A few weeks ago, Liverpool fans were quick to get caught up in worrying that just maybe they had become a selling club under Fenway Sports Group after the CIES released numbers saying Liverpool had managed to sell more players, based on transfer value, than any other club in Europe over the past six years.
In reality, given how much the club were spending and that they still made a significant net investment in players over that period, what it actually meant was Liverpool had had a lot of turnover. And given that six years encompassed the final summer of Hicks and Gillett’s tenure and four managers, turnover was hardly surprising.
Today, a second set of numbers from the CIES Football Observatory is also saying turnover, not selling club, with a release that pegs Liverpool as having Europe’s tenth most valuable squad. In England, they are behind only four clubs—the wholly expected ones, Manchester United, City, Chelsea, and Arsenal.
And with a squad said to be worth £356M, Liverpool are closer to Arsenal in eighth than they are Tottenham in 12th. All told, it’s a list that suggests Liverpool should have certainly spent enough to have competitive squad—both in England and in Europe. That says any issues are in recruitment and management.
Thankfully, under new manager Jürgen Klopp, the signs this season are pointing strongly to the club having found the right man to finally do something with that. Liverpool, in recent seasons and by the numbers, have underperformed based on what FSG have put into the club and squad—and based on who the club have regularly finished behind.
Elsewhere in the list, there will be some surprise United and not Real Madrid have Europe’s most expensive squad, and that they top this list makes their recent struggles look rather incomprehensible. No side with a squad that cost as much as theirs should have struggled as they have since the departure of Alex Ferguson.
Also worth noting is that every Premier League club makes the top 50. Taking television revenue and spending power into account, it’s the kind of thing that fans would do well to remember any time talk of a European super league crops up. Because by any meaningful financial metric, that super league already exists.