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GOOD NEWS: Liverpool search for £320m answer as two transfer targets show rebuild is underway

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Your Liverpool morning digest as two transfer targets show rebuild is clear, plus the Reds search for a £320m answer .

Here is your Liverpool morning digest for Friday, February 4.

Liverpool’s quiet rebuild is clear and two transfer targets show it

One of the main accusations levelled at Liverpool during a season of underperformance is how they have allowed themselves to stagnate, writes Paul Gorst.

To many, the Reds have too often declined the opportunity to refresh and replenish their options significantly at key junctures and a quick glance at the makeup of the squad at Jurgen Klopp’s disposal backs up that theory to an extent.

Six of the starting line-up from May’s Champions League final were signed between 2016-18, while Jordan Henderson joined well over a decade ago, back in June 2011. This season, players like Andy Robertson (2017), Virgil van Dijk and Alisson (both 2018) remain vital to Klopp, while 2017 addition Mohamed Salah was handed the biggest contract in club history last summer having just turned 30.

It’s easy to see why Liverpool are being told that they have made the wrong call in keeping together the bulk of the current squad, particularly when new contracts were handed to Van Dijk, Alisson, Henderson, Fabinho, Robertson and Henderson across the summer of 2021 and it was a theme the legendary Robbie Fowler touched upon in a recent chat with the ECHO.

“I think Jurgen is well within his rights to think they can progress and grow and when you are building strong teams – or when you’re top of the league – it’s about strengthening in the areas you think [you need it],” Fowler said. “Or not even the areas, just strengthening all aspects of the side.

“That is one of the things that I think annoys me now more with football clubs is actually you’re looking at players to come in and I don’t even think you’re looking at specific positions, I think you should be bringing players in just to keep everyone on their toes.

“If you’re resting on your laurels, if you like, then someone can come in and take your place in the team and do that job to make it hard for you to get back into the team,” he said. “And I think all clubs who have aspirations should be doing that and it is about signing elite players.

“Certainly when you’re on top of your game, I don’t mean this in a disrespectful manner, but if you’re not signing players, I think you are going backwards. Other teams around you are signing players, so you’re not even staying still, you’re dropping down a peg or two because they are trying to up maybe two steps. So I think it’s imperative and massively important that Liverpool bring players in.”

Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group incurred the ire of some Reds fans for their lack of business in January, their failures to add to the deficiencies that are perceived to lie in midfield and the need to breathe some new life into a faltering campaign were not well received among many Reds.

Liverpool were actually out of the blocks quickly in January as they landed Dutch forward Cody Gakpo from PSV Eindhoven for a guaranteed sum of around £37m, but any hope that deal would be added to with further signings for Jurgen Klopp’s side dissipated before all hope was gone as the clock ticked down on the final day of the window. It shouldn’t have been a surprise, really, with Klopp himself having said numerous times that there would likely be no new arrivals.

Chelsea, on the other hand, have been burning through a boatload of cash under the co-ownership of Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, spending big and placing their chips on long contracts for young players that will result in smaller annual amortisation charges on the books being the best route to success while flying under the radar of Financial Fair Play regulations. It is a big bet that they have made, one that has its pitfalls if success does not materialise, but one that could pay dividends if the squad that they have spent so much money to assemble turns out to be a dominant force.

By the time that January came to end, as the ink was still wet on the contract of £105m man Enzo Fernandez after he arrived to smash the British transfer record that had been held by Manchester City’s 2021 move for Jack Grealish for £100m, the total spend that Chelsea had committed to their eight new additions stood at more than £320m. That figure was higher than the combined spend of La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga.

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