With the transfer window fast approaching, Jack Hallows looks at how each of Jürgen Klopp’s 2016/17 signings performed across the season.
Jürgen Klopp has made a total of seven first-team signings in his time as Liverpool manager so far.
Shrewd deals for Loris Karius, Jöel Matip, Marko Grujic and Ragnar Klavan were reminiscent of the business model he adopted at Borussia Dortmund, while the German proved he is not averse to spending big by splashing £60 million on Sadio Mané and Gini Wijnaldum.
Alex Manninger was also brought in to provide extra advice and an experienced presence for both Karius and Mignolet.
Sadio Mané – £30-35m – A+
Klopp’s most expensive – and arguably best – signing as Liverpool manager so far. The Senegalese split opinion upon his initial signing but hit the ground running with a superb performance on opening day at the Emirates.
The winger injected some much-needed pace into the Reds starting XI and it’s testament to his importance that Klopp’s side struggled monumentally without him as an outlet during his AFCON absence. Finished the season with 13 goals and seven assists from 29 appearances, earning him the Reds’ Player of the Season award and I very much look forward to seeing even more of him next season.
Gini Wijnaldum – £25m – A
Started the season slowly and despite assisting goals for Adam Lallana against both Arsenal and Leicester, many fans – myself included – were left asking “what does he actually do?”
In fact, it wasn’t until the Reds slump in January that Wijnaldum really came to the fore as he morphed impressively into the ultimate big game player. Within an eight week period, the Dutchman scored the winner against Manchester City, the equaliser against Chelsea and contributed with goals in consecutive victories against Arsenal and Burnley.
Loris Karius – £4.7m – C
Things definitely didn’t always go Karius’ way during his first season in English football and while there were a handful of good performances that showed the potential Klopp sees in him, he was incredibly error prone.
Mistakes against Bournemouth and West Ham along with a major vulnerability to set pieces were the root cause of his downfall. It is worth remembering that he fractured his hand in pre-season and with a full summer of preparations under his belt, this time round could be a much different proposition.
Ragnar Klavan – £4.2m – B-
Signed as a backup option who himself would probably admit he wasn’t expecting to get as game time as he did this season, Klavan did alright for the most part. The Estonian provided an experienced head at the back and it seemed as if the bigger the occasion, the more he was able to up his performance.
Solid showings against the likes of Everton and Man City saw him pocket two of the league’s most dangerous strikers but for every 8/10 performance, there seemed to always be a 5/10 lurking around the corner.
Jöel Matip – Free Transfer – B+
Would have received an A if it weren’t for his injury record. The Cameroonian was a superb signing for the Reds and it finally looks as if we’ve got a quality centre-back at the club.
Strong, tall, fast and composed on the ball, Matip is everything that Klopp would want in a central defender and while he was an unknown quantity when he arrived, he’s quickly become a fan favourite. Matip also provided the Reds with an extra threat at set pieces, scoring against Crystal Palace and hitting the woodwork a number of times across the season.
He will, however, have to improve his absence record next campaign after missing nine League games with injury this season.
Alex Manninger – Free Transfer -?
Brought in presumably as an experienced head to help guide Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet in their development. It’s impossible really to rate him as it’s hard to know what effect he actually had on the pair of keepers but with Mignolet’s recent comments suggesting that the former Arsenal man was a big part of helping him through getting dropped and his resurgence when he returned, I like to think he did the job he was brought in for.