Jurgen Klopp must take control Liverpool's transfer committee - three challenges the German faces

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Last Friday saw the arrival and announcement of the eccentric Jurgen Klopp becoming Liverpool manager, with the expectancy to sign a successor to the recently-departed Brendan Rodgers before the Reds' next Premier League match against Tottenham fulfilled.

Owners Fenway Sports Group got the man that they wanted - a manager in great demand across Europe - with Klopp emerging the outright favourite ahead of three-time Champions League winner Carlo Ancelotti.

However, whilst a dream move in some respects, Klopp has a big challenge on his hands to rectify some of the outstanding issues at Liverpool.


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When Rodgers was appointed in the summer of 2012, a now-departed member of Liverpool's operational staff described the structure used to shape their transfer policy as a 'committee'.

The phrase 'transfer committee' has now become a byword used by fans and critics alike to bash Liverpool's hierarchy over the head and pick holes in a strategy that has overseen almost £300 million on 23 permanent signings in that time - resulting in no trophies and a sacked manager.

During his time at Anfield, it is believed Rodgers was denied first choices such as Swansea City's Ashley Williams, who was with him at the Liberty Stadium during his tenure there, and Chelsea defender Ryan Bertrand, because of the workings of the committee.

And of his latter deals, it has been widely touted that Roberto Firmino, a £29 million buy from Hoffenheim, was more of a committee signing than one fully endorsed by the Northern Irishman.

It is hard to imagine someone as forceful as Klopp being pushed into a similar corner. What he must do is establish total control over this group and wipe out the grey areas that accompany the approach.

The committee's existence has led to questions about the accountability of those inside the group for signings.

Before the events of last Sunday, the committee consisted of Rodgers, scouts Dave Fallows and Barry Hunter, the man in charge of analysis Michael Edwards, FSG's Anfield representative Mike Gordon and chief executive Ian Ayre.

Klopp, though, possesses the authority and track record to rid of, or at least take control of, this committee. Liverpool's transfer committee boast a poor track record when it comes to signings, whereas Klopp is renowned for the wonders that he worked at Borussia Dortmund, owed largely to the players that he brought in.

So, no grey areas; no questions of accountability - every acquisition should ultimately be the manager's alone, not decided by statistical analysis or questionable scouting reports. It must be a priority.


In his final media briefing as Liverpool manager, Rodgers revealed a place in the top four was both his and the players' ambition, but it had never been mentioned to him as a target by the club's owners.

If not, it was presumably an unspoken goal because if FSG wanted to adopt a 'suck it and see' approach, Rodgers may have survived a little longer this season than he did.

It was clear FSG had concerns about Rodgers' ability to return Liverpool to the Champions League, especially after their return to Europe's elite competition was soured by a failure to progress from a favourable group containing Basel and Ludogorets, as well as the sight of the manager playing a shadow side in the 1-0 defeat at Real Madrid.

This apparent concession in Madrid, with talismen Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho left out of the starting line-up, did Rodgers serious damage in the eyes of many associated with Liverpool, effectively giving up a game in a competition they once regarded as their personal property.

The obvious goal at the start of the season - a perfectly understandable one given the investment in £32.5 million striker Christian Benteke, the aforementioned Firmino and £12.5 million England defender Nathaniel Clyne - was a top four place and/or a trophy. Preferably both.

And by sacking Rodgers now, FSG will believe they have given their fourth manager since buying the club in October 2010 the time and opportunity to move Liverpool back into the top four.

The new incumbent will be afforded patience if he does not achieve that goal as he is starting the Liverpool job afresh - but a place in the Champions League has always been in FSG's mind since they walked through the door.


One of the biggest and most obvious factors in Rodgers' demise was his inability to get what FSG felt was the best out of his Liverpool squad.

Irrespective of the debate around the merits of Liverpool's transfer committee, FSG were convinced this was a squad that should be performing better both in terms of performances and results.

There has been a glaring lack of clarity of thought in recent months. Lucas Leiva, for instance, has gone from being a first-team outcast to an important regular in the space of weeks.

Klopp must bring that back and also correct an imbalanced squad in which there are too many players with a workman-like versatility but with questions about where their best position is.

The Reds signed Emre Can as a promising midfielder from Bayer Leverkusen in 2014 but he has rarely featured there, often playing at right-back or in a three-man central defence.

Building competition for places was one thing but it was hard to see where expensive buys such as Benteke, Firmino and £25 million Adam Lallana would exactly fit when they were all available, especially given that Rodgers also had Daniel Sturridge and Danny Ings at his disposal. All questions and issues that Klopp must seek to solve.

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