2018. Manchester City win their third Premier League title with a record total of 100 points. Manager Pep Guardiola signs Leicester City’s best player, Riyad Mahrez, for a then club-record £60m. 2019. Manchester City win back-to-back titles – their fourth Premier League trophy – recording 98 points. Guardiola signs Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri in a club-record £62.8m deal. In that time, Jurgen Klopp has made strides with Liverpool himself after a fourth-place finish in the 2017/18 campaign, they agonisingly missed out on the title this year by a solitary point. The difference in fortune came down to the transfer business of The Reds boss – Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker were the key protagonists in pushing Liverpool that extra step this year. Despite finishing second, they lost only one game (the fewest in the league), kept the most clean sheets (21) and conceded the least amount of goals (22).
A lack of movement in the transfer market could scupper Liverpool’s title hopes this season. Heading into the summer the difference between Liverpool and City was merely a minuscule point but by resting on their laurels, they are at risk of seeing that gap suddenly shift blue. Guardiola has already made an outstanding signing in Rodri and you can only expect that to continue with Vincent Kompany exiting the club this summer, leaving behind a giant hole in defence. Klopp has only signed one player this summer in Sepp van den Berg – he’s just a 17-year-old that cost the club £1.3m, it’s unlikely he will start many games in the Premier League or have any major influence over their title credentials.
A broader glance at Liverpool’s potential European opponents as they look to defend their triumph next season and make a third straight final, it tells a similar story. Real Madrid’s season was anything but decent, in fact, it was terrible. Third in La Liga, semi-final of the Copa del Rey and knocked out in the last 16 of the Champions League – their boss Zinedine Zidane has already gone out and brought in no more than five new players, including Eden Hazard for a fee that could exceed £150m. Italian giants Juventus have signed a plethora of talented stars – Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot join on free transfers whilst they have splashed out on a new left-back by signing Luca Pellegrini for €22m (£19.75m). It just shows that Europe’s elite are being ruthlessly proactive in the summer transfer window.
There is no doubt that Liverpool have one of the best squads in the world right now. The front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah is enough to envy any manager. Their defence has proved to be one of the most resolute in the league and within Europe this season too, but when you start to peel away at it, there are signs of weakness. Squad depth has never really been an issue for Klopp – for instance, Divock Origi stepped up when he was really needed and scored two against Barcelona to catapult The Reds into the Champions League final. James Milner isn’t getting any younger whilst the likes of Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren aren’t going to thrill the Kopites if they begin to start games. Just look at City’s bench on a matchday and then look at Liverpool’s, that will tell you why it is important to keep investing in the squad.