Liverpool haven’t made the kind of splashy, flashy, big-deal signing many of the club’s fans would like this summer. Given the current market, moves for Sadio Mané and Gini Wijnaldum aren’t nearly as pricy as they might appear at first glance, and the club stand a good chance of ending the summer with a neutral spend.
Some of that is down to drawing power. The arrival of Jürgen Klopp has made the club more appealing to some players, but for many, the lack of Europe provides a counterbalance. Some, though, is also down to Klopp’s approach; to his desire to build a team rather than collect stars. It also reflects that the manager believes in the current core of players.
“It’s not a case for me of being excited by any of the individual signings for Liverpool, it’s a case of being happy with what Jürgen Klopp is doing,” was Reds legend John Barnes’ take on the business so far when the Liverpool Echo tracked him down today. “I trust Jürgen, and we should trust him even if he makes a signing we haven’t heard of before.
“He will have a plan and a strategy for how he wants the team to play. Let’s face it, we haven’t made a world class signing, have we? Paul Pogba isn’t coming, is he? We’re not in the Champions League and we can’t compete financially with the likes of Manchester City. But we’ve seen before at Dortmund how he can take a collection of players and mould them into a team.”
As for what he expects Klopp to mould Liverpool into this season, while many fans have set out the top four and a piece of silverware as a reasonable, achievable target, Barnes thinks it’s more important to keep pace with the league’s top sides through to the end of the season—no matter where the Reds end up in the final table come next May.
“The primary thing for me is that we can challenge,” he added. “I want us to be up there. If we finish fifth but just six points off the top [of the league] we’ve been challengers. Or you can finish four and be 30 points off the top. Which is the more successful season? I want us challenging. We’ll improve this year but so will Manchester City, United, and Chelsea.”