Liverpool MUST adopt Real Madrid transfer approach - Klopp was too sentimental

Jurgen Klopp is one of the best man-managers in world football. Under his watchful eye, Liverpool were able to turn multiple £30 million signings into £100m-rated players. 

And yet the club weren’t ever able to truly make the most of this. 


Well, ironically, because of Klopp. 

Now, you could argue that the club did make the most of this. After all, the Reds did conquer the Premier League, Europe and the world with the squad they had assembled. However, they never capitalised in the transfer market on Klopp’s ability to develop players. 

Rather than being the norm, Philippe Coutinho was the exception at Liverpool. The midfield maestro played the best football of his career at Anfield before his £140m move to Barcelona in January 2018. Liverpool then used that money to improve the squad by bringing in Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson Becker. 

That should’ve been the blueprint for the 2019/20 Premier League champions. 

Coutinho should have been the blueprint

Obviously, an argument could be made that selling star players is a bad business model. But if you’re able to time the departures to just before the players start trending downward, it is genius. And while Liverpool shouldn’t necessarily be a selling club, it isn’t a bad thing to cash in on what will soon be depreciating assets. 

And had Klopp not been as sentimental as he was, that likely would’ve been the model. 

Roberto Firmino

SAFF Roshn Saudi Pro League 2023-24 MD11 Roberto Firmino of Al-Ahli SFC during the Match Day 11 of the SAFF Roshn Saudi Pro League 2023-24 between Al-Hilal SFC vs Al-Ahli SFC at King Fahd International Stadium on October 27, 2023 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Riyadh King Fahd International Stadium Saudi Arabia PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxJPNxUK Copyright: xVictorxFrailex 0311121295st

Instead, the Reds missed out on huge paydays under the German tactician due to his reluctance to part ways with his favourites. 

Gini Wijnaldum, Roberto Firmino, Adam Lallana and Joel Matip all departed on free transfers. This quartet cost the club the best part of £90m in transfer fees and despite scaling their game while at Anfield, the Reds didn’t receive a penny when they left. If reports are accurate, all four players were courted by teams during their stints on Merseyside. 

Had they been sold at the right time, it isn’t outrageous to think Liverpool could’ve pocketed over £220m for those players. 

Klopp didn't cash in

Lallana, for example, struggled with injuries during his final few campaigns with Liverpool but he’s just finished his fourth season with Brighton. There would’ve been interest in him during the summer of 2019 had the Reds made it known he wasn’t part of their plans and he easily could’ve fetched £20m. 

Sadio Mane was sold for just £27m following a 23-goal haul for Liverpool. His contract situation made it difficult to get a big fee for him but a season or two earlier, an £80m fee wouldn’t have been unimaginable for the Senegal forward. It probably would’ve been viewed a little on the low side. 

Liverpool FC v Atletico Madrid: Group B - UEFA Champions League Jurgen Klopp head coach of Liverpool gives instructions to Sadio Mane during the UEFA Champions League group B match between Liverpool FC and Atletico Madrid at Anfield on November 3, 2021 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. Liverpool England PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxFRA Copyright: xJosexBretonx breton-liverpoo211103_np1SY

The Reds got lucky with Fabinho in the eyes of many with Al-Ittihad spending £40m on a player who had a difficult last campaign with Liverpool. But, in truth, that fee for a 29-year-old Brazil international with a long-term deal was probably the bare minimum you would expect. It looks even better with how much he’s struggled since the move to Saudi Arabia but you can’t retrospectively judge the sale like that. 

Jordan Henderson, the skipper at the time, was sold for just £12m. Again, this is viewed as good business given his fall off over the past 12 months but Liverpool should’ve perhaps banked more for their 33-year-old captain. Had they looked to part ways with him earlier, whether you like him or not, he could’ve fetched triple that. 

Reds need to follow Real Madrid example

Of Liverpool’s 15 most expensive sales, nine arrived under Klopp. However, of those, only Fabinho and Coutinho banked the club over £35m. This stat alone highlights how poor they have sold over the past decade. And Klopp, despite not being in charge of transfers, is largely responsible for this due to his attachments to individuals. 


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By comparison, Real Madrid are happy to make the difficult decisions in the transfer market. They cashed in on Cristiano Ronaldo, 33 at the time, and Casemiro, 30 at the time,  for a combined £175m. They also sold 28-year-old Raphael Varane for £40m. Madrid make mistakes in the market but, like them or not, the European champions are prepared to ruthlessly part ways with players they believe will soon decline. 

Liverpool don’t need to buy like Real Madrid but they should adopt their approach to selling players. A ruthless approach would provide them the funds to improve their squad on a yearly basis. 

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