Alisson, Klopp and FSG: The Signing That Reveals The Owners' Hand
As this piece is being written, Brazilian number one Alisson Becker is being put through his paces for his medical ahead of his £66.8 million transfer from Roma to Liverpool, making him the most expensive goalkeeper in world football.
He joins a squad full of big money names, particularly Virgil Van Dijk who is the world’s most expensive defender. Naby Keita, Fabinho and Mohamed Salah all cost a pretty penny, too.
There’s a theme emerging here, can you see?
In recent seasons, Liverpool and Fenway Sports Group have invested heavily in personnel to help the club challenge more consistently on all fronts and is something that large sections of the fanbase have been calling for, for as long as I can remember now.
Since John W Henry took the helm at Liverpool, things have definitely improved, both on and off the field. That’s a fact. You cannot deny that things are not better now than when Hicks and Gillett took the Club to the brink of bankruptcy.
Yet one of their biggest criticisms (on the pitch – let’s try to leave the politics out of this) is the level of investment they’ve pumped into the team.
Under Rodgers, Hodgson and Dalglish, it’s fair to say that investment was never massive – although there were a number of relative big money moves. But I suppose the sooner we forget that we spent pushing a combined £80 million on Benteke and Carroll the better.
Rodgers was backed the best out of them all, but even his transfer kitty was never the fabled ‘war chest’ that fans so desperately wanted to see.
But something’s changed in recent seasons under Klopp.
£75 million for Van Dijk. £68 million for Alisson. £42 million for Salah. £52 million for Keita. £48 million for Fabinho. FSG are not scared to invest with aplomb in the team any more.
The reason for that, I think, is quite simple and can be summed up in three words: Jürgen Norbert Klopp.
Since his arrival back in 2016, Klopp has changed everything about Liverpool: attitude, belief, playing style, togetherness, unity. It’s all different and the vibe and buzz around Anfield is perhaps the best I’ve ever seen it in my 24 years as a Red.
Henry and his associates quite clearly think that Klopp is not just a good fit, but the perfect man to take Liverpool to the next level and so are not bothered by throwing the chequebook around too much any more.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t think they trusted Rodgers or Dalglish, and with the greatest respect, I think they realised with Rodgers quite soon after the 2013/14 season that he not quite the candidate for the job they first thought he was.
Klopp, on the other hand, continues to make improvements, continues to strive for perfection, continues to push Liverpool in the right direction.
This momentum and belief is what I believe is making FSG dig deep into their pockets.
Alisson and Van Dijk are just the sign of things to come. Two world record signings in the space of eight months – it’s almost unheard of when speaking about Liverpool, who have had a notoriously bad reputation for making transfers in the past.
Now deals are being rattled off, top targets are choosing life on Merseyside ahead of other big teams, and FSG have realised the pulling power that Klopp has.
It makes no sense to not back him for all of these reasons – and also for the fear of making Klopp unhappy and losing him because, realistically, there’s not another manager out there who is as well matched to everything about Liverpool as a football family than him.
So let the signings continue, let the chequebook stay open, bring on the stadium expansion – and please, actually start giving FSG a bit of credit for giving Klopp the funds to make Liverpool a serious force again.