Does Reds' transfer window show an affirming belief in young English players?
When the transfer window slammed shut on January 31, many Liverpool fans were left scratching their heads as to whether it had been successful for the club, or whether they've been left woefully short up front.
The only business that saw players arrive at Anfield was the purchase of Virgil Van Dijk and Falkirk left-back Tony Gallacher. Van Dijk's arrival made headlines and had fans expecting so much more to follow. After all, if there's £75m to spend on one defender, there must be a cool £30m left over for a forward?
Philippe Coutinho's long-expected move to Barcelona has left the club with cash to spare even after breaking the transfer record for a defender. Speaking of Barcelona, Tony Gallacher was once coveted by the Catalan side and his £250k move may yet prove to be a masterstroke, too. He's a slow burner, but up top, the Reds needed sudden impact.
That need was heightened as old "sick note" himself, Daniel Sturridge, found himself out on loan at West Bromwich Albion. That was another transfer window move that took many by surprise, despite him only playing four games since November 1st. West Brom think they've pulled off something of a coup, if he can stay injury free they'll be right. Sturridge has now moved to 5/1 to be including in the 2018 World Cup squad in latest football betting.
Every other departing player was on the fringes of the action; Lazar Markovic since coming off the bench against QPR in 2015 and his loan at Anderlecht is surely a precursor to a permanent departure from Anfield.
The problem wasn't players leaving, but the expectation that an additional centre-forward would come in. Firmino, Mane or Mo Salah are the only recognised strikers that could be described as first team and injury to those players causes significant problems. Danny Ings may have been around the set up for a while, but he's only started three times in the Premier League and was never intended to come in and lead the line.
The other option is youngster Dominic Solanke, perhaps the mild consternation at the lack of incoming forwards should be offset by the belief that Klopp trusts in youth. Despite spending the largest amount on a single player in this window, it could be that Liverpool are about to buck the trend of throwing money at an issue and trust in a younger player to make a major impression. When you consider the manager likes to rotate his squad, it does seem as though Solanke's chances are going to become more frequent over the next couple of months.
Solanke has 19 appearances to his name this season, none of which have brought a goal. He's been capped by England from under 16 level right the way through to the senior squad, where in November, Gareth Southgate gave him his first England cap.
In some quarters, Liverpool had a poor transfer window, but what is a transfer window? Why does a team in fourth necessarily need to spend £65m on a striker if the manager feels his attacking options are sufficient? Why, when one of the brightest talents in the English game is on the fringes of the first team, do fans demand an expensive foreign import to restrict his growth and development?
In not signing a striker, Liverpool Football Club may have finally drawn a line in the sand and put the development of exciting young players ahead of risky, high-priced foreign imports. If that is the case, they should be applauded.
Only time will tell.