Free Friday: The Transfer Window (part 24, 356), Inverse Bounce and Jimmy Armfield

Free Friday: The Transfer Window (part 24, 356), Inverse Bounce and Jimmy Armfield
January 26, 2018 Daniel Rhodes
In Free, Free Friday

This week’s posts selected by Chris Rowland and Daniel Rhodes.

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1 – Kloppsession’s views on this January transfer window and beyond:

I think the club’s strategy is to only buy when they’re a). Pretty sure the player is a great fit, not just a good one – both in terms of quality and price, and b). The selling club is willing to do a deal. I think overall this strategy has been incredibly successful so far, as we have signed quite a few gems for not outrageous fees. But the drawback is that the list of options is not that large, because – and that’s the feeling I get – the club and Klopp want to be really sure before they are buying someone and not take random punts, rather give youth or reserve players a chance instead, for example (Klavan filling in for VVD, Gomez/TAA coming in for Clyne, Woodburn being kept in Jan).

The way I see it, LFC tried to replace Couts by bringing Keita in early, and/or tying up Goretzka for the summer (and making do with the existing squad in the meantime). Neither of these worked out, for good enough reasons, so we may well have to accept we are not signing anyone else, so not going down the list and compromising on quality and fit. I’m fine with this – would rather see someone come in myself, but given the success rate of our transfers lately I think these kinds of situations are a natural outcome of the successful strategy rather than someone messing up. If we want to complete with the deep pockets of Chelsea, City and Utd, we need to play smarter then them, and being extra-careful with our transfer targets can be one way of doing this.

In the shorter term, maybe this will result in Woodburn getting a few games in rotation or as a sub, which should be great for his development, but can be a bit of a risk. Still, we might bring someone in before the window shuts, so let’s see what happens in the next couple of weeks first!

2 – Warm words from Benjamin on the death of Jimmy Armfield:

Jimmy Armfield was the voice of a reassuring Uncle in a world of children – whilst his co-commentators might have unknowingly regurgitated some foolish narrative he was warm, astute, mature, unjudgemental, and generous with his words.

A great commentator, he will be missed.

3 – Paul Tomkins on the inverse ‘bounce’ factor after a big win, in his article The First Defeat In Months Means Little Other Than Reds Went 18 Games Unbeaten,:

Just as a team is supposedly at its most vulnerable after scoring – according to the myth, but maybe not the data? – it can be hard to follow an outstanding victory, where you can lose a little of the hunger from your play. This is why confidence is such a two-way street. It can lead to better performances but also a slackening off; while losing can lead to worse performances, or an intensified effort. These are all human traits.

In “Bounce”, Matthew Syed talks about the depression that comes from success, although that is perhaps only half applicable to Liverpool after beating Manchester City, because nothing tangible was achieved. Perhaps – and I’m guessing here – it’s like taking heroin: utter euphoria, followed by the mother of all downers. Why? Because aims and goals are killed. There’s nothing worse than getting what you want, apparently.

I also think the intensity of an occasion, and result, like against City, leads to a comedown, just as a young player who does well in the first team will invariably struggle when back with the U23s, as it’s just not as invigorating. I don’t think Liverpool were unprofessional last night, or that anyone wasn’t trying. But the zip was missing; again, perhaps this was down to a pitch that served as a leveller. And the Reds still did enough to win.

4 – Ding on the transfer window’s possible impacts on the bigger picture:

First, if we miss out on top four and getting to CL quarters, I don’t think it’ll be due to a lack of attacking depth, but coz the first XI misfired like they did on Monday. It would be coz our best players didn’t perform at their expected levels despite sufficient rest (as the busiest period is behind us and Klopp has gotten more canny at rotating) rather than coz we didn’t have enough backup players or that the backup wasn’t good enough.

Second, another problem is that we can’t really comment on anything with certitude. We’re on the outside looking in – only Klopp and his staff have the full picture.

For example, is it true that Woodburn, Ings and Solanke are not up to the task? We all have an opinion but we’re not football specialists so it’s hard to assess their exact quality, and furthermore we only see glimpses of them (and of possible targets like Malcom, Lemar, etc) so our viewpoint may not be fully rounded.

Is it true that Lemar or Malcom or whomever is actually keen on a move in January? Are their clubs actually willing to sell? We can’t be sure about the answers to questions like that either. Even if both answers are yes, would you pay £90m for a 22 year old with only 2-3 seasons in top flight French football? Obviously we paid a huge amount for van Dijk, so we will pay what it takes if the player is absolutely the one Klopp wants. That it hasn’t already happened tells you something about how much Klopp rates that deal.

Will getting a stopgap now be beneficial for us? We can’t know the answer to that either – there may well be multiple downsides without the benefits we’re looking for. Short of a situation like when we signed Sturridge and Coutinho in January 2012, we may get players who don’t fit in well and take a long time to get up to speed, don’t contribute much on the pitch as a result, and becoming a hindrance (such as in terms of wages) when we do want to get our first choice signings in summer. Look at how long it took us to get rid of Carroll or Balotelli, and how Markovic is still on the books. (In the meantime Balotelli’s attitude probably damaged the team in the dressing room as well.)

While I share the sentiment of Jon and Krish – that we’re taking a big risk – as fans we also have to accept that this is the way Klopp works. And he knows much more than us.

5 – GerryC on the 2001 FA Cup Final:

On that day I was at the match with my younger brother and my cousin as we had season tickets together. We were in the first row of the upper tier looking along the by-line to the goal in which we scored the two goals. In front of us was a rather famous banner, not ours unfortunately, which read ‘Nous Sommes Encroyable’. At the exact moment of Owen’s second, the overhead camera was immediately above us and our celebrations were broadcast live on Sky. We received numerous calls telling us at the time. Later, a friend had recorded the game and we managed to get stills of our celebrations that we copied and had printed onto our Christmas cards that year bearing the banner ‘Season’s Greetings’.

Articles published on The Tomkins Times this week:

Monday January 22nd:

The Secret Pundit Takes on the Commentators, Part 14: ‘He’s a Real Talent’, by P.Dantic.

Tuesday January 23rd:

Post-Match Analysis: Swansea City (A), by Daniel Rhodes.

The First Defeat In Months Means Little Other Than Reds Went 18 Games Unbeaten, by Paul Tomkins.

Wednesday January 24th:

Post-Match Analysis: Arsenal 1 Liverpool 2, FA Cup Final, 2001, by Andrew Beasley.

Thursday January 25th:

FA Cup Preview | 4th Round | WBA (h) By Gary Fulcher