Liverpool could be tempted into building on the success of their summer window by continuing to spend in January. The Reds signed four midfielders ahead of the Premier League campaign, all of whom have impressed at Anfield. Express Sport looks at a dream scenario for Jurgen Klopp come February 1.
Keep Mohamed Salah
That Salah jets off to the Africa Cup of Nations this month may actually prompt some relief at Anfield. The likelihood of a big-money transfer to Saudi Arabia seems unlikely while he seeks to atone for a devastating loss at AFCON with Egypt two years ago.
Salah is almost certain to depart Liverpool in the next couple of years. Staving off interest from the Middle East will no longer be as easy as it was in the summer, with the 31-year-old’s contract ticking into its final 12 months come July.
But there will still be a small sense of achievement if Liverpool manage to keep the winger beyond January. Their title chances rely on Salah remaining on Merseyside for the final months of the campaign.
Joel Matip’s serious knee injury has left Jurgen Klopp without a centre-back, which was perhaps already the weakest area of his squad. The emergence of the 20-year-old Jarell Quansah has eased concerns, but Liverpool still need reinforcements in that position.
Virgil van Dijk, who turns 33 in July, only has a few more years at the top of his game. It would make sense for Liverpool to begin succession planning as early as possible.
A deal for Sporting Lisbon ace Goncalo Inacio, 22, would come at the bargain price of £51m due to a release clause in the Portuguese defender’s contract. With United and Chelsea also linked with Inacio, Liverpool should get in early and complete the transfer this month. It would be a repeat of the tactic that saw Liverpool bring forward plans to sign Cody Gakpo 12 months ago, and Luis Diaz in 2022.
Weakening Man City
Kalvin Phillips might not have played much for Manchester City but luring the midfielder to Anfield still weakens Liverpool’s primary Premier League title rivals. Pep Guardiola already has a relatively small squad and any absence for Rodri has already proved it can halt City’s form.
Signing Phillips would mean Guardiola has even fewer options if Rodri is injured or suspended at any point in the second half of the season. Liverpool have been linked with a loan deal for the England midfielder, whose City career has failed to take off.
The 28-year-old has played just 379 minutes of Premier League football since joining the Treble winners from Leeds in the summer of 2022 – the equivalent of only four full matches. Liverpool need a defensive midfielder and acquiring Phillips on loan would not only strengthen Klopp’s squad, but weaken their main competition for the title.