Success and failure, there is a fine line between the two that Liverpool know far too well when it comes to transfers.
The transfer window, specifically the summer window, can be a pivotal moment for a club moving forward.
Just as easy as a successful window can push a club forward, an unsuccessful window can just as easily send a club backwards.
The latter being an experience Liverpool fans are far too familiar with following their infamous replacement of Luis Suarez with Mario Balotelli in 2014.
The 2014 summer transfer window had falsely promised to be an optimistic window as they had finished the season just barely falling short in a surprise title bid narrowly finishing second to Manchester City.
That summer proved to be a pivotal moment for Liverpool as they would end the transfer window failing to further the development of a promising squad by selling their biggest star and purchasing (at the time) inadequate players, sending the club completely in the wrong direction.
A summer that could have easily pushed the Reds onto a respectful Champions League run or another title challenge ultimately resulted in an embarrassing group stage exit and a sixth place finish in the league compounded by a 6 – 1 humiliation at the Britannia on the final day of the season.
Liverpool approach a similar crossroads this month as their number-one target Virgil van Dijk looks to have finally freed himself up for a move away from Southampton, while Barcelona continue to show off their Neymar-financed guns in their pursuit of Philippe Coutinho, although FSG’s latest statement should put that transfer to bed.
According to Adam Leitch of the Daily Echo, it is looking like van Dijk has given the Saints no choice but to sell to the highest bidder as Leitch has been quoted saying:
There is surely no way back for him now at St Mary’s. The chance of any reintegration is gone.
As one of this summer’s biggest transfer sagas looks to be coming to an end, it is imperative that it ends with the Dutchman doing the ‘Melwood lean’ — no matter the cost.
Signing the centre-back would not only help shore up Klopp’s leaky backline, but it would also send out a message of intent to the rest of the Premier League that the Reds mean business and will do whatever it takes (within legal realms) to secure their targets.
However, having a successful summer in any capacity requires ending the window with Coutinho still on FSG’s books.
The little Brazilian has grown into a huge and irreplaceable figure at Anfield with his magical displays for the Anfield faithful appearing on an increasingly regular basis.
Such displays have attracted—yet again—FC Barcelona as they look for a replacement for the €222 million man.
However, Liverpool have been standing firm on their desire to keep the Brazilian playmaker as they recently turned down a €100 million bid from the Catalan giants.
Big teams keep their biggest players no matter how much money is thrown in their direction and Liverpool ought to operate the same way and not like the ‘feeder club’ the world has started to see them in recent years.
FSG have a great chance to (in some degree) change that perception in one window by not only retaining their biggest star, but also by acquiring their first-choice targets through whatever means necessary, some things that should have been done in the past.
Now only doing one action and not the other would certainly not be the end of the world for Liverpool fans, although it would be significantly better to keep Coutinho, it would not be a dramatic and clear step forward in the right direction. It would be more of a two steps forward, one step backward kind of move.
What Liverpool fans need to see is their owners learn from their previous mistakes and take the steps necessary to advance into the conversation of Europe’s elite clubs.
It is clear the manager is willing to make the necessary sacrifices to move forward; the question is whether or not the owners possess the same ambition to make those financial sacrifices.
Red legend Steve Nicol does not seem to think so as he was quoted in the Liverpool Echo saying:
Eventually somewhere down the line someone has to say that the good of the club is the most important thing… if they (the owners) go and sell the best player it tells me as far as they are concerned it’s about making sure the business is okay and forgetting the glory.
Liverpool will reach a critical juncture in the coming days as the transfer window closes. Time will tell which path they choose to go down.