There are few things in football management more crucial to determining your prospects for success than navigating the perils and pitfalls of the transfer window. One might think the task would be a mere formality for a Liverpool team coming off the back of lifting their maiden Premier League title. Oh how wrong they would be.
A club entering the summer from a poor season go into the window with anticipation and excitement. Unless their decision makers are bordering on the incompetent, the only way is up. Case in point – Everton.
But for Liverpool, there was an invisible danger lurking. Bring in world-renowned stars and risk upsetting the balance of a team that have proven themselves capable of lifting major honours. Bring in no one and you risk stagnation, or worse still, regression as your rivals invariably strengthen.
Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp faced an unenviable task this summer, and @LFCUncensored is on hand to give our verdict on the club’s summer dealings.
Kostas Tsimikas (Olympiacos – £11.75m)
There were few areas of the Liverpool squad that required urgent attention, but providing stern competition for Andy Robertson was one.
The Greek left-back’s arrival ticks a box and simultaneously strengthens the depth in midfield by allowing James Milner to revert to a more familiar role in the engine room.
Ex-Norwich full-back Jamal Lewis seemed odds-on to become a Red earlier in the window.
His attacking output down the left flank pales in comparison to that of Kostas’ however, meaning the rare occasions when Robertson is afforded a rest, Liverpool’s attacking potency from full-back should not be diminished.
Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich – £20m potentially rising to £25m)
Will he? Won’t he? Will he? Won’t he?.. You bet he will.
The classy Spaniard signed on the dotted line in mid-September and was immediately greeted with a collective sigh of relief from Reds fans worldwide.
The current midfield in Klopp’s system have done all that they’ve been asked and by God they’ve done it well. But you’d be lying if you didn’t admit that deep down you wished to see a creative spark from deep when toiling away 0-0 at Turf Moor.
Thiago will bring creativity and control in equal parts and represents a change of thinking from owners FSG and Sporting Director Michael Edwards.
At 29, Thiago has little to no sell-on value when his current contract will be nearing completion. That alone would’ve given FSG license to reject Klopp’s phonecall a few years ago. But the owners realise the golden opportunity they have for an extended period of success is right here and now in the present.
Thiago will undoubtedly be a major component in Liverpool’s quest to establish a dynasty in the coming years.
Still not feeling the love? Check out (or click on for mobile users) our bespoke infographic below. If that doesn’t get your juices flowing we recommend seeing a doctor.
Diogo Jota (Wolves – £41m potentially rising to £45m)
EVERY. SINGLE. ANGLE. 😍
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 28, 2020
The Portuguese forward will score goals, of that there is no doubt. But the eye is immediately drawn to that price tag.
When rumours of his links to Liverpool emerged, you’d have been forgiven for expecting a fee of around £25m-£30m to be touted. £41m (potentially rising by another £4m) puts him a shade behind the figure paid by Chelsea to bring Timo Werner to these shores.
The two are equally adept at operating as a centre-forward or from the left, and one could argue Jota’s pressing game will be a better fit for the selfless service Klopp demands of his frontmen.
Appeasing a player the calibre of Werner while he’s bench fodder three matches out of every four would’ve been a difficult task even for the man-management expertise of Klopp – perhaps another plus in the Jota column.
But with questions now beginning to be asked over the startling decline of Roberto Firmino, Liverpool could’ve solved their centre-forward issue for the better part of the next decade with the German.
Jota is by no means a poor signing, we’re just not sure he was the best use of £41m.
Andy Lonergan (Released)
The cynic in us might question this decision given Adrian’s recent display.
Liverpool undoubtedly need a more secure back-up to Alisson Becker. With the Brazilian projected to be missing through injury for four to six weeks, our only hope is a move may yet materialise before the domestic deadline slams shut on October 16.
Adam Lallana (Joined Brighton upon expiry of contract)
His inability to stay fit was too big of a concern to warrant a fresh contract.
Lallana’s contributions were often memorable, but few could argue that not bringing the 32-year-old back was the right decision.
Dejan Lovren (Zenit St. Petersburg – £10.9m)
Every top club needs four capable centre-halves. Currently, Liverpool have three.
Fingers may point to Fabinho as the emergency fourth choice, and his performance against Chelsea went some way to convincing us he could be a viable auxiliary indeed.
But with Joel Matip forever making dinner dates with the treatment table and Joe Gomez failing to resemble a Premier League defender this season, the Brazilian may be called upon to drop back more often than we all hope.
Any Liverpool teamsheet without Fabinho anchoring the midfield is instantaneously weaker.
Ovie Ejaria (Reading – £3m)
His prospects of ever breaking into the starting eleven were bleaker than an eclipse.
Take the money and wish him all the best.
Ki-Jana Hoever (Wolves – £9m potentially rising to £13.5m)
Initially projected to be a centre-back, Hoever moved to Wolves to provide depth behind Nelson Semedo at right-back.
With Neco Williams already a fixture in first-team squads and Trent Alexander-Arnold a legend in the making, Hoever’s pathway to gametime looked riddled with insurmountable obstacles.
The Netherlands under-18 international could make this transfer look foolish in years to come, but we have faith in the guru zen of Michael Edwards.
Here’s hoping this is his latest masterpiece of wheeling and dealing.
Rhian Brewster (Sheffield Utd – £18m potentially rising to £23.5m)
Speaking of masterpieces, may we direct you to the clauses Edwards had inserted into this deal.
1) The insertion of a 15% sell-on clause
2) Liverpool retain a buy-back clause valid for three years
If he flops, Thiago’s transfer fee was covered almost entirely for nothing. If he bangs, Liverpool bring back a proven top-flight goalscorer on the cheap.
Xherdan Shaqiri, Divock Origi and Harry Wilson were all seriously linked with exits in the dying days of the window.
But with Covid-19 already proving that squad depth will be more essential than ever this season, retaining the services of reliable depth pieces will prove to be canny business in the near future.
2020 Summer Window Overall Grade: A-