In recent years, Liverpool Football Club have made it a point to center their transfer signings on younger players with huge potential to grow. While overall this has worked very well, it does lend itself to issues when things don’t go according to plan.
Things not going to the plan like your club Captain and starting No. 6 both unexpectedly accepting offers to move abroad.
The age preference policy works so well because the players at the club already are established and know what to expect. They can help integrate the younger new players almost seamlessly into the side.
That has been the hallmark of this Liverpool immense run of success. There has been a constant blend of veteran leadership with youthful exuberance that has seen this side rise together.
However, while this makes sense long-term, it does put the club in a tough spot on occasion during the transfer window.
Young players with loads of potential, especially already playing in the Premier League, will cost almost double what their true value might be. This means the Reds are playing catchup before they even pick up the phone to inquire.
A current example of this is twofold when looking at Romeo Lavia and Moises Caicedo. Both players would make superb additions, but their clubs have slapped humongous fees on them.
Both players having Premier League experience at their young age has only amplified Brighton and Southampton’s ability to ask for more than what the true value might be.
Of course, when buying hot prospect players under the age of 25, you have to expect there will be an increased asking price based on future projections. However, you cannot let it hamper the negotiations.
On occasion, Liverpool do bend their own rules because they know a great deal when they see one. Case and point, Thiago who arrived from Bayern Munich at age 29 for only €22 million. At the time, his market value was €48 million.
While Thiago has battled injuries throughout his time, when has suited up he’s been class and one of the best players on the field every single time.
There are a plethora of established players across the globe that can come in with minimal assistance and contribute right away.
The vetting and integration period under Klopp, especially for younger players, is extensive. He has his core players that he trusts, and it is very difficult for a new signing to displace that hierarchy right away.
However, when you have a Summer where two of your most experienced leaders leave suddenly, it puts the club in an awkward place.
Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai are unique in that they have proven leadership qualities at such young ages. Particularly Szoboszlai who Captains the national team at only 22. This is not the norm however.
Liverpool were also able to get those deals completed for less than they would normally because they utilized the release clauses to perfection.
Unfortunately, there is not always going to be a release clause loophole for the Reds to exploit. See Lavia and Caicedo as an example of that. If the club were to expand their age profile when it comes to new signings, that would open the map to so many fresh possibilities.
That’s why it was refreshing to see links to Leon Goretzka, Joao Palhinha and Joshua Kimmich. All players in their late twenties that are still in the prime of their career. Any of those 3 would make great signings and could comfortably walk into a Starting midfield alongside Mac Allister and Szoboszlai if Hendo and Fabinho depart.
That’s where the frustration comes from on occasion. Liverpool paint themselves into a corner because clubs know they are reluctant to buy anyone over 25. As a result, market values go out the window on the younger talent and it’s whatever the club deems appropriate for their own purposes.
Again, working towards signings that can help now and in the future is a brilliant strategy. However, it leaves gaping holes when you have players leaving.
In a perfect world, there would be a healthy blend of youth and experience brought in during the transfer window.
You can have a preference for the young potential, but experience cannot be totally disregarded because a player is 27, 28 or 29.
Ultimately, Klopp and his team know the player profile they are looking for. It’s going out and securing those signings that proves difficult when teams know what your expectations are as well.
Hopefully, the club can broaden their horizons even a little. Doing so might unlock many previously unseen opportunities to improve this Liverpool side.