Everton have been one of the busiest sides in the market, which has led a few to ask if they’re closing the gap on Liverpool and if Reds fans should be a little worried. A pair of former Liverpool players say it’s a laughable notion, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a successful summer for the Blues.
Jamie Carragher and Dietmar Hamann have both reacted to talk of Everton stepping up in the transfer market with eye rolls, and in light of some of the hyperbolic reactions to Everton’s spending it seems justified. For all the noise coming from the Blue half, their moves so far only shore up their status as top six hangers-on.
“I think they’ve got some catching up to do,” was Hamann’s take when asked by TalkSport whether he was worried Everton’s summer business could see them competing with Liverpool for the Champions League places next season. “I wouldn’t be too worried being a Liverpool fan.”
Carragher, meanwhile, was even more dismissive, saying Everton’s signings wouldn’t make the Liverpool team. And, snarky and dismissive as it might sound, the truth is they would struggle to regularly make the matchday 18 at Liverpool even if the club fail to sign Naby Keïta and Virgil van Dijk.
Everton have dropped £90M already on five players, and none look likely to improve Liverpool’s first eleven. All would be touch and go to make the bench at Liverpool as the Reds’ squad is currently composed—and if Jürgen Klopp gets his signings in, it’s likely all would be relegated to domestic cup duty.
Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford would be battling Loris Karius to back up Simon Mignolet and, though he is arguably at a similar level at the Liverpool duo, there’s no case to be made for him being a clear upgrade on either the veteran Belgian or the still promising young German.
Midfielder Daby Klaassen would be a bench option assuming Naby Keïta wasn’t signed, but the Guinean arriving would push one of Liverpool’s starters to the bench and Klaassen to the reserves. The same would apply to Michael Keane, who would be third choice pending a bigger centre half signing.
Meanwhile, winger Henry Onyekuru and striker Sandro Ramirez, while both hugely promising, would struggle to make the bench regularly already. Which isn’t to say Everton have made bad signings. In truth, there’s quite a lot of youth and promise amongst the players that have been brought in.
In fact, it’s a recruitment strategy that in many ways appears lifted directly from Everton manager Ronald Koeman’s last club, Southampton—only without the need to have sold off a big star first to fund a round of speculative spending on promising young talent Everton can afford to give playing time to.
It’s not a summer that should worry Liverpool fans, but it does look a smart window for Everton, who are using the Southampton approach allied with greater financial resources to ensure a place on the fringes of the Europa League. With a few solid hits, it’s even a summer they could eventually use to push on further.
Liverpool shouldn’t be worried, but to be too dismissive of Everton’s moves this summer is to miss both the intent in their actions and the longer term potential should Koeman stick around and the money continue to be made available to fund similar activity in the market over the next two or three seasons.