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Werner: Liverpool Had to Have "Discipline" in Transfer Business

After John Henry's public assertions regarding Luis Suarez and the state of the club a few weeks ago, Tom Werner provides additional insight into the club's long-terms aims as well as their strategy in what's been a tumultuous summer transfer window.

Michael Regan

Yesterday afternoon saw an uptick in sentiment toward Liverpool's transfer business after spirits had sagged badly over the previous 24 hours; links to Shay Given and Tiago Ilori appeared to be the only concrete links the club were chasing, but with the revelation that Mamadou Sakho is set to travel to Merseyside for a Zaf Iqbal special, suddenly things weren't entirely the worst again. Adding an experienced defender to the mix after the midweek wave of injuries proved to be the tonic, at least for the time being.

We also got a ranging interview with the club's higher-ups from ESPN's Roger Bennett, who had the chance to check in with John Henry, Ian Ayre, and Tom Werner about the club's work this summer, and where they see Liverpool headed in both the short- and long-term. The sit-down with Werner provided a number of illuminating quotes, including the chairman's thoughts on their financial aims and how that informed a transfer policy that has been, at times, met with discontent by supporters:

"Money is always going to allow you to make more mistakes. I think in the end having a strong manager, a strong football operations department and a team of people who are going in the right direction is the recipe to success. We see the possibility of not only being a top-four club but being the best team in the Premier League. I am not promising that it will be this season or next season, but one thing I have seen, and we see it every week, that it is a very unpredictable sport and it's very complicated to put together a winning club, and money is only one ingredient.

"We have improved our scouting department. I am extremely proud of the transfer market targets we acquired last January, which people say is not a good time to strengthen your club. That's when we acquired Sturridge and [Philippe] Coutinho. We haven't shut the window. We will all know more shortly. I will say that we do assign a value for our targets as opposed to certain clubs that are financed by the state or by an oligarch ... and if a target goes for more than that value we have to have the discipline to walk away, but I would say that in the end our fans would be happy if we are running a competitive club that is sustainable. The best thing for the club in the long term is to be self-sustaining."

The entire article is worth reading, as is the video interview with Bennett and Werner, but comments from Ayre further highlight the notion that the club are not particularly flexible when it comes to their valuations of players and the willingness to move beyond that--Ayre notes that in the case of Willian, "the value compared to the opportunity were miles apart." It was painful to have lost out to Spurs, then fun to watch Spurs lose out to Chelsea, then painful to watch Jose Mourinho be suffocatingly smug about the whole deal, but there was a rhyme and reason there, even if it was always possible (and maybe even probable) that Liverpool would have lost out to Chelsea in the end.

Saying the right things has never been a problem for FSG since they bought the club in 2010. Their talk hasn't always been followed up by swift and effective action, and that's given way to concern this summer. A strong finish to the transfer window, even with all its ups and downs, could start to ease some of those worries.

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