Liverpool is expected to buy several players this summer, after accepting that the pursuit of Jude Bellingham at great expense wasn’t prudent in their current position.
Jurgen Klopp has made it clear that when it comes to financial muscle, Liverpool simply won’t be able to compete.
The news of the Reds backing away from the Jude Bellingham sweepstakes was as disappointing as they were unsurprising for supporters. Many had penciled in the 19-year-old as the lynchpin of Klopp’s rebuild and the future of his midfield.
But with the cost likely to top £125 million, Liverpool has had to step aside, with the scale of the improvements needed, not marrying with that kind of outlay on one player.
“There’s nothing to say about it [Bellingham], to be honest,” Klopp said on Friday. “It is not about Jude Bellingham, but I never understand why we talk about things we theoretically cannot have. We cannot have six players in the summer, everyone for £100 million. That is clear.
“We are not children. Ask a five-year-old what they want for Christmas and they say a Ferrari, you wouldn’t say that’s a good idea, it’s too expensive and you cannot drive it.”
As they have for much of Klopp’s time on Merseyside, Liverpool will have to be creative and shrewd if they are to return to the conversation of winning the Premier League title. That’s not to say the Reds haven’t spent. The fees for Virgil van Dijk, Alisson Becker, Darwin Nunez, and many others are out of the realm of possibility for all but an elite few clubs on the globe.
But that spending has almost always been predicated on money coming in via player sales. It has also been about getting the best out of a group of players that has, at times, be greater than the sum of its parts.
And there is a common theme between this campaign and the 2020/21 season, which saw Liverpool somehow salvage a top-four spot. Injuries…and plenty of them. Two seasons ago, it was the heart of their defense that was ripped out, whereas this year, a litany of midfield injuries have so often deprived Klopp of his strongest trio.
No top-flight team has been more badly affected by the injury bug than Liverpool and despite whatever is planned in the transfer market, that will need to change for them to compete at the top again.
That’s where Jonathan Power comes in. The appointment of Power was given the green light by Klopp, who played a role in recruiting Dr. Jim Moxon’s replacement last year. He arrives with an impressive, multi-sport track record having worked with England’s successful youth groups in football and with Leeds Rhinos in Rugby League.
The Reds are understood to have interviewed more than a dozen candidates, with Power coming out as the unanimous top choice, taking up the role from the start of this year. It hasn’t reaped immediate rewards, but with many of those injuries long-term ones from before his appointment, his presence will be more profoundly felt in the months to come.
From battling on all fronts last season, there has been an air of exhaustion around Liverpool’s all-action squad this time around. “The most difficult thing is when you have too many injuries, the problem is the other players have to play too often,” Klopp explained in February.
“Then they get injured when the other players get back, but they need time to get back to their best. That’s the situation you are in.”
Those expecting the Reds to suddenly build a huge squad in the ilk of Chelsea will be disappointed. But Klopp will be hoping that Power’s influence can begin to ensure those at the club next season are fit and raring to go.