Liverpool may not possess the spending power of the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United, and Chelsea but have spent quite a bit on agents' fees. Agents are often portrayed as the villains in football's story, which isn't entirely true despite some notable examples of poor advice from supposed enlightened and sensible representatives. See: Ward, Aidy.
The Premier League is the world's most financially powerful league in world football and will enjoy the fruits of a record TV deal starting next season. To put the deal into perspective, the deal agreed by Sky and BT earlier this year was 71% higher than the last TV auction in 2012. There's money available for many parties to get a slice of the Premier League's money pie.
As Premier League clubs enjoy the benefits of increased financial muscle in the transfer market, agents of prospective players need to be compensated for their involvement in making a deal happen. There are also third party ownership to consider, which reportedly accounted for a significant amount of the £14.3 million or so Liverpool spent on agents' fees between October 2014 and September 2015. The player in question? Roberto Firmino.
Liverpool didn't make a signing in January but spent quite a bit of money in the summer. Of course Firmino is not the sole reason the figure is so high, and it must not be forgotten that Liverpool paid virtually the same amount over the previous 12-month period—second only to Chelsea. Christian Benteke and James Milner represented significant investments over the summer in terms of fees and/or wages.
The full list of clubs (ordered alphabetically) and fees paid can be found on the Premier League's website, but the BBC has a handy table for those who prefer to see teams ranked according to spending on agents' fees. The total this year for Premier League clubs pushed £130 million, almost £15 million more than the previous period.
What's clear is that a pattern is forming where Liverpool tend to spend as much if not more than virtually the rest of the entire division on fees for player representatives. Clubs such as Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have spent nearly half the amount in comparison to Liverpool over the last 24 months or so, which should raise concerns about how negotiations are being conducted for players.
Maybe Liverpool have been unlucky or certain players have had various rights and ownership fees to settle. Far-fetched excuses? Perhaps. For FSG, exceeding the fees spent by certain clubs isn't the sustainable approach envisioned. However, figures released in 2013 and 2012 show that Liverpool are usually one of the top four clubs for spending in this area.
As long as net spending remains within the club's financial limits, Liverpool will probably pursue a practice that enables Jürgen Klopp to get the players he requires and helps the club regain a regular presence in the land of milk and honey.