One of the reasons Liverpool have gone so long without winning the league is their rocky form in the transfer market over the years. From World Cup gambles, to big money signings, Liverpool have too often in the past opened their wallet for players who were nowhere near the appropriate standard.
2018 has been a very busy year indeed for Liverpool signings. It appears as though FSG have really taken the handbrake off and backed Jurgen Klopp with an impressive outlay on his primary targets. Four of Liverpool’s five most expensive signings have come in since January this year which goes to show just how seriously the club is now pushing for a return to major honours.
With the window still open until 9th August, there is every chance that the club could again dip into the market, but for now, the top five most expensive Liverpool signings are as follows…
Fabinho – £43.7 million
Andy Carroll was finally exorcised from this list when Liverpool swooped for Monaco holding midfielder Fabinho Tavarez for £43,700,000. The Brazilian international has been widely hailed as a very shrewd piece of business by the club. With Emre Can’s departure to Juventus, the need for extra depth in the midfield engine room of Klopp’s high press was sorely needed.
Fabinho can also operate at full back or slightly further up the park if needs be, adding versatility to the squad in what should be another taxing year on the players.
A skilful ball player and excellent reader of the game, Fabinho may prove to be something of slow burning presence. He is unlikely to have the high octane impact of some of his fellow new arrivals but if he can be as effective in the midfield as he was for Monaco last season, then Liverpool have just invested wisely.
What else can be said about Mo Salah that hasn’t already been said? The Egyptian blessed Reds fans with his presence in June last year when Liverpool paid A.S Roma £43,900,000 for the former Chelsea forward.
After some early comments about poor finishing, Salah would go on to smash all expectations out of the park. If his finishing was in doubt from his early sorties, what wasn’t, was his sheer ferocious pace and obvious quality. Tenacious movement, aggressive charges at deep lying defenses and a hard working attitude were on display from the moment he kicked a ball in anger for Liverpool. It was obvious he was a Jurgen Klopp man.
As 17/18 wore on, the goals flowed. Starting with a healthy flow, before evolving into a bewildering cascade, Salah smashed home an incredible forty-four goals in fifty-two matches in his first season as a Red.
From wordlie finishes against Burnley and Everton, to wonderful individual goals against Spurs and Roma, The Egyptian King became a darling of The Kop and has proven to be a bargain for Liverpool. Perhaps Roma will be thinking they could have got a bit more for their former star striker.
Naby Keita – £52.75 million
A will he, won’t situation emerged last summer with Naby Keita clearly on Liverpool’s radar, but blocked from the move he wanted by RB Leipzig, who were not willing to sell. Liverpool fans groaned and despaired, but were finally relieved when the news broke late last summer that the club had done a deal to sign the Guinean. £52,750,000 was agreed on the basis that the explosive midfielder would have 17/18 at Leipzig before making a switch to Anfield the following summer.
Many, many positive and encouraging things have been written about Keita since his emergence as one of Europe’s best prospects over the past two years. A genuine box-to-boxer, Keita is most effective when charging forward with runners in front. He is capable of getting back and mucking in which will be vital for Klopp’s high pressing game.
He is more than capable though of going it alone and taking men on, with many defenders intimidated by his build, pace and audacity.
Wearing the legendary number eight shirt at Anfield, if he is only half the player Liverpool’s former number eight was, then the club have signed a world beater. He will need to keep his discipline in check though as he saw red three times last season in Germany, Liverpool will not want to see their third most expensive player of all time missing out due to suspension, they have been down that road before!
Alisson Becker – £65 million
Whether or not poor Loris Karius was concussed in Kiev, the brutal truth remained, something had to be done about what was the most obvious of weaknesses blighting Liverpool for some time. First Mingolet, then Karius then Mingolet again, once more over to Karius, Bogdan was thrown in as well at some point, it was all a mess to be honest. No team can achieve serious success without a quality, fully established goalkeeper.
Cue Liverpool’s bold swoop for Roma’s Alisson Becker. Circa £65,000,000 was paid out for the Brazilian stopper, whose stock has been rising for the past twelve months. Alisson’s transfer to Liverpool has blown Buffon’s long standing status of the world’s most expensive ‘keeper, out of the water. The record move is a show of intent from Liverpool as they gear up for the biggest season they have faced in years.
Alisson, it is fair to say, is a massive upgrade on Karius and Mingolet. The Brazilian’s starting positions are excellent as is his handling, something neither men he is replacing at Liverpool never looked convincing at. His presence at the back is commanding and he looks the most vocal man to keep goal at Liverpool since Pepe Riena.
If Liverpool can become serious winners again, with Alisson offering an upgraded service this season, then the transfer fee will be forgotten by all but the most cynical of supporters.
Virgil Van Dijk – £75 million
Liverpool’s annual quota of Southampton signings continued to be met when they shelled a staggering, £75,000,000 on the towering Dutch centre-halve in January this year. It is now the world record fee paid for a defender. Like Alisson on this list, Van Dijk’s arrival was desperately needed by Liverpool.
For years, there had been an array of centre-halves come in, offering neither the convincing presence nor the ability to be the bedrock at the back that Liverpool so needed. Agger, Skrtel, Coates, Matip, Lovren, the list could be huge to be honest. Some were okay; some were truly awful servants to the club, they have all contributed to the collective failings at the back for Liverpool down the years.
Van Dijk’s arrival saw a dramatic, almost overnight improvement in Liverpool’s back four. Right away, on the his debut in the FA Cup against Everton, the Dutchman was marshaling the back line, reading the game beautifully and winning just about every header that came his way.
He has also been partially responsible for the improved performances of Dejan Lovren. The Dutchman is the commanding, top class partner Lovren needed, able to shout and bark instructions at the sometimes erratic defender, the fellow former Southampton man has been in top form since February last season. Reds fans are now seeing the best of the Croatian after years of expectation.
Every good Liverpool team has had top class centre backs and the hope is that, finally, there is the right man in place to steward the back line with much more confidence and ability. Most have already forgotten his price tag, which although severely bloated, was money Liverpool had to spend if they wished to challenge at the top of the table once again.