It has been a busy transfer window for Jurgen Klopp and his recruitment team, but the good news is that his business has been conducted with typical German efficiency. He’s done things the right way too: identifying the weak areas of the squad and revamping accordingly.
As likeable as Loris Karius is, he isn’t an elite-level goalkeeper – yet – and so signing somebody to take over the gloves makes sense.
Injuries to Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain left us short in midfield last term, with Jordan Henderson and James Milner outstanding players but lacking in athleticism. So, Klopp solved that issue by bringing in not one but two energetic midfielders that will add class as well as physicality.
And a lack of depth on the wings meant that Mo Salah, for all his excellence, probably played too many games last season. We need to be wrapping the Egyptian up in cotton wool; another of Klopp’s signings will allow us to do just that.
We also made £14 million on our fourth choice goalkeeper and sent some promising youngsters out on loan; all in all, it’s been a fantastic window for the club.
Here’s a play-by-play look at the new men:
Alisson Becker – £55 million
Look, class acts don’t come cheap these days. Yes, £55 million for a goalkeeper is madness, but if Alisson provides the dominant shot stopper we’ve been crying out for for years, then it’s money very much well spent.
The Brazilian keeps Manchester City’s Ederson out of the national side, and he gained useful Champions League experience with AS Roma last season.
Agile with safe hands, Alisson also seems to have a calming influence on the defenders in front of him; a world away from Lloris’ occasional flapping at crosses.
Our most expensive signing of the summer is likely to be the most important, too.
Naby Keita – £50 million
The Guinean is the closest thing you will see to a genuine box-to-box midfielder in world football today.
Diligent in his defensive work and somebody who covers every blade of grass, Naby Keita also has a bit of class about him in the attacking third.
There were eight goals and seven assists for the midfielder last season – not bad in an RB Leipzig side that regressed badly, and we can expect much more from him on Merseyside this season.
There is a bit of fire to Keita’s game too. He picked up nine yellow cards and a pair of reds in 2017/18, so he may have to adjust the rather strict refereeing in this country.
But players like Keita rarely need a period of transition; he just plays his natural game wherever he is.
Fabinho – £40 million
The 24-year-old will offer something we have been crying out for a long time: a genuine defensive midfielder.
He will play the ‘water carrier’ role, with or in lieu of Jordan Henderson, to give greater freedom to the midfielders in front of him.
But he has the pace and tenacity to break up play in the mould of N’Golo Kante, and all of a sudden a midfield containing Fabinho and Keita looks an appetising prospect.
The Brazilian chips in with his fair share of goals too; bizarrely, he’s a prolific scorer from the penalty spot.
Xherdan Shaqiri – £12 million
This is a fantastic piece of business. You an barely afford a bag of chips in parts of London these days with £12 million in hand, and yet we’ve got a really capable winger who can fill in admirably for Salah when the need arises.
Don’t forget, the Swiss international was on a different wavelength to his Stoke teammates, but the classy left-footer will fit right into Liverpool’s slick attacking play.
Again, he’s not likely to feature in our strongest eleven, but for those league and cup matches where Salah is given the afternoon off Shaqiri will be a more than capable replacement.
The Departure Lounge
It was a move in the offing since the spring, so there was no real surprise when Emre Can joined Juventus on a free transfer.
The midfielder goes with our best wishes, and it would be fair to say we have surpassed the level the German can offer in the capture of Keita and Fabinho.
Otherwise, there has been no significant departures. Ben Woodburn and Harry Wilson are out on loan, and it will be interesting to see how they develop with first team football.
All things considered, it’s been a fantastic transfer window for Liverpool.