25).

Diaz, though, is not likely to be back until March at the very earliest.

 

Who is Liverpool’s next sporting director?

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Sunday, December 11, 2022: Liverpool's Sporting Director Julian Ward (R) and General Counsel and Director of Football Administration & Governance Jonathan Bamber during the Dubai Super Cup 2022 match between Liverpool FC and Olympique Lyonnais at Al Maktoum Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Amid the turmoil of rebuilding an ageing squad, Liverpool are now tasked with replacing the man who was due to oversee the whole operation.

Julian Ward confirmed his intention to leave back in November, with director of research Ian Graham also following him out the door at the end of the season.

Given he had only officially taken over from the long-serving Michael Edwards last year, it is a devastating blow to Liverpool’s long-term planning.

According to reports, Ward will still be taking a focal role in recruitment between now and the end of the campaign, which will include negotiations for Bellingham and Nunes, but after that he will need to be replaced.

As of yet, no candidates have emerged, with links to ex-Dortmund chief scout Sven Mislintat and Monaco sporting director Paul Mitchell played down.

It is a crucial job for a club the size of Liverpool – but for now, it seems like there is no succession plan in place.

 

What is happening with FSG’s plans to sell the club?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 17, 2010: Liverpool's owner John W. Henry and owner Tom Werner during the 214th Merseyside Derby match against Everton at Goodison Park. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is claimed that Ward’s decision to leave was prompted by the surprise news that FSG were exploring the possibility of selling Liverpool.

Since then, there have been claims of suitors from the United States, Germany, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, while a plethora of rumoured investors have been ruled out.

The latest line is that FSG would prefer a new minority investor, rather than selling the club outright, with the most likely source being from the US.

But nearing three months since their initial statement, the owners have made little headway in terms of finding either a buyer or further funds.

The club is valued at over £3 billion, so it stands to reason that any development would be slow and calculated, but the uncertainty over Liverpool’s future only further clouds the problems in the boardroom and on the pitch.