With the season now underway and the end of the transfer window near, it is time to look at Liverpool’s transfers and how they have helped the team and addressed key problems.
Liverpool’s first game of the season was a thrilling 4-3 win away to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. This was the first time since May 2009 that Arsenal have conceded four goals in a league game at the Emirates; the last time being when they lost 4-1 to Chelsea. New signings Wijnaldum, Klavan and Mane played a key role in the win, with Klavan’s physicality in and around the box Liverpool managed to hold onto the three points.
Mane scored his first competitive goal for Liverpool after running onto a through ball and showing some individual brilliance and pace to score Liverpool’s 4th. Finally Wijnaldum played an important role in midfield and was involved in Lallana’s goal. These signings have shown why they were purchased, and hopefully will continue to show this as the league continues.
Liverpool’s outgoing transfers have been in plentiful this season as first team and reserve players have said their goodbyes. Two young talents Jordan Ibe and Brad Smith both made a move to Premier league rivals Bournemouth for a combined fee of £21m. Ibe, 20, joined the Cherries for a total of £15 million back in July, with Smith, 22, following him a few weeks later for a confirmed £6 million. Klopp addressed the transfers of both players to Bournemouth as “perfect” for Liverpool due to the buy-back clauses inserted in the deals for the pair. In my opinion I believe inserting these clauses are smart moves for Liverpool, as both players have talent and could prove to be valuable players in the future, as long as their move to Bournemouth is successful and they gain some experience and skill.
Additionally Liverpool sold both Joe Allen and Martin Skrtel as Klopp believes they no longer have a role to play in the team. Skrtel has been out of touch and Allen, although impressive in the Euros for Wales this year, is not on the level that Jürgen is looking for in his team.
Skrtel made his move to Fenerbahce for £5.5m and Allen moved to Stoke for £13m. Personally I think both transfers are good business as neither player can offer Liverpool what they need to compete at the level Klopp desires. It also frees up some space in the squad for players that can give us a stronger bench and squad depth such as Joel Matip and Marko Grujic.
Other players to have been sold include youth and reserve players, Jordan Rossiter, Jerome Sinclair, Joao Carlos Teixeira, Lawrence Vigouroux and Sergi Canos. These transfers were once again sensible because, although the likes of Rossiter, Teixeira and Sinclair showed promise, they do not have a place in Klopp’s team. Canos was also a prospect but both he and Sinclair had contract issues and were not desired by Klopp.
Jordan Rossiter – Rangers – £250k (compensation)
Jerome Sinclair – Watford – £4m
Joao Carlos Teixeira – Porto – £250k (compensation)
Lawrence Vigouroux – Swindon Town – undisclosed
Sergi Canos – Norwich City – £2.5m
Jordon Ibe – Bournemouth – £15m
Martin Skrtel – Fenerbahce – £5.5m
Joe Allen – Stoke City – £13m
Brad Smith – Bournemouth – £6m
(This list of the players sold comes from: http://www.thisisanfield.com/season/liverpool-fc-transfers-season-201617/)
At the close of last season Liverpool were in need of a few new signings to improve our squad with a deal in principle for Joel Matip we had already made a great signing and more were to follow.
Marko Grujic – Red Star Belgrade – From Loan
Joel Matip – Schalke – Free
Loris Karius – Mainz – £4.7m
Sadio Mane – Southampton – £30m
Ragnar Klavan – Augbsurg – £4.2m
Alex Manninger – Free Contract
Georginio Wijnaldum – Newcastle – £23m
(Once again this list comes from: http://www.thisisanfield.com/season/liverpool-fc-transfers-season-201617/)
Each signing was thought of carefully and has a purpose.
Karius and Manninger both provide goalkeeper cover for Mignolet and Karius may eventually become our number one when he gains experience and proves himself in front of Klopp. Manninger’s signing was mainly to provide some experience to help the other keepers develop but also because of a new rule restricting Liverpool to bring youth goalkeepers back from loan if they are needed. I think both these signings were smart as for a while Liverpool have had problems with goalkeepers and these signings improve our current situation and for a combined fee of £4.7m, due to Manninger being free, these transfers in my opinion are very smart.
Defensively Liverpool have signed Matip and Klavan, both experienced Bundesliga defenders going up against teams such as Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Matip was on a free transfer, which personally I think once again is a great move, he has proven quality and Liverpool were smart to sign him when his contract ran out, saving themselves some money. Klavan only cost £4.2m and already against Arsenal has proven he can turn up and play well in big games against strong teams. Furthermore both players have added height in what was a short team. This makes us much more effective both offensively and defensively in and around the box during set pieces.
Liverpool also signed both Wijnaldum and Grujic as midfielders, as well as Mane who is a prolific attacking midfielder in the Premier League. All three players have looked decent in pre-season, and against Arsenal, Mane produced some brilliance and showed his pace when he scored Liverpool’s 4th of the game.
Personally I think Mane is a great addition as he solved an underlying problem in Liverpool’s attack being pace. After we lost Raheem Sterling we lacked pace, and Mane has not only provided it once again, but is also much more efficient than Sterling. His speed is great on counter attacks, and makes our whole attack faster and more aggressive.
Wijnaldum is another great signing and he provides both pace and skill. He can be a good midfielder going forward for Liverpool this season, already he has been involved in a goal, and showed great tenacity to get Liverpool up the pitch. Something I think we lacked at the beginning of last season but slowly gained back when Klopp joined. Finally Grujic, although young, provides height but also physicality in our midfield, he may not be a starter but he is a great option off the bench, already showing what he can do with his wonderful header against Barcelona, capping of a 4-0 win.
Overall I think our midfield signings have addressed key problems in our team, being height, pace and physicality. Our defensive signings have also provided us with more height, but also more skill and a stronger defence. Finally the signings of Karius and Manninger provide us with more experience, and Karius especially is a good prospect for the future.
Personally I believe this has been one of Liverpool’s more successful transfer windows in the past few years, and with 16 days still left Liverpool may not be done with their summer signings. I think a replacement for Moreno and a defensive midfielder would cap off this window well and finally solve Liverpool’s defensive woes.