Every one of Liverpool's January transfers under Jurgen Klopp - ranked

We're at the midway point of the season, Liverpool are top of the league and the January transfer window is about to open.

Jurgen Klopp has played down expectations for a big month of recruiting, despite the injury concerns in defence, with mid-season not the best time to do your shopping, generally speaking.

The Reds do have form for splashing the cash on January deals, however.

In his eight years at the club, Klopp has averaged one signing per season in the mid-season window – while the Reds have pulled off relatively big-money moves in each of the last two campaigns with Cody Gakpo (2023) and Luis Diaz (2022).

Whether we can expect another high-profile arrival in 2024 remains to be seen, but while we wait, let's look back on the Reds' recent January transfer record.

Here are all eight January signings under Klopp – ranked from worst to best.

8. Ben Davies (2021)

Seville, Spain. 14th December 2023. Ben Davies (26) of Rangers seen during the UEFA Europa League match between Real Betis and Rangers at the Estadio Benito Villamarin in Seville. (Photo credit: Gonzales Photo - Andres Gongora).

Wikipedia assures me that Ben Davies is a real person and not just an accounting trick.

The (supposed) Preston North End centre back was signed for an initial fee of around £500k from Preston during the injury crisis of 2020/21.

However, despite getting to the stage where the Reds were one more injury away from drafting players from the Kop, Davies still couldn't get a look in after his move, with Ozan Kabak (more on him later), Nat Phillips, Rhys Williams, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho all preferred at centre back.

Amazingly, Davies only made the bench four times and was then loaned to Sheffield United the following season.

These days he can be found at Rangers, who paid £4m for him... meaning Liverpool made a 700% profit on a player who never kicked a ball in anger. Michael Edwards, you've done it again.

7. Steven Caulker (2016)

There was a time when Steven Caulker was a highly rated young Premier League centre back. However, that time did not overlap with when Liverpool signed him on loan from Queens Park Rangers.

Five years before the defensive crisis that saw Liverpool turn to Davies, a series of injuries rendered Klopp without several of his first-choice backline going into his maiden January window at Anfield.

Unlike Davies, then 25-year-old Caulker did get on the pitch, making three appearances – all from the bench and all as an emergency striker.

While he didn't score, you could (generously) argue that his presence in amongst it did lead to Adam Lallana's dramatic late winner in the famous 5-4 win over Norwich.

Caulker returned to QPR at the end of the season and enjoyed a revitalising latter-career spell in the Turkish Super Lig.

6. Ozan Kabak (2021)

Ozan Kabak

The other signing of the January 2021 window. Ozan Kabak came highly rated from Schalke and seemed something of a no-brainer at the time, considering he could be brought in on loan, with no obligation to buy outright if things didn't go to plan.

That no-like-no-buy contractual stipulation turned out to be a shrewd decision from the Reds.

The Turkey international was pretty underwhelming in his 13 appearances for Liverpool, with homegrown ressies Williams and Phillips taking most of the plaudits for helping get the Reds over the line into a Champions League finish that season.

Almost exactly one year after starting for Liverpool in a Champions League quarter final, Kabak was playing for Norwich's Under-23 side.

These days he can be found at Hoffenheim.

5. Marko Grujic (2016)

Booking his place in Liverpool history by officially being the first arrival of the Klopp era, Marko Grujic did little else on Merseyside other than arm pub quiz writers with one solid question.

The Serbian defensive midfielder, who arrived from Red Star Belgrade for around £5m, made just 16 first-team appearances for the Reds across three seasons (eight in the Premier League).

However, he did well enough out on loan at Cardiff and Hertha BSC to make Liverpool another tidy profit when he was sold to Porto for £10m in 2020. Kerching.

4. Takumi Minamino (2020)

Takumi Minamino - Liverpool League Cup Trophy Celebrations

Despite only costing around £7m and having fabulous hair, Takumi Minamino initially looked like a rare misstep by the Liverpool transfer committee as he struggled to adapt in his early months at Anfield.

In fairness, he did arrive right in time for the COVID lockdowns and was attempting to insert himself into one of the greatest attacks in the club's history.

After a loan spell at Southampton, he came back stronger, scoring ten times in 24 games of the 2021/22 season, playing a crucial role in the Reds' domestic cup double.

He left a cult hero when he signed for Monaco on a permanent deal (generating more profits) soon after that campaign.

3. Cody Gakpo (2023)

Cody Gakpo, ProShots

Now we're getting to the good stuff.

Like all the best signings, Gakpo's arrival one year ago came pretty much out of the blue with little advanced warning.

The £35m signing from PSV was made all the sweeter by the fact that Manchester United had also been sniffing around the Netherlands international who impressed at the 2022 World Cup.

Along with the tactical switch to a three-box-three system, Gakpo's mid-season arrival helped to change the Reds' ailing season for the better, with the forward scoring seven times in the 2022/23 run-in – including a brace in that 7-0 win over United.

He's struggled for consistency in 2023/24 but is clearly a very talented and versatile addition to Klopp's squad.

2. Luis Diaz (2022)

One year before Gakpo, Diaz was the exciting winter arrival.

The Porto winger had been on Liverpool's radar for some time but his transfer was hastened by interest from Tottenham pushing the Reds into a January deal.

Diaz hit the ground running at Anfield and was a key player in the backend of the 2021/22 season as the Reds' played in every game possible, winning a domestic cup double and making the Champions League final.

The Colombian was even named Man of the Match in the FA Cup final win over Chelsea.

A serious knee injury took its toll, but Diaz remains an important player for Klopp – exemplified by his late equaliser off the bench against Luton amid his father's kidnapping earlier this season.

1. Virgil van Dijk (2018)

Virgil van Dijk, Crystal Palace vs Liverpool - Propaganda

Virgil van Dijk, Crystal Palace vs Liverpool - Propaganda

Could it be anyone else?

Arguably not just the best January signing, but the best signing of the Klopp era, period.

After a transfer saga to end all transfer sagas, Van Dijk was finally announced as a Liverpool player holding the shirt besides a Christmas tree on 27 December 2017.

Some justifiably wondered whether all the fuss and (then record) £75m outlay was worth it, but any lingering doubts were cast away when the big centre back headed home the winner against Everton on his debut.

Since then, he's go on to lift every trophy going for the Reds and become the outstanding defender of his generation – earning PFA Player of the Year and UEFA Player of the Year awards along the way.

There is quite simply no-one like Liverpool's skipper.

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