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Klopp already outlined Liverpool transfer plan with two midfield solutions

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The 2022 summer transfer window only opened on 10 June but just nine days later, having announced right-back Calvin Ramsay as their third signing of the summer, Liverpool indicated that their business was done.

The club have decided not to sign an established central midfield option this summer, a stance that has split opinion among supporters. There are some who feel that this is Liverpool’s main area of weakness compared to their rivals, especially Manchester City.

And shortcomings in that department, both in terms of fitness and quality, were arguably an important factor in most of the 10 Premier League games the Reds failed to win last season.

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It seems that Liverpool might be taking too great a risk by delaying their next marquee midfield addition for another 12 months.

On paper, of course, Jürgen Klopp has an abundance of options. With Fábio Carvalho arriving from Fulham and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain now expected to stay, there are nine in total. That’s theoretically enough to fill out three separate midfields.

But is it merely an illusion of depth? After all, four of the players are injury-prone, to varying degrees, a few are ageing, and the young trio of Carvalho, Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones are still relatively unproven.

Liverpool believe that their veteran options still have plenty more to give, and that they can stave off significant injury issues through appropriate load management. But, beyond that, the success of their transfer gamble also relies on Elliott and Jones taking the next step.

Both players are regarded as an important part of the club’s future. During Liverpool’s lap of honour following their final-day home clash against Wolves, Klopp told the duo that ‘this is only the start’.

“Yes,” they replied, “with us on the pitch.”

That air of confidence has been a defining feature of many of Elliott’s performances to date. It’s worth remembering just how impressive he was in the right central midfield role in the early part of the 2021/22 campaign.

Against Burnley and Chelsea, Elliott was truly one of Liverpool’s stand-out performers. He didn’t look remotely out of place in one of the best teams in the world, and that is the mark of a special talent.

It seemed significant that Klopp selected him ahead of captain Jordan Henderson against Leeds United. One wonders just how much football Elliott would have played had he not sustained a distressing injury that day.

He didn’t make his comeback until early February and given the severity of the injury, it wasn’t a surprise that his involvement was limited before the end of the campaign.

Still, those performances at the start of the season had reinforced what most Reds already believed — Elliott is one of the brightest young talents in the country. And he should be about to get even better.

And then there’s Jones. It’s easy to forget that he’s only 21 years old, perhaps because he’s already played 74 games for Liverpool’s first team.

It’s probably fair to say that, right now, Elliott looks more likely to be a future starter at Anfield, while question marks still hover over his teammate.

The biggest, by far, is consistency. Klopp said, delicately, last September that this was ‘maybe sometimes a little bit the issue’. He would issue a similar challenge ahead of the clash with Southampton with May, perhaps indicating that Jones has somewhat stagnated.

It’s rare that Klopp publicly points out flaws in his senior players. Constructive criticism is typically reserved for raw youngsters, and that’s still how Jones is regarded despite being three-quarters of the way to a century of appearances. “I think he’s now old enough to keep that moment going,” Klopp tellingly says.

By electing not to sign another midfielder this summer, Liverpool are backing him to find that consistency. Neither a loan nor a permanent exit is on the table for now, but that stance could conceivably be different next summer if he doesn’t seize the opportunity before him.

Some fans will be frustrated by the club’s reluctance to upgrade their midfield, at least this year. But the club won’t see it that way. Yes, they’ve signed Carvalho, but on top of that, they also believe that Elliott and Jones will be better players next season, that they’ll be ready to play more minutes, not simply as cover, but as effective weapons in their own right.



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