Liverpool were one of the quieter Premier League clubs over the course of the summer transfer window, with Jurgen Klopp bringing in just three permanent transfers and a deadline-day loan for Arthur Melo.
It was this late deal that is indicative of the Reds’ glaring issues: they are seriously lacking in midfield.
One player who they were reported to be interested in late in the summer, and ultimately missed out on, was RB Leipzig central midfielder Konrad Laimer. Although it is early on in the season, given their faltering start, it appears this lack of urgency have been a rare transfer blunder from the German.
The workmanlike Austrian has started the season in solid fashion, averaging a SofaScore rating of 6.72, but it is what is happening on Merseyside rather that makes this transfer misstep even more damning.
From central midfield, the absentee’s list is ever-growing: Jordan Henderson, Fabio Carvalho, Curtis Jones, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Thiago are all currently out.
It is the first name on this list in particular who would be of interest to Klopp, as Laimer would have represented the perfect replacement for his ageing captain.
The 32-year-old’s main role for Liverpool is to keep play ticking along, and ranking in the top 5% for passes attempted suggests he is the perfect man for that job.
However, to replace him with the dynamic 25-year-old labelled “so valuable” for his club would mark an instant upgrade and provide the injection of energy that Klopp’s side is lacking this season.
In fact, Dan Kennett revealed that in their opening six fixtures Liverpool have been outrun in every single one. It is no surprise that this has corresponded with a start of just two wins in total from seven matches.
Laimer ranks in the top 1% for pressures per 90, making him one of the most efficient pressers in Europe.
This, combined with his ranking in the top 13% for progressive carries suggests that the £41k-per-week gem would have replaced Henderson’s passing with non-stop running, allowing Thiago to shoulder the creative burden.
To upgrade to a younger player would’ve marked another transfer masterclass by Klopp, but as it happens the fact they missed out makes it a blunder on their part. He could have been integral in ensuring a completely different start to the season was had.