Karius, Robertson, Diaz: Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool signings ranked from worst to best

Truthfully, it’s becoming a little bit tiresome waxing lyrical about the ascent of Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp, but the turnaround has been far too immense to ever stop doing just that.

And with it confirmed that Klopp has extended his stay with the Reds until at least 2026, that ascent isn’t curtailing anytime soon. The German has helped to completely restructure and rebuild the footballing operations at Liverpool, bedding in an exciting, modern style of play and constructing a near bulletproof squad.

Part of the reason Klopp has managed to take Liverpool to Premier League and Champions League glory has been their excellent recruitment. Signings are shrewd and carefully identified, with players recruited with the idea of coaching them into becoming a key cog in Klopp’s system.

It’s very easy to get wrong. Like, really easy. Just ask Manchester United. The Reds are generally spot on with their approach in the transfer market, making their business look rather seamless – most of the time.

Of course, nobody ever has a 100% success rate and Liverpool have been no exception with Klopp. We at GIVEMESPORT are here to provide that healthy reminder, as we rank each of Klopp’s signings at Liverpool from worst to best.

27. Loris Karius

A major misjudgement. Karius headed to Merseyside in the summer of 2016, with the intention of taking the number one spot off Simon Mignolet. He did that, albeit while looking rather shaky in the Premier League, and never really stepped up to the plate consistently. Then that 2018 Champions League final happened. He’s never had a look in since.

CHESTER, ENGLAND – JULY 07: Loris Karius of Liverpool during the Pre-season friendly between Chester FC and Liverpool on July 7, 2018 in Chester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)

29. Alex Manninger

Another German goalkeeper, Manninger headed to Liverpool in the same summer as Karius, merely to maintain fitness, but ended up signing a one-year deal with the club. You weren’t to know that, because he never played and then retired at the end of it.

28. Andy Lonergan

Lonergan, leader, legend. The veteran goalkeeper joined Liverpool on a 2019 pre-season tour to make up the numbers and ended up signing a year’s contract to provide cover. He left after they won the Premier League. Influential.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY – AUGUST 14: Andrew Lonergan of Liverpool looks on prior to the UEFA Super Cup match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Vodafone Park on August 14, 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

26. Dominic Solanke

Snapping him up upon the expiration of his Chelsea contract in 2017, Solanke looked like a potentially really clever piece of business for Liverpool. He couldn’t find a run of games or goals, though, and was rather forgotten about in his 18-month spell. Somehow, they sold him to Bournemouth for a reported £19 million in January 2019.

25. Ben Davies

Davies was signed from Preston in the final hours of the 2021 January transfer window in a bid to fix Liverpool’s injury crisis at centre back. He never actually made his debut, though, and has since left for Sheffield United on loan. Still not entirely convinced he exists.

PRESTON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 29: Ben Davies of Preston North End in possession during the Sky Bet Championship match between Preston North End and Reading at Deepdale on December 29, 2019 in Preston, England. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

24. Steven Caulker

Another insane bit of January business, Caulker’s loan at Southampton was cancelled in January 2016 so that he could spend the second half of the season with Liverpool. Mental, but dream stuff. What’s even more mental is the fact that Klopp used him as an auxiliary, super-sub target man on more than one occasion in his short stay.

23. Marko Grujic

Despite personally being called by Klopp in a bid to convince him to come to Liverpool and snub all other interested parties, it never worked out for the once hyped up Grujic upon leaving Red Star Belgrade. He signed in 2016, but couldn’t make it stick in the first-team and, after being loaned out to Cardiff in 2018, never got back into the side. He left permanently in 2021.

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND – JULY 12: Marko Grujic of Liverpool during a pre-season friendly match between Tranmere Rovers and Liverpool at Prenton Park on July 12, 2017 in Birkenhead, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

22. Ozan Kabak

Signing at the death just like Davies in that 2021 January window, Ozan Kabak did actually take to the pitch for Liverpool. Loaned in from Schalke with an option to buy, the 19-year-old had a tough job on his hands to jump straight into a broken defence and help patch it up. Liverpool opted against activating his buy option.

21. Adrian

Snapping up the Spaniard on a free transfer from West Ham felt like shrewd business in 2019. And it was at first. Adrian proved a solid enough backup to Alisson upon signing, but that form quickly curtailed and mistakes became glaring when having to rely on him too often. He’s since dropped further down the pecking order.

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 28: Adrian of Liverpool celebrates after their side’s second goal scored by Roberto Firminho during the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Liverpool at Bramall Lane on February 28, 2021 in Sheffield, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

20. Ragnar Klavan

The old guard. Signed in Klopp’s first summer as manager in 2016, Klavan was a regular fixture in the earlier years of Klopp’s Anfield revolution, which says more about the state of Liverpool at the time than it does about him, unfortunately. A fine player, but nothing more. Left in 2018.

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19. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

After six seasons with Arsenal, Liverpool parted with £35m to bring Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Anfield in the summer of 2017. And while it’s difficult to be negative about somebody who’s made over 100 appearances and been a part of a Premier League and Champions League winning squad, the Englishman never became anymore than that. Injuries haven’t helped, but Oxlade-Chamberlain failed to become the lynchpin that many perhaps expected him to be.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 24: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Liverpool reacts during the UEFA Champions League group B match between Liverpool FC and FC Porto at Anfield on November 24, 2021 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

18. Xherdan Shaqiri

Poached from relegated Stoke in 2018 for just £13.5m, Shaqiri impressed fleetingly at Liverpool. While never developing into a first-team regular, the Swiss winger was always a fine impact player and came up good in a number of big moments, playing his role in the Champions League semi-final comeback against Barcelona in 2018. A solid squad player at a solid price.

17. Kaide Gordon

Truthfully, it’s far too early to cast any real judgement over Gordon’s exploits at Liverpool. The Reds snapped him up from Derby in 2021, and the 17-year-old has since been carefully managed between the youth ranks and first-team. His ceiling looks to be incredibly high, but time will tell if he can get near it.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – JANUARY 16: Kaide Gordon of Liverpool interacts with Jordan Henderson of Liverpool as they come on to make their Premier League debut during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Brentford at Anfield on January 16, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

16. Takumi Minamino

When you sign players for such low fees like Liverpool so often do, it’s difficult to end up with major transfer flops. Minamino cost the Reds just £7.25m from Red Bull Salzburg in January 2020, but has struggled to nail down a spot in the squad. A loan to Southampton showed glimmers of promise, but since returning, he’s fallen back down the pile once again. They should still be able to make a profit on the 27-year-old, however.

15. Kostas Tsimikas

Look, there’s only so much you can do to get into a side when you’re signed and expected to compete for a place with Andy Robertson. Tsimikas, for the £11.75m he cost Liverpool, is perfect for Klopp. A dependable option who runs hard and listens to instructions. It remains to be seen if he could ever step up consistently if Robertson was unavailable over a longer period, but he’s doing fine for now.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 02: Kostas Tsimikas of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on January 02, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

14. Harvey Elliott

Another excellent spot by Klopp and his team, Liverpool acted swiftly in 2019 to ensure they signed Harvey Elliott from Fulham. A loan spell back to the Championship with Blackburn in 2020/21 set him up perfectly to come back to Liverpool and integrate with the first-team squad, where Elliott looked supremely comfortable and effective from the off. A broken ankle unfortunately disrupted what was otherwise looking like a strong season.

13. Ibrahima Konate

£36m is decent value in today’s transfer market, but it’s still a pretty penny for most sides. Konate has struggled to break in and become a regular starter for Liverpool since signing from RB Leipzig in the summer of 2021, but at just 22, there’s plenty of time for him to prove his worth. The towering defender has shown glimpses of his talent, which Klopp will be keen to patiently let blossom over time.

MILAN, ITALY – FEBRUARY 16: Ibrahima Konate of Liverpool FC in action during the UEFA Champions League Round Of Sixteen Leg One match between FC Internazionale and Liverpool FC at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium on February 16, 2022 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

12. Naby Keita

It’s taken him a considerable amount of time to settle, but Keita has finally began to look worth the initial £48m he cost in 2017. The Guinean midfielder has struggled for consistency in the past, but a case could now be made to argue that Keita has to be starting in Liverpool’s biggest games, thanks to his ability to read the game in front of and behind him with such ease.

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11. Georginio Wijnaldum

Another one poached from a relegated side, Wijnaldum was hot on people’s radars due to his performances for Newcastle and cost Liverpool some £23m in 2016. Famously scoring twice in their 4-0 comeback against Barcelona in the 2018 Champions League semi-final, the Dutchman proved he was worth his weight in gold over a glorious five-year spell. Losing him for free wasn’t ideal, but hardly an issue.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MAY 07: Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his team’s third goal during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg match between Liverpool and Barcelona at Anfield on May 07, 2019 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

10. Thiago Alcantara

There were people rendering Thiago a ‘fraud’ after a debut season in Liverpool that was severely disrupted by injuries and subsequently left a lot to be desired. How very, very silly they were. The midfield marvel has been nothing short of elite after getting those initial struggles out of the way and, now truly bedded in and consistently fit, is making teams up and down the country look clueless as they trip over one another, in a desperate attempt to shut off his catalogue of line-breaking passes. The Spaniard truly is wondrous and brings a refinement to Liverpool’s squad like very few could.

9. Joel Matip

Injuries have also proven a problem perhaps a little too often for Matip during his time in Merseyside. But having signed on a free transfer from Schalke in 2016, you couldn’t ask for much more. The defender has become world class under Klopp and an integral piece to their domestic and European success. Fitness woes have only further highlighted just how important he is to Liverpool, and his consistent availability throughout 2021/22 has resulted in a chain of world class performances. Free transfers don’t tend to get much better.

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 19: Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur battles for possession with Joel Matip of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on December 19, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

8. Diogo Jota

Even after all these wildly successful transfers, a few were scratching their heads when Liverpool stumped up £41m in 2020 to bring Jota to Anfield. But yet again, refined recruitment and top coaching has prevailed and the Portuguese attacker has slotted in seamlessly to become a key player. Jota loves a headed goal and has already scored against Manchester United and Everton, as well as coming up with big performances in other important games. He’ll only improve with more time, too, which is rather scary.

7. Luis Diaz

Liverpool’s most recent recruit, plans to sign Diaz were actually accelerated in order to avoid missing out on signing him all together. Rushing through a deal planned for summer, the Reds snapped up Diaz from Porto in January 2022 for a hefty £37.5m, which isn’t very Klopp’s Liverpool of them. It’s worked a charm, though. The Colombian has taken to England like a duck to water and looks desperate to rip defenders apart with skills and, importantly, goal contributions every time he’s on the pitch. Diaz already looks destined to become a world beater going forward.

LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 16: Luis Diaz of Liverpool during The Emirates FA Cup Semi-Final match between Manchester City and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium on April 16, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

6. Fabinho

For many clubs of a similar stature to Liverpool, £39m is a transfer fee they’re happy to see wasted if a player doesn’t work out because, hey, at least it wasn’t £100m. You don’t get that attitude anymore at Klopp’s Liverpool, though, hence why when Fabinho signed for that fee in 2018, they knew exactly what they were getting – a top class holding midfielder to strengthen their spine, that fits perfectly into their playing system. The Brazilian is arguably the best in class when it comes to his position, and Liverpool would seriously struggle to replace him if he departed. Invaluable.

5. Sadio Mane

It’s one thing identifying top talent from Premier League sides lower down the pecking order, but making good on that talent is the real task after signing them. Mane was already electric for Southampton, but has reached dizzying new heights since signing for Liverpool for £34m in 2016. Mane has become just the third African to score over 100 Premier League goals with the Reds and finished fourth in the 2019 Ballon d’Or awards. Add to that a Champions League, a Premier League, a Golden Boot, and being part of football’s deadliest front three, it’s been a hit alright.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – JUNE 24: Sadio Mane of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his sides fourth goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace at Anfield on June 24, 2020 in Liverpool, England. (Phil Noble/Pool via Getty Images)

4. Alisson Becker

Having got it wrong once already between the sticks with Karius, spending a then-world record fee to sign Alisson in 2018 was actually a major gamble by Liverpool, no matter how good he had looked for Roma. They couldn’t afford another goalkeeper department error, certainly not at that price. Scouting proved dividends, though, and Alisson has looked every bit a world record commanding goalkeeper ever since. Better yet, he’s literally scored a goal for Liverpool. Worth the money for that alone.

3. Andy Robertson

We know, you’ve heard it all before about Robertson. What a signing, though. Just got to stand back and applause, really. Klopp and Liverpool saw a left-back in a relegated Hull side in 2017 and spent £8m to turn him into arguably the best left-back in world football. Robertson now leads by example on the pitch and off it, embodying everything about Klopp’s Liverpool that makes them so unbelievably good. Incredible business.

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 27: Andrew Robertson of Liverpool celebrates following their team’s victory in the penalty shoot out during the Carabao Cup Final match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium on February 27, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

2. Virgil van Dijk

Alongside Alisson, spending £75m to sign Van Dijk in a January transfer window in 2018 is absolutely Liverpool’s riskiest business. Everybody knew Van Dijk was good, but was he that good? Really? Egg on the face for those who doubted, because he absolutely is that good. Liverpool’s drop off in form when the Dutchman tore his ACL in late 2020 is testament to that. The leader of the operations. Van Dijk is colossal.

1. Mohamed Salah

Despite a major resurgence in Italy with Fiorentina and then Roma, fans of English football still only really knew Salah as the Chelsea outcast in 2017, thus Liverpool paying almost £37m to sign him felt a little odd. Fast forward a few years and the Egyptian is a two-time FIFA Best Men’s Player award winner, a Premier League, Champions League and League Cup winner, has won two Premier League Golden Boot awards and holds the record for the most Premier League goals in a season. In the conversation of being the best in the world, he’s not done badly, has Salah.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MARCH 07: Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield on March 07, 2020 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
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