Liverpool winning the Premier League title is hardly something that their own fans would have thought of around 2011. Those were strange times for the club- those that they weren’t really used to. But now, the dominance is back. And while it is back, it may not last long.
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We’ve seen it many times in recent history when teams that had a very good spell couldn’t tide over the transition that their club had. They failed to sell players at the right time and couldn’t replace them properly. Jurgen Klopp himself saw that at Borussia Dortmund, where staleness settled in and demise came. Tottenham Hotspur saw a similar situation with Mauricio Pochettino in the 2019/20 season itself.
Liverpool know that this could be a key part of the club’s history because of two reasons. First- because they won the title after 30 years of wait. Second- the way they handle the future will define if they create a dynasty or not. And soon enough, their squad might need some additions and deletions.
The front three of Roberto Firmino, Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane scored a total of 40 goals combined. But it is key to note that they are now 28 each and would soon approach the most confusing age in football- 30. Klopp’s system doesn’t just demand players to know his approach, but they should be full of energy. With age, the front three will have to disintegrate at some point in the future.
Virgil van Dijk is 28 too and while his quality can’t be questioned either, it might soon be the time to pass on the torch to a younger player. Centre-backs are generally known to last longer, but Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum aren’t getting younger either.
Henderson is 30, while Wijnaldum is 29. The role that the Dutchman plays is very crucial to how Liverpool play. He presses a lot, works very hard in midfield and a lot of it goes undervalued. That ability to press the ball is crucial to how Klopp wants his team to play and with age, Wijnaldum’s ability to do that will wither.
The full-backs are the Reds’ main artillery as the team relies on creation from wide areas, allowing for high-value chance creation in central areas. And both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are still pretty young. But the back-up options in that area are non-existent.
James Milner is the oldest player of the side and isn’t even a proper left-back. Nathaniel Clyne has left the club, leaving Joe Gomez as an option who can play in the full-back areas. But being a centre-back originally, he doesn’t have that ability to go forward or cross the ball as much.
So they might need back-up players in those full-back positions, or a single injury to either TAA or Robertson can have an impact on their system.
Bar Sepp van der Berg, the club didn’t spend a single penny on transfers in the summer of 2019. So the scope for refreshment is much higher, even though Takumi Minamino did arrive as a reliable and versatile option.
Sir Alex Ferguson was perhaps the expert at tiding over transitions. The Man Utd board trusted him with the money and trusted his eye for talent. Many signings didn’t work out. Both those like Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney formed the spine of the team that won the Champions League in 2008.
That is one thing Liverpool should know, if they want to create a dynasty and if they want to dominate English football for the next few years.