From Germany with Love: Has Klopp’s Preference for Bundesliga Signings Been Successful?

- - Players

Bundesliga FlagIn comes another one.

As Liverpool flail desperately in a bid to sign a defensive midfield player in the summer transfer window, Jurgen Klopp has turned to a happy hunting ground in the hope of signing the right player.

Wataru Endo looks to be Klopp’s number one choice to fill the void left behind by Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and co. The Stuttgart man is expected to sign for around £15 million, and at the age of 30 brings an end to Liverpool’s traditional transfer policy of signing players for tomorrow as much as today.

But needs must, with the club forced to act to fill the hole exploited so readily at times by Chelsea in their Premier League seasonal opener.

German media have described Endo as a ‘running monster’, a ‘terrific asset’ and ‘legendo’, which is perhaps the kind of endorsement that Reds fans were hoping for from a player in a role that is so vital to balancing Klopp’s naturally attacking brand of football.

The manager, of course, served his playing days and coaching apprenticeship in the German Bundesliga, so it’s no shock that he plunders his homeland when seeking new talent that can slot straight into his plans.

But have all Liverpool signings from the Bundesliga been successful?

The Good

He entered Merseyside an unknown – certainly as far as English football fans are concerned – and left a Liverpool legend.

Of all the signings that Klopp has made from the Bundesliga, few can match the success of Roberto Firmino. Early on in his Anfield career, it didn’t look guaranteed that the Brazilian would make it as a Liverpool striker, but Klopp’s faith would be rewarded with 111 goals, 72 assists and a trophy haul that includes a first ever Premier League title for the Reds and a Champions League.

One Bundesliga signing has replaced another at the heart of Klopp’s defence. Joel Matip was a mainstay until Ibrahima Konate came along, and while not in the same legendary echelon as Firmino, played his own part in Liverpool’s trophy-rich run from 2019 to 2022. As for Konate, who knows what the future holds.

A word too about Emre Can, who was signed from Bayer Leverkusen for just £9.75 million. Young and raw, he showed glimpses of real quality in the red shirt and made 166 appearances in just four seasons – testament to his resilience and resistance to injury.

A runner-up in the Champions League, Europa League and League Cup while at Liverpool, Can left with the good wishes of many Reds fans as well as more than £10 million in net profit on his sale.

The Bad

So impressive were the performances of Naby Keita at RB Leipzig, Liverpool felt moved enough to trigger the £48 million release clause in his contract.

The Reds faithful expected a plentiful return on such investment, and instead they were presented with an injury-prone midfielder who simply seemed to lose his energy and eye for goal bit by bit during his time on Merseyside. In the end, a return of 84 appearances and seven goals across five years tells it own tale of a player who flattered to deceive.

It’s perhaps a bit harsh to label Ragnar Klavan with the ‘bad’ tag, as he ultimately became what he was: a cheap, back-up defender whose only appearances in the red shirt would come due to the injuries of others or squad rotation in the cup competitions.

And that’s exactly what the man from Augsburg delivered, effectively costing £100,000 per appearance for the club after joining for £5 million. But he’ll always be remembered for his Man of the Match performance against Everton in December 2016.

With no disrespect intended, to go from Bayern Munich and Inter Milan to Stoke City perhaps confirmed in advance that Xherdan Shaqiri had already peaked in his career even before joining Liverpool.

The Reds ultimately lost money on Shaqiri, who in return struggled with injuries and fitness – just getting him onto the pitch at Anfield was a job in itself. The Swiss player has talent, of that there’s no doubt, but eight goals in three seasons at Liverpool reveals that he didn’t fulfil it on Merseyside.

The Ugly

Oh, Loris.

Handed the number one jersey for the 2016/17 season, much was expected of Liverpool’s new goalkeeper Loris Karius.

But a strong of error-prone performances saw him dropped by December, while a catastrophic series of games in the 2017/18 Champions League rather undermined the Reds’ hopes of lifting the trophy.

Karius was loaned here, there and everywhere between 2018 and 2021, before being allowed to quietly walk away from the club at the end of his contract.

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