Football

Klopp has missed out on several first-choice targets.

How Liverpool's XI could have looked if Jurgen Klopp had signed his number one transfer targets

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It’s fair to say Liverpool’s transfer business has been nothing short of remarkable in recent years.

It wasn’t that long ago the club were wasting £35 million on Andy Carroll, £16 million on Mario Balotelli or £20 million on Lazar Markovic.

But ever since Jurgen Klopp has arrived on Merseyside, the club have got it spot on.

With the help of sporting director Michael Edwards, Liverpool are getting it right almost every time these days when it comes to transfers.

Andy Robertson for £8 million, Mohamed Salah for £34 million and Xherdan Shaqiri for £13 million are just three examples of incredible buys by the Anfield club in recent years.

Liverpool’s recent success in the transfer market has enabled Klopp to build a squad capable of competing for Premier League and Champions League glory.

But it hasn’t always gone Liverpool’s way.

On numerous occasions under Klopp, players have turned down the opportunity to join the club.

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When Klopp first took over, Liverpool weren’t playing Champions League football and often found it difficult to attract star players - despite the charisma of the man.

Therefore, we’ve decided to take a look at how Liverpool could have been lining-up if Klopp had signed his ideal transfer targets:

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Alisson

Of course, Klopp had already signed a goalkeeper during his reign at the club before he set his sights on Alisson. Loris Karius was brought in to provide competition to Simon Mignolet but the German’s constant mistakes never convinced either his manager or his fans.

Karius’ mistakes in the Champions League did nothing to change Klopp’s desire to sign Alison, though.

“The Champions League final had nothing to do with us getting Alisson,” Klopp said after Liverpool spent a then-world record £67 million on the Brazilian.

“Even if he had won it and Alisson would have been on the market we would have still signed him.”

Brighton & Hove Albion v Liverpool FC - Premier League

Trent Alexander-Arnold

With Nathaniel Clyne, Joe Gomez and the emerging Alexander-Arnold, Klopp hasn’t been linked with signing a right-back since he been at the club.

Klopp has shown incredible faith in the 20-year-old by playing him consistently during last season’s run to the Champions League final.

And Klopp’s faith even saw him loan out Clyne to Bournemouth because he simply wasn’t to get in ahead of Alexander-Arnold.

Watford FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League

Virgil van Dijk

Klopp was so desperate to sign Van Dijk that, after Liverpool failed in their quest to do so in the summer of 2017, he waited another six months to try again.

Many fans questioned Klopp’s decision not to sign an alternative and Liverpool definitely struggled defensively at the start of last season.

But it was worth the wait - and the £75 million transfer fee.

Klopp finally got his man and we can all see why he wanted him so badly.

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Joe Gomez

Just days after Klopp was appointed Liverpool manager in October 2015, Gomez suffered a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury. It wasn’t until January 2017, that he made his first-team return.

But he made 31 appearances in all competitions last season and has now established himself as Van Dijk’s centre-back partner when fit.

Klopp is often speaking extremely highly of Gomez and, while he may look to buy a new defender next summer to provide competition, Klopp will be hoping he can call upon Gomez and Van Dijk as his two centre-backs.

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Ben Chilwell

Chilwell and Robertson are two of the best left-back in the Premier League right now.

According to the Liverpool Echo, Klopp wanted Chilwell a season before he signed Robertson.

"Klopp was interested in Chilwell before he had become a first-team player with Leicester, with the then-teenager's time at Huddersfield providing the evidence the German boss needed,” they report.

"Chilwell had thrived under Klopp's close friend David Wagner and looked to sign him, partly, on his recommendation. The club's extensive scouting also identified him as long-term competition to Alberto Moreno.

"After an offer of £5million plus £2million in add-ons was rejected, with Liverpool ultimately priced out of a move for the player. Moreno would remain, with James Milner shifted to a left-back for the 2016/17 campaign."

Robertson arrived the following summer for just £8 million and has ensured Klopp isn’t ruing the fact he missed out on Chilwell 12 months previously.

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Alex Teixeira

In January 2016, Teixeira looked set to become Klopp’s first high-profile signing.

Liverpool were willing to pay Shakhtar Donetsk £24.5 million for the Brazilian but then Chinese side Juansu Suning swooped to splash £38 million on the midfielder.

He had scored 26 goals in 25 games for Shakhtar at the time and Klopp would no doubt have been gutted the club couldn’t complete the deal.

Teixeira has since scored 45 goals in 102 games in China.

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Piotr Zielinski

Liverpool have been linked with the Polish midfielder since 2016 when he was at Udinese - and he was even seen wearing a Liverpool shirt during filming.

The Guardian reported that summer that the club had bid £9.5 million for the defensive midfielder with claims that Klopp had even spoke to him to the phone.

However, Udinese turned down Liverpool’s bid but accepted an identical bid from Napoli.

He’s now in his third season at Napoli and yet the 24-year-old is still being linked with a move to Liverpool and, this week, had to deny that he’s spoken to Klopp.

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Nabil Fekir

The one that got away.

Liverpool had all but signed Nabil Fekir for £53 million last summer until it fell through at the last minute.

There’s even claims that he had conducted an official club interview in a Liverpool shirt before signing his contract.

But the club were eventually put off paying such a large fee for a player with a history of knee injuries and decided against the deal in the end.

At times this season, Liverpool could have done with a bit more creativity from midfield to feed the front-three and Klopp knows it.

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Julian Brandt

That’s right. If Klopp had got his way and signed Brandt, they would never have signed Salah.

The Times claimed that Brandt was Klopp's first choice winger, while the club also looked at Christian Pulisic and Julian Draxler before they turned to Salah.

That is backed up the Liverpool Echo who reported at the time that “Liverpool ended up setting their sights on Mohamed Salah instead after being informed last month that the Germany international intended to stay put.”

Brandt himself explained why he opted to stay at Bayer Leverkusen, rather than sign for Liverpool.

“My gut feeling and my head are telling me the time to move has not arrived yet. I have to straighten things out in Leverkusen,” Brandt told kicker.

The 22-year-old is still impressing for Leverkusen but Klopp will certainly be glad he ended up signing Salah instead.

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Roberto Firmino

“When I saw that Liverpool had signed him, I thought: 'How could Liverpool do this?’” Klopp said of Liverpool’s signing of Firmino.

"When I knew I was coming here I knew I had a good player – I was looking forward to working with him very much.”

And it shows.

Firmino is crucial to Klopp’s tactics at Liverpool and it’s hard to imagine another player in world football doing the job the Brazilian does.

His pressing and link-up play is so important to the way Klopp wants to play and, if he wasn’t already at Liverpool, you’d imagine the manager would attempt to sign him.

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Ousmane Dembele

A year before Klopp tried to sign Brandt - and ended up with Salah - Klopp attempted to sign Dembele to support Mane in the wide position.

It was a straight choice between Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund and the Frenchman opted for the Germans.

“I saw Klopp in Paris,” Dembele later recalled, “but I told him I’d made up my mind to sign for BVB.”

He only lasted one season in Germany before Barcelona snapped him up for £135.5 million.

Klopp may now wish he tried harder to persuade him to join Liverpool…

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Topics:
Football
Ousmane Dembele
Virgil van Dijk
Roberto Firmino
Mohamed Salah
Jurgen Klopp
Premier League
Liverpool

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