Liverpool FC are sitting at the elite’s table again. Scintillating football, back-to-back Champions League finals—including a famous sixth European title this time out—and the world’s most admired manager in Jurgen Klopp have transformed the club from a fallen power to global force in a span of three and half short years.
Anfield has become a destination for the best and the brightest, with the likes of Napoli’s sought-after Kalidou Koulibaly or the talented João Félix perpetually linked to the Merseysiders, while the Kylian Mbappés of the world can’t stop batting their eyes at the Redmen. It’s a phenomenon an entire generation of Liverpool supporters can confidently say they are happily learning to adjust to.
Of course, for every wunderkind and superstar “spotted” landing at John Lennon Airport for an impending medical, there are, let’s say, a few “less-heralded” names the rumour mill manages churn out as being linked to Liverpool.
One such dubious-sounding story from Spain’s Estadio Deportivo has laid down claims that Michael Edwards and Klopp are in for Real Betis’ Junior Firpo. Don’t know who he is? Well a few pros in the 22-year-old’s favor is of course his age profile, in line with FSG’s policy of buying young, as well as his first team experience having made 43 appearances last season for the La Liga side.
Some more good things: he’s a seasoned under-21 Spanish international and would slot into the departing Alberto Moreno’s role as a backup left back for the colossal Andy Robertson.
There is, however, one big con, or rather 45 million small ones, namely in the form of a £45m (€50m) release clause hidden in the youngster’s contract. Quite the hefty sum for a backup specialist left back, especially when you have James Milner aka The Human Swiss Army Knife already in your squad.
Are these gifs relevant to the subject of this article? Are you complaining? Thought so.
That being said, now that the cat’s out of the bag about Liverpool’s blockbuster data-driven approach to squad-building as revealed in the recent New York Times profile, the Daily Mirror’s David Maddock pointed out in an interview with the Redmen TV that Liverpool and FSG will most likely need to adjust to a new normal in which they will be overpaying for their targets.
“Liverpool are sophisticated, but everyone else knows it,” Maddock stated.
“If Liverpool go in, let’s use an example say to Lille, and go ‘We want your player’, and he’s 20 years old and he’s only played 20 games, ‘We want him’.
“They’ll go: ‘Hang about, this is Liverpool, you’ve seen something, he’s going to be the next Salah!’.”
“Any player you go for, anywhere in Europe, and you say ‘we’re Liverpool, we want your 19-year-old, 20-year-old’, they’re going to go ‘we’re not letting you have him for cheap’.”
This is the new normal. After all, world class talents such as Andy Robertson and Joe Gomez joined Liverpool to little fanfare, while world beaters such as Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah were considered consolation prizes at the time by supporters but hailed by the data analysts.
So maybe this Junior Firpo fellow is the next Gareth Bale in the making. In the meantime, we’ll go back to fantasizing over Mbappé lining up next season in Liverpool red.
Watch David Maddock’s full interiew with the Redmen TV breaking down Liverpool’s transfer philosophy.