Neil Humphreys: No transfers, no hope for Liverpool
Klopp's decision not to strengthen defence may return to haunt the Reds
Liverpool supporters are nothing if not brutally honest.
As the pressure mounted during the 1-1 draw against Chelsea yesterday morning (Singapore time), Juergen Klopp played conductor once more.
He turned to the masses and demanded greater volume, but one or two members of the orchestra rebelled.
Caught on camera, a small group of disgruntled sceptics seemed to be reminding their manager of how the relationship between footballer and fan works - give us something to cheer about and we'll cheer.
Klopp would do well to heed the warning.
The Anfield faithful have good reason to be irritated. The club didn't invest on anyone during the transfer window.
Liverpool's draw against Chelsea was an obvious improvement on recent performances, but should not overlook the fact that they still finished January without a Premier League victory.
With the Manchester clubs snapping at their heels, falling out of the top four remains a distinct possibility.
The Reds simply cannot keep a clean sheet, earning them the joint-worst defensive record in the top seven.
If we don’t play possession football tonight, it’s ping pong. We played high pressure, so Chelsea play a few long balls. If we do the same, you’d have a stiff neck.Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp explaining why his side passed back to the goalkeeper to build play again, leading to groans from the Anfield crowd
Remarkably, even lowly Middlesbrough have conceded two goals fewer than Liverpool's 28.
Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet's snooze before David Luiz's free-kick was symptomatic of the lethargy that runs through their defensive organisation.
Joel Matip picked the wrong night to suffer an attack of nerves, Dejan Lovren was mediocre and the free-kick itself was earned via a shoddy tackle by midfielder Adam Lallana, after Eden Hazard was allowed a free run through the middle.
Chelsea were vulnerable along both flanks and Liverpool's equaliser resulted from a rare cross into the space that Victor Moses often grants opponents.
And yet, the Reds rarely tested Chelsea's fullbacks because poor James Milner was dead on his feet.
Milner's industry continues to rival men a decade younger than the 31-year-old, but fatigue finally caught up with the committed campaigner at Anfield.
By the final whistle, he was shattered.
But then, he's a left back out of position, alongside a centre back off the pace and a goalkeeper who combines the ridiculous with the sublime in a single game.
That's Liverpool's defence.
No matter how much Klopp champions his beloved gegenpressing, or barks at the crowd, or screams at fourth officials, he hasn't got a back four to win a title.
Perhaps he knew that from the outset. What's more concerning, however, is the suspicion that he may not have a defence to hang on to a top-four spot either.
Liverpool's reluctance to invest in the January window was originally considered part of a rational, long-term transfer strategy, which sounded reasonable before Christmas.
Now the decision looks naive and outdated, particularly as Liverpool ended a winless month by sending Mamadou Sakho to Crystal Palace on loan.
The French defender was a polarising character, but a quick glance at Liverpool's blogs and forums suggests that several Reds fans would have preferred him staying.
January was a time to covet centre backs, not cull them.
Klopp might conceivably argue that he can now start Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana together for the first time since Nov 6.
But Liverpool's problems exist on the other side of the halfway line.
Defensive reinforcements remain in short supply.
Despite the January window's justified reputation for a lack of value and quality, Liverpool's spending record generally bucked that trend.
The Fenway Sports Group, the club's owners, often conducted their best business in January.
Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge and a guy called Luis Suarez all joined in mid-season.
On this occasion, the club bought no one.
The owners' trust in Klopp's powers of motivation is certainly admirable. But the German didn't need trust. He needed transfers.
And any money saved in the window will be nothing compared to the money lost if Liverpool miss out on the Champions League again.