Examining if Liverpool's free transfer strategy has paid off

  • Under Jurgen Klopp there were several players to leave on a free.
  • It has become a proven method of business for Liverpool.   
  • Taking a look back, most of the players that stayed were justified.
Liverpool v Norwich City - Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round
Liverpool v Norwich City - Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages
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As Liverpool's Klopp era comes to a close, let's take a look at one of its trademark strategies; letting players walk on a free transfer.

Of course, this means you miss out on transfer fee income, but from a certain perspective, it also means you get your full money's worth from each contract, and never move off of a player when they still have more to give.

Let's take a look at some key Reds who departed Klopp's squad on a free transfer, and come to a decision as to whether this strategy is something Liverpool should consider extending into the Arne Slot era.

All transfer values and fees according to Transfermarkt

Roberto Firmino

As a member of Liverpool's most iconic attacking trio, Firmino is by far the biggest name on this list- for the moment, as it seems that Mo Salah might be joining one of these days.

Firmino left Liverpool after his age-30 season, but while still playing some of the best football of his career.

Firmino arrived at Anfield in 2015 on a €41 million transfer, and he certainly lived up to the price tag. With Liverpool, his market value peaked at €90 million, so the club could have secured a nice profit, but would it have been responsible to do so?

Absolutely not. That valuation came in December of 2019, sandwiched between Liverpool's successful UCL and Premier League runs.

Moving off of such a pivotal and unique piece midseason, or even after the season when Firmino was valued at €72 million, would have been an outrageous move considering the club's ongoing ambitions.

Firmino brought a unique quality to the squad that would have been hard to replace given the funds Liverpool would have received to secure a transfer.

By the time June 2021 rolled around, Firmino's value was down to €50 million, a point at which a transfer could perhaps have been justified, but given the successes and near-successes of the 2021-22 campaign, it's just too hard to say that it would have been the way to go.

Georginio Wijnaldum

Wijnaldum came in on a €27.5 million transfer deal at the age of 25, yet another bargain for the Reds. He left for PSG after his age-29 season on a free transfer, while holding a market value of €30 million.

His value peaked at around €50 million, throughout the second half of 2019, a time at which Liverpool had quite literally no intention of dumping key contributors, especially those who had rescued the club as had Wijnaldum.

The 2020-21 season was a tough time for Liverpool, so it could be argued that a winter transfer might have been a prudent move if the club never intended to bring him back for another contract, but it's hard to say if such a market existed for a player on an expiring deal.

He also was one of the few stalwarts of that season, as he played all 38 league matches and started 34.