Jurgen Klopp has addressed Liverpool's failed summer moves for midfielders Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia.
The transfer anxiety of August seems a long time ago now, doesn't it?
While sitting top of the table as we approach the halfway point of the 2023/24 season, it's getting harder to remember that Liverpool started the new season in the midst of recruitment chaos, following the departures of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.
The duo's unexpected departures for Saudi Arabia turned the Reds' planned summer midfield rebuild into a full-on overhaul, with Klopp and the transfer committee left scrabbling around for replacements in the lead up to the season opener at Stamford Bridge.
In what has since become an infamous turn of events, Liverpool saw a bid of north of £100m for Caicedo accepted, only for the Ecuadorian to reject Anfield in favour of Chelsea.
To make matters worse, the Reds' backup plan at 'number six', Lavia, also opted for the Blues.
However, after what seemed like a low point following the difficult season in 2022/23, it seems it is Klopp who has had the last laugh.
The players signed by Liverpool after that transfer debacle – Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch – have impressed so far, while Caicedo has struggled to recreate his Brighton form at Chelsea and Lavia has yet to play a minute after suffering an injury.
Going into gameweek 17, the Reds sit pretty at the top of the table on 37 points, while Mauricio Pochettino's Blues (despite spending over £400m this summer alone) are way down in 12th – closer in points to the relegation zone than the top four.
The humour in the turn of events has not been lost in Klopp, with the boss using Monday night's Anfield Road Stand test event to have a little fun at Chelsea's expense, much to the amusement of the fans in attendance.
Responding to a question about Liverpool's new-look squad, Klopp said: "The summer we had, we had a few strange things happen in the transfer market but here, between us, I can say, ‘My god, were we lucky, eh?'. We didn’t know that in that moment and it didn’t feel like it in that moment, but yeah, I’m really happy that it worked out, but you never know before."
He then added: “We obviously realised that other central defensive midfielders don’t want to join Liverpool, you see what happens, and then we found [Wataru] Endo. He’s an exceptional player.”
Liverpool 2.0. Last summer’s transfers and a dig at Caceido 😂 pic.twitter.com/cW1EnTotg0
— ZAGKAG (@ZAGKAG1811) December 11, 2023
Klopp also went on to praise the players that did want to come to Liverpool, hailing the impact of Endo and Gravenberch.
The two were preceded this summer by the arrivals of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai, who have also helped transform the Reds' midfield – with the Hungarian a particular fan favourite due to his hard running and even harder shots.
Meanwhile, over at Chelsea, a report from the Mail claims that the club are considering the need to sell players in January in order to comply with Premier League spending regulations, with Pochettino still unhappy with his squad options.