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How do you grade our summer dealings?

    The summer transfer window is done for another year and the Reds were certainly active, with seven players arriving and seemingly a couple of hundred departing. While other clubs were spending their TV cash windfall like drunken sailors, Liverpool have somehow made a profit. Is that good or bad? Three of our writers share their thoughts on a contentious summer...

The first thing to say here is that, looking back over the summer and last season, I can feel myself getting less arsed by the second with Liverpool right now. I can see clearly that the transfer business of this window has been unsatisfactory but I'm equally going beyond a visceral response and simply retreating into a metaphorical shrug. I mean if the club aren't arsed about winning, why should I be? Because it won't happen if they don't try. 

By no means has it been disastrous: we've done some outward deals that seem to make both footballing and financial sense and appear to have grabbed a couple of good 'uns in Mané and Matip. However, the left back scenario is mad, even if Kloppo wants it that way (to find a slot for Milner?). 

Also the lack of a dominant midfielder - he doesn't have to be a (Christ, I'm sick of these letters) "DM" - is odd for a manager for whom midfield is key, and the lack of a reliable, fit and firing centre forward who can play the Klopp way very worrying. 

I have no issue with his view on Sakho other than the fact he didn't just go for a sale and think the clauses going into sales and loans of youngsters are eminently sensible. 

However, do you know anyone who can muster more than bemusement at our window? I don't. It seems truly mad to recoup more than we spend with all around spending like oligarchs. 

So, overall, I'll give this window a 5/10 when we needed a 9 at the very least. However, judging by Klopp's comments and demeanour, he sees it as at least a 7 and possibly better. I can't get my head round that and I'm therefore not anticipating much in the way of pleasure at the match this season. Still, isn't that what being a Red is these days?

And yes, I still miss Luis... 

 

Paul Natton

@OxtonSoulBoy

 


 

I'm sure I'm not in the minority but I'm thoroughly downhearted about the transfer window. It doesn't feel like the club has done nearly enough to get itself back up amongst the higher echelons of the league. 

 

First you could say "well we bought seven players" but that's not really the whole story. Of those seven only Mané looks like a cast-iron quality acquisition. Karius hasn't played, Klavan is a back-up, Matip might be good, the fella from Newcastle should join a hacker group he's so anonymous, Grujic doesn't seem to be able to get a sniff of the first team and I thought Manninger was dead. That's not a squad overhaul, it's a cheap facelift in a backstreet doctors. I'll never get over Klopp willingly parting with Allen to play someone who cost £10 million more and provides less for the team. So yeah, seven signings - hardly magnificent.

 

Then there's the rebuild factor. "Oh we've got a few years rebuilding", you know who says that? Losers. United, Chelsea and City all responded to sub-par years by regrouping, splashing the cash and powering forward. Look at United, they make a mockery of all Liverpool's excuses. Apparently players want to go to London - wrong. Apparently the best players won't come if you're not in the Champions League - wrong. At this point Liverpool are throwing out bad excuses like the Ghostbusters when they dug up the middle of First Avenue.

 

The club finished the first transfer window of the new TV deal with more money than it started. It shipped out past mistakes because there were so damn many of them and we're all meant to be impressed by that. I've never been more angry than I am at the stagnant sewer that's beginning to fester around the owners. They seem to think because they've put a charismatic manager in place we'll all ignore the lack of spending.

 

 

So, rating? Minus 14.50 / 10, the same number as the negative net spend the club managed. I've never been one to be in the "sIgN Big NaMEz" category but for f***'s sake, sign somebody who is actually coveted by other top clubs.

 

Julian Richards

@Juleswithnoname

 


 

When it comes to making a judgement on the success, or lack of it, in terms of recruitment the problem you will always encounter is that you do not have access to the manager's thoughts or plans for his squad and thus cannot really judge if the gaps you perceive were ever being targeted to be filled. That being said, it's rather safer ground when looking at the players that have been brought into the club and how they look to be shaping up or how efficiently the club has flushed out the players deemed surplus to requirements.

 

The assessment of the work that has been done in showing players the door, and the money that has been negotiated for them, is hugely positive. Bringing in just over £60m for Ibe, Benteke, Skrtel and Allen seems to indicate that the club has really sharpened up when it comes to this aspect of the transfer market, and even some of the less prominent names such as Sinclair, Canos, Alberto and Smith appear to have been sold at good prices (with the four of them alone balancing out the Karius and Grujic deals). With it seeming that we even managed to get someone to pay Balotelli's £4.5 a year wages, and factoring in that we haven't lost any key personnel like in previous summers, you'd have to say the outs have been pretty good.

 

With regards to the players that have joined the club it's hard to make a solid judgement on them so soon into their Liverpool careers but it also looks to be work well done. The biggest signing of the summer, Saido Mane, has rocketed out of the traps for the club and looks to be, already, a key player for the side and will be a huge factor if there is to be a good showing this season. There is reason to be very positive about what Karius, Matip and Klavan can bring to the squad for very prudent fees and it's only really Wijnaldum that might be raising a little concern after a quiet start to his efforts to justify his fee.

 

With the club making a net profit on transfer fees this window the question of whether there has been a missed opportunity to add something extra to the squad is one that won't be going away any time soon, unless the current squad blow it away on the pitch.

 

The glaring issue that mystifyingly remains is at left-back. Klopp may defend Moreno publicly but he clearly doesn't rate him enough to play him ahead of Milner at the moment, which does beg the question why he wouldn't want to sign a specialist. Maybe he thinks that those two can cover that position adequately for what he wants, or that the squad cohesion and team spirit aspect is more important than chancing an improvement there with someone he hasn't had a summer with? Whatever the reality it looks to be the big banana skin that he may well slip up on this year if he isn't careful.

 

Overall: 7.5 / 10

 

Stu Montagu

@SimianJustice

 

 


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Not signing a left back makes the entire window a shambles for me, as that was the most glaring need and everybody knew it, especially after the Europa League Final. It seems to me that Klopp hasn't signed one because he wants Milner in his team and left back is the only place he can fit him in, at least not without dropping Henderson.
 
It's early days, and I do expect  him to get better, but is Wijnaldum an upgrade on Allen (a player who seems to be coming into the prime of his career now and is in the form of his life)? And even if so, is he a £10m upgrade? That money could have been better spent elsewhere.
 
The biggest issue for me though is the fact we've made a profit when there were still holes that needed filling. I'd probably be a whole lot more ok with that if we weren't still paying through the fucking nose for match tickets.
 
When we complained about the planned price increase, there were fans (most of whom never have to pay those prices as they don't go) telling us to suck it up because the club needs to charge a lot in order to attract the best players. No, seriously, that's the kind of thing I was having to respond to on twitter.
 
So, in a summer where clubs are rolling in cash thanks to the new TV deal, we've managed to turn a profit on transfers and lower the wage bill. How about filtering some of that extra wealth down to the match going fan who's been getting shafted more and more each year?
 
Yeah, didn't think so.
 
Charging us Man United prices when we're being outspent by Bournemouth.

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We've brought in some really good signings this window in Wijnaldum, Matip, Grujic, Karius. Been particularly impressed with Mane. We cleared a load of deadwood out and got great fees for Ibe and Benteke. Its good the club also inserted buy back clauses for some of the younge rplayers to leave and minimum playing time clauses for loanees.

 

Apart from a left back, I dont think the window has been disasterous as some say as its always been my belief it'll take Klopp more than one summer window to create his Liverpool.

 

We've made a profit mainly because we got the thick end of £52m for Ibe, benteke and who else was it, randall?

 

7 out of 10.

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We seem to have made the same mistakes we've been making ever since FSG took over, missing out on top targets, signing players in positions we don't need, not signing players for positions we're down to the bare bones in and trying to fit square pegs into round holes in order to save money.

 

Different managers all making the same mistakes? Or an edict from above? Either way it's bullshit and only leads to a declining league position and a pissed off fan base. - 5/10

 

But if the Club's only ambition is to make money and be a billion pound Club, then - 10/10

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I voted 5-6.

 

Wide player: Mane 8/10 - Looks a good player

Centre mid: Wijnaldum 4/10 - Not what we need, we already have Milner and Hendo who could do his job of running around harassing people. We needed someone who could control the midfield and this guy ain't it.

Centre back: Matip, Klavan 7/10 - They look solid enough

Goalkeeper: Karius 7/10 - I've never seen him play so it's more out of hope...

Left back: .... 4/10 - I don't rate Moreno as poorly as most people, but some competition for him would be ideal.

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6/10.

 

We've not solved the obvious glairing weakness at left back. Our back up to Moreno is Milner who is not a full back. We sold or loaned out our alternatives in that position, and we were trying to move on perhaps the one player who I think could grow into the role if given an extended run - Sakho.

 

People have mentioned that we need a dominant defensive midfielder as our options look a little threadbare in that position. Putting either Can or Henderson in there limits their games. Lucas lacks a yard of pace, and Stewart lacks experience at the top level.

 

The saving grace for that situation is that it might work out for Klopp to NOT have two buccaneering full backs. If one of them is very much a defender first instead of a player who likes to bomb forward, then it takes a bit of pressure off the central midfielders. It also means we don't have to see the likes of Coutinho provide half-hearted back up to our left back.

 

We could find ourselves needing to make corrections in January and while the excuse about lack of value is often trotted out when we fail to act or complete deals, we have history with finding excellent additions in the January window whether they've provided immediate impetus or become a long-term solution.

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If we'd sold all the players we sold and only signed Kante and Mane I'd be absolutely delighted. For all the defensive flaws in this team.they are still an attacking force and the addition of Kante to put all the fires out our defence create for themselves and the pace power and skill of Mane we'd be serious contenders.

 

As it stands we didn't sign the animal of a midfielder that like the rug in the dudes house would have really tied the room together.

 

That said we could be looking at a civil war scenario where Klopp has come out and said he was promised this and that but the owners have reneged.

 

Klopp has said time and again he has the final say on signings, this is his team and he's happy with his squad so even if I don't agree with everything he's done this summer I'm looking forward to the season because Klopp is happy.

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I agree with Dave . Our dealings are overshadowed by the elephant in the room by the name of Moreno. On top of the fiasco with Sakho and the lack of a decent DM it will cost us a shed load of points and risks demoralising the rest of the side, Damage limitation to January and hope we can strengthen seems to be the plan, 

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I think Klopp will be happy. He got two players to help with his pressing game (Mane, Wijnaldum), added electric pace (Mane again), a keeper and some centre backs.  I think that's all he wanted really. If he wanted a left back and a defensive midfielder he would have signed those players first.  

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I think Klopp will be happy. He got two players to help with his pressing game (Mane, Wijnaldum), added electric pace (Mane again), a keeper and some centre backs.  I think that's all he wanted really. If he wanted a left back and a defensive midfielder he would have signed those players first.

 

He tried to sign Chilwell and Zielinski/Dahoud at the start of the window didn't he?

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So, in a summer where clubs are rolling in cash thanks to the new TV deal, we've managed to turn a profit on transfers and lower the wage bill. How about filtering some of that extra wealth down to the match going fan who's been getting shafted more and more each year?

 

Yeah, didn't think so.

 

Charging us Man United prices when we're being outspent by Bournemouth.

This is pretty much where I'm at.

 

Before we ask "where are the players?", we should be asking "where is the money?". I know that will draw comparisons with the bitters and the arteta question, but both are legitimate enquiries.

 

Football. Cash cow, isn't it.

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I think there's an awful lot of blame being shoved at FSG for not giving Klopp any money when every indication is that he didn't want any more money.

 

As for our transfers overall, I'd give our purchasing a 7/10, our selling a 10/10.  So overall probably right at an 8/10.

 

Our biggest two problems were lack of goals from wide, which we solved with Mane, and a horrific goalkeeper, which we solved with Karius.  After that, it's pretty poor.  Matip for free is nice, Klavan is decent but kind of meh, and Grujic if you could him looks promising.  The one I don't really get is Wijnaldum - if you have £25m for a midfielder, looking at our squad, then that's a really strange choice.  

 

So now we have two obvious weaknesses left to fix - left back and another centre mid to play alongside Can.  If Grujic turns out to be amazing, then maybe the second one is half-fixed.  And I personally don't think the Milner/Moreno combo is nearly as bad as most make out.  It's not great, for sure, but we almost won the league with John Flanagan at left back, and those two are both miles better than him, so it's hardly the end of the world.

 

I think we end up 50-50 shots at top four, and I'm well aware that goes against the prevailing "woe is us" thinking after Burnley.  Given that we made a profit on the summer business and we started with such a poor squad, a 50-50 shot at CL places next season has got to be at least a 7.5/10.  Could have been better, sure, but when you look at some of the clubs around us it could have been much worse too.

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i find it very difficult to look at our squad and think it is capable of a better finish than 6th...so on that basis i would say the window has been not too great...but then we had January as well to allow Klopp to start the rebuild and we did nothing then...so hopefully this window sees us improve a little and the next two finish the job...

 

I have my doubts we will do what we need to though - or keep pace with those around us let alone those we are chasing.

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It's been utter shite and it stinks. 

 

Fuck FSG those fucking tight ass joy killing shithouses. Sign the players that match your Forbes rating or get the fuck out. I'm fucking pissed off that we're slipping into a coma of blandness and we'll never rise from it.

 

I demand the title, I demand the best most exciting players OUR money can buy, if you think that makes me a cunt you are wrong because there are many other reasons I am a cunt. 

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The lack of a striker is a baffling one, pinning your hopes on sturridge is a bad idea in general and I think we'll struggle for goals especially in big games.

 

Mane looks good but already we're falling into the Liverpool trap of pinning all our hopes on one lad, when what we should have been doing is building a balanced squad with more than one top quality player.

 

There seems no semblance of a strategy at all. I thought after klopp came in, or at least after the final, there would have been some kind of war council where this was all planned and addressed, but seemingly not. A good attacked and some 'fill the gaps' freebies and the like. Strange.

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The lack of a striker is a baffling one, pinning your hopes on sturridge is a bad idea in general and I think we'll struggle for goals especially in big games.

 

Mane looks good but already we're falling into the Liverpool trap of pinning all our hopes on one lad, when what we should have been doing is building a balanced squad with more than one top quality player.

 

There seems no semblance of a strategy at all. I thought after klopp came in, or at least after the final, there would have been some kind of war council where this was all planned and addressed, but seemingly not. A good attacked and some 'fill the gaps' freebies and the like. Strange.

I think we're pinning our hopes on Sturridge, Origi, Ings and Firmino.

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I can't rate it yet, the effects cannot be judged for a while.

 

If Klopp gets it all working well and his belief in his squad is realised on the pitch then we will say he's a genius and it was a 10/10 transfer window. If the concerns we all have are realised and ruin our season then we will say "we told you so" and anger will rise at what will then have been a 2/10 transfer window. 

 

We all expected with the tv money and the knowledge that there would be a clear out, that we would have a decent wedge to spend on quality. I was reading an interview with Alonso yesterday and he goes on about how working with better players improved him. I firmly believe that you need world class players in your squad to raise the game of some of the other players.

 

For me there has been no ambition shown in the window, yes we have ditched the dross and we have improved in certain areas. What we haven't done is show some ambition. I accept that as a mid table team it can be difficult to attract players, whose fault is it that we are a mid table team?

 

Let's hope Klopp can work his magic this season despite the owners and we can look back on this window and think it really wasn't so bad after all. 

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EVERYTHING in the garden is rosy. We have Jürgen Klopp as manager. We’re gonna win the league.

Oh, hang on a minute.
To what extent have we actually strengthened? Is Klopp capable of managing his pruned squad into contenders for the title or, if you’re not that bothered with the glory game, the empty chalice that is the top four?
P.S. It is early days, I know, but we’re 11th. Are we destined for another season competing with the also-rans?

 

I find myself oscillating between these two moods. Why can’t I be consistent? Because I’m a Liverpool fan and I want to win. I’m in no mood for hanging around and as a supporter first and foremost, my emotions aren’t always a bastion of rationale.
After Arsenal, I was bathing in the light of the rosy garden. After Burnley and Spurs — where five points were ceded frustratingly to title rivals — I have stumbled into a darker room. I detest deadline day with a passion but when the transfer window slammed shut, my eyes and equilibrium also adjusted to the dropping of an opaque blind.

 

Examining the Reds’ summer transfers, the hard facts of the matter are that Liverpool FC is in profit; only two Premier League clubs with a healthier summer balance sheet. This at a time when the eighth richest club in the world is awash with cash from a TV bonanza.

Making my guarded views public, via the insane medium of Twitter, brings out not so much the FSG apologists — though they do feature — but the staunchest of Klopp advocates.
Wails of “It’s what Klopp wants” and “It’s what Klopp did at Dortmund” most accurately sum up the defence of our cautious summer activity.

While Liverpool struggled during the middle third of last season, fans castigated the legacy of the players left at Klopp’s disposal. They bemoaned the timing of his appointment and insisted with a cull, his own men brought in, a punishing pre-season, and time to drill in his methods on the training ground everything would suddenly improve.

It’s an understandable argument given Klopp’s recruitment and development of young footballers at Borussia Dortmund and their high-intensity style which brought consecutive Bundesliga crowns. But, is Klopp the only manager in the Premier League capable of instilling high-octane fitness into his players? Are Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, and Antonio Conte, and dare I say Ronald Koeman, not also adept at coaching the best from their players; training their charges to realise more than the sum of their more expensively assembled parts?

 

If leaving some blindingly obvious gaps in the quality of the Reds’ squad is “What Klopp wants”, I’m struggling to get behind that. Most supporters would admit there is a clear issue at left-back. The manager himself recognised that in dropping Alberto Moreno in favour of James Milner.
In his recent interview with Gary Lineker, Klopp explained that he doesn’t want questions from players asking why they’re not in the team; explaining the obvious conclusion is that they’re not good enough. So, think of another question Albie, other than “OK, why am I still here, gaffer?”
Most would agree that Milner at left-back is a sticking plaster; a plodding right-footed midfield yeoman in a modern game that demands pace from full-back. A dubious improvement on a fleet-footed leftie prone to suspect decision-making.

 

I hear from fans that Klopp “Won’t spend money for the sake of it”, which alludes to there being no upgrade at left-back in world football available at the right price.
If that really is Jürgen’s opinion then I’d prefer to see the German adhere to his development philosophy and coach improved positional sense into Moreno. I’m not fussy on the alternative; to persist with honest medium-pacer Milner who was caught out by a long ball in the build up to Spurs’ equaliser last weekend.

If the left side of defence is the most obvious area to stick the boot in, we remain short in other positions. Cover for Nathaniel Clyne on the opposite flank appears non-existent and if Mamadou Sakho has been told he won’t play first-team football again this season, then we’re an injury or suspension away from Ragnar Klavan having to erase his Burnley nightmare from our consciousness.
The Burnley reverse also asks questions of the driving force and creativity in a midfield three of Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana. Perhaps the eventual return of Emre Can partially resolves this issue, but if Liverpool had any real desire to go into the red during the window then an inventive bona fide midfielder with scope and pace to go past his man wouldn’t have gone amiss. Proven players of this ilk cost money and therein lies the rub.

 

What are the alternatives? How do we ensure a consistent spread of goals across matches, rather than racking up the occasional four or five when we’re allowed to play?
To me, unless Klopp envisages a diversion from false nines and/or one up front, the Reds will always struggle to create chances against teams who recognise our counter attacking strength and happily defend in numbers or “park the bus”.

 

Compounding concerns over breaking teams down (Burnley) and converting superiority into goals (Spurs) — home and away — is a confused picture up front. Danny Ings looks short of quality and opportunity and Divock Origi (still a novice) is struggling to recapture last season’s effervescence. When we do inevitably revert to fielding a stock-in-trade goalscorer, Daniel Sturridge remains, by a distance, the best poacher on the books.

 

Aside from the obvious — that his body no longer allows work-rate prerequisite for the Klopp pressing game — I’m struggling to make sense of the manager’s handling so far of a clearly disgruntled player; unless he legitimately feels that Sturridge with a point to prove is in his most potent mindset.
It seems increasingly fanciful to imagine Klopp and Sturridge not locking horns. However, following on from his omission at Arsenal, a stint on the right against Burnley and a needless snub at the hands of Origi and eventual 88th minute introduction at Tottenham (after goals in midweek at Burton) the only wonder is that a “surprise” Sturridge departure wasn’t the late gatecrasher to SKY’s deadline day party.

I constantly hear that Klopp “wants to wait” for his preferred targets and doesn’t want to spunk money like Brendan Rodgers. Bundesliga lads Mahmoud Dahoud and Christian Pulisic possibly fall into this category as we fiddle while another season burns.
Don’t hold your breath for January. The modern Liverpool FC has an array of excuses for waiting, particularly in winter. Two league titles shrivelled on the vine of January inertia and neglectful reliance on David N’Gog and Iago Aspas.

 

For transfer window balance, Sadio Mane, a long-held Klopp target, looks a fabulous signing. Wijnaldum shows promise as a midfield runner, supporting counters in the mould of a Terry McDermott. Joel Matip — on a sample of one league game — looks a classy centre-half. Loris Karius, arriving with a reputation much bigger than his transfer fee, still has to forge his way past an improved Simon Mignolet. Each acquisition has Klopp’s fingerprints all over it and for that, at least, we have to be thankful.

 

But is that all that Klopp really wants? I beg to differ and I hope I’m right.
I really want to win the league but I’m not convinced we’ve tried hard enough to achieve that this summer or even establish a bridge to challenge next year. Klopp — or the club (whatever that means these days) — might be happy to wait, but I’m not. Do you what you can and do it now.
I’m not going to apologise on anyone’s behalf for thinking that careful recruitment and development is what FSG want and they have a happy coincidence that Klopp views himself of the arch proponent of that strategy. It might work in this league — or it might not — but too much is being gambled on a wing and a prayer.

Perhaps at the root of all this Jürgen has been told to keep schtum. His paymasters might have had a word. Six year contracts are good for apparent stability when prospective suitors are sniffing around.
When we take our Liverpool FC and Jürgen Klopp blinkers off, maybe we look at a long list of departures –offset by some potentially prudent first-team investments that keep us competitive — and accept our transfer strategy this summer wasn’t all about the football.

 

However, as much we want to believe in Klopp wanting to play it his way and still win the unfair EPL game, our 2016 recruitment was more about respectfully taking part than the winning. Admirable soundbites pertaining to an ethical way of working in this game of dirty morals have been swallowed hook, line and sinker.

 

FSG might soon have another, more extensive profit to calculate from their portfolio. Analyse those healthy balance sheets again and ponder that eyes weren’t fixed exclusively on the glory this summer but instead cast to the riches of the Far East.

 

http://www.theanfieldwrap.com/2016/09/liverpool-transfer-troubles-has-jurgen-klopps-strategy-made-us-title-winners-or-contenders/

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