Roberto Mancini made a few new signings in the summer of 2012, but they weren’t major additions. Javi Garcia was the most prominent, along with Matija Nastasic, Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair. Instead of improving on the first XI, Mancini chose to step up his save options.
However, City finished second the following season, 11 points behind champions Manchester United, who had improved the squad with the addition of Robin Van Persie. Since then, during the summer transfer window of 2014, 2018 and 2019, City have been keen to strengthen the team that had just won the title.
It’s the same thing Chelsea did well, with United under Sir Alex Ferguson: building up a strong squad, as your rivals will undoubtedly strengthen themselves to win the title.
It is therefore a little surprising that at Liverpool, Liverpool’s first champion, Jurgen Klopp chose to follow the path of consolidation which cost City the title in 2013.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s Community Shield shock, Klopp was asked about the lack of transfer activity at Anfield – aside from the addition of new reserve left-back Kostas Tsimikas from Olympiakos.
“It’s not about the number of players everyone will sign,” Klopp said. “At the end of the day, they all have to play with 11.
“Motivation will not be our problem. I know this team won’t stop trying and that’s all I need. I won’t stop trying, but I never expect things to turn out for me.
“I expect me to give absolutely everything and the boys do too. It brings us to a position where we can be really competitive and that’s the first step towards titles. ”
Klopp went on to talk about keeping up the momentum from last season’s meteoric title win and trying to foster the same spirit that made Liverpool so hard to beat before the lockdown.
He continued, “It’s about creating an absolutely hard unit to beat and being a real team ready to suffer for each other. This is the most important thing, not who you can buy from in a very strange time in all of our lives.
“We can’t just attract five players because people want to be busy with it. Every year was pretty much the same. I don’t think I ever bought enough players in a transfer window to make everyone happy.
“It was always ‘Aaargh, we need another one.’ But so far it has worked. It all depends on what kind of mood we can create again for this season.
Klopp’s argument makes sense and he knows the Liverpool team better than anyone. But history suggests that a title-winning team needs new additions to keep the competition high and keep the opponent in doubt.
Maybe the addition of Thiago Alcantara, as has been said, would be the kind of signing they need. In a season with less preparation and two games a week for the majority of the next nine months, team spirit will only go so far. They might not be the best team that wins the title, but rather the one that manages the schedule the best.
City suffered in 2013 by sticking to the starting XI with medals around their necks, and could benefit from the same thinking eight years later. This time, however, it could be Liverpool falling into the complacency trap.