Saturday 17 March 2018

John Aldridge: Liverpool have let Jurgen Klopp down with transfer stance

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

John Aldridge

LIVERPOOL supporters are loyal to manager Jurgen Klopp and I don’t see that changing any time soon, but question marks over the direction the club is moving in are growing by the week.

Klopp was as frustrated as all Liverpool fans watching Jose Mourinho doing what he does best by ruining another game at Anfield on Saturday, with the 0-0 draw just what the Manchester United manager wanted.

Mourinho plays for draws in away matches against Liverpool and at the end of the day, his side are seven points ahead of Klopp’s. Liverpool are probably already out of the title race nine games into the season.

Liverpool have now won just once in their last eight matches and at a lot of top clubs, that kind of run puts manager under pressure, but I get the impression that it is the Liverpool owners and their transfer policy most under scrutiny now.

A report in the Liverpool Echo newspaper last week suggested the club have spent around £23m every summer since Fenway Sports Group took the club over seven years ago and it simply isn’t anywhere near enough to compete at the top of the Premier League.

Gerrard Houllier and Rafael Benitez were given big money to spend during their time as Liverpool managers, but Brendan Rodgers and now Klopp have been restricted for whatever reason by the structure now in place at the club.

We all respect FSG for taking over the club and removing the hated owners that preceded them and appreciate that they don’t have the huge finances to compare to the sugar daddy owners at Manchester City and Chelsea.

Yet we have a right to expect a little more than we have got from a club seemingly reluctant to spend big money in the transfer market and prefer to run a very tight financial ship that is restricting progress for the team.

In many ways, Klopp is doing a decent job to keep Liverpool in the mix with the Premier League’s top four when you consider he has barely spent any money since he arrived at the club, but we want this team to kick on now after a top four finish last season.

I can only assume that Klopp was aware he would have these transfer restrictions when he took the Liverpool job a couple of years back because if he wasn’t, there may come a point where he will start to question his role at the club and no one wants to see that.

All we would ask is for Liverpool’s transfer decision makers to sign the two players that could turn a very promising team into trophy contenders and the events of the first couple of months of this season highlight the two positions in need of strengthening.

Liverpool need a commanding leader at the back and a proper centre-forward and I assume Klopp can see this as clearly as the rest of us at this stage.

His team have thrown away so many points from winning positions this season and it simply would not have happened if the club had signed the two players I suggest they need last summer.

Look at the recent draws against Sevilla, Burnley, Newcastle and on Saturday against United and Liverpool were by far the better team in all of those games.

However, a combination of defensive mistakes and missed opportunities in front of goal continues to cost them time and again and that can be solved if the right players come into the side.

While this Liverpool team will score goals, they will not be complete until they get a potent lead striker and the players they have at the club now are not doing the job required of them.

Daniel Sturridge is not the player he was a couple of years back, Roberto Firmino will never be a lead striker and Dominic Solanke is a young kid making his way in the game, so Klopp and his transfer committee need to solve this scoring problem as soon as possible.

Yet nothing can be done until January at the earliest and the first priority will be for Liverpool need to start winning matches this week because they need three points away at Maribor in the Champions League tonight if they are going to stay on course to top their group.

Then they have beat Tottenham at Wembley on Sunday to build some momentum in the Premier League and while I believe those two results are possible, you just don’t know if they will come for Liverpool at this stage.

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