'Does Jurgen Klopp really have the call on transfers?' - Eamon Dunphy dissects Liverpool's January collapse
Eamon Dunphy believes that Liverpool's lack of spending, defensive frailties and fatigue are the causes of their January slump which has saw them tamely exit both the EFL Cup and League Cup and on the verge of exiting the title race.
The Reds go into tomorrow's pivotal Premier League clash with Chelsea knowing that a defeat will more than likely mean another trophyless season and their worst run of results at Anfield since 1923.
Writing in his column in today's Irish Daily Star, Dunphy claims that Liverpool must start spending big in order to compete with their affluent rivals.
"Klopp maintains that he wants to coach players to become better and work with what he has, rather than throw money at a problem," he said.
"But is this just window-dressing?
"The general rule in the modern game is that you have to spend big if you want to compete for the big prizes.
"Does Klopp have the call on transfers at Liverpool football club? There was a transfer committee in place there in the recent past, and there's talk that the newly-appointed sporting director Michael Edwards has a lot of influence.
"Liverpool knew that Mane would be missing for a month or so, and made no contingency plans.
"They could still finish in the top four this season, as they only have Premier League commitments left on their plate.
"But Liverpool have themselves to blame for letting a season rich with promise fade so fast."
Dunphy criticised Klopp for not dealing with the 'goalkeeping' problem he inherited from Brendan Rodgers and took aim at the 'over praised' Joel Matip, error-prone Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne and the jaded James Milner.
He also claimed that Liverpool have experienced successive winter slumps and the fact that Klopp is used to a month-long break in the Bundesliga may account for a failure to deal with the fixture frenzy.
"You could argue that Klopp's preferred style only works if players get a breather midway through the campaign," he added.