Former Liverpool captain Graeme Souness has implored the club to strengthen their squad in the summer transfer window and feels they should go all-out to try and sign Timo Werner.
The Reds have been linked with the RB Leipzig striker for some time and, according to German journalist Christian Falk, they are now firm favourites to secure a deal for the 24-year-old.
Souness feels that, despite Liverpool sitting 25 points clear at the top of the Premier League and winning the Champions League last season, they cannot be content with the squad they currently have if they want to stay on top.
Speaking on Sky Sports‘ The Football Show [via Daily Mail], he said: “I would think they go after Werner. When we were the dominant team we spent money and brought players in. Liverpool bought players like [Andy] Robertson and Fabinho who didn’t go straight into the team. Players who don’t have to be superstars from the very first moment.
“Manchester United had that for the best part of 20 years, where you don’t want to be is when you’re playing catch up – buying players under pressure. For Liverpool to invest now, as a player it gives you motivation. More competition is always healthy. Even when Liverpool were super successful, Bob Paisley was looking to improve.”
Souness is right to advise Liverpool to ensure that they clinch a deal for Werner, a scorer of 27 goals in 36 games this season. Although the Reds’ first choice front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have scored 49 goals between them in the current campaign, the backup forwards of Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri and Takumi Minamino have contributed only six goals between them, five of which are Origi’s (as per TransferMarkt). That indicates a massive dependency on the three preferred options staying fit and on form for Liverpool.
Souness cited Manchester United as a club who kept seeking to add to their squad even in times of huge success and the same can be said of Manchester City in more recent years. Pep Guardiola’s team won the last two Premier League titles with 100 and 98 points respectively but he still felt the need to make three £50m+ signings in that time in Riyad Mahrez, Rodri and Joao Cancelo. Even with the current champions racking up huge points totals, Guardiola wasn’t slow to spend big when he felt the need to do so.
As for Robertson and Fabinho at Anfield, Souness makes a good point about that pair needing time to establish themselves in Liverpool’s team. The Scottish defender had to wait for Alberto Moreno to get injured midway through the 2017/18 season before finally getting a sustained run in the first team, in time becoming a hugely influential creative presence with 20 assists since August 2018.
The Brazilian, meanwhile, had to wait for more than two months of his first season at the club before featuring in the Premier League but went on to become a fixed presence in the Reds’ midfield. Within a year of making his league bow for Liverpool, he was hailed as the best holding midfielder in the world by Gary Neville on Sky Sports [via This Is Anfield].
The examples of Robertson and Fabinho show that players who don’t hit the ground running upon joining a new club can subsequently evolve into core elements of the team. Even if Werner is signed and doesn’t set the world alight at first, he can take inspiration from some at Anfield and go on to become a huge asset for the Reds.
Also, as Souness has said, Liverpool could stand to benefit from having frenetic competition for places, something which is lacking among their current attacking options, in turn having a stronger squad and being in a better position to maintain their present status as the top team in England.
Liverpool fans, do you agree with Souness’ remarks? Let us know in the comments section below!