For an in-depth look at the Liverpool roster in advance of the 2018-2019 season, click here to read Part 1. This post will be updated throughout the season with notable transfers and other additions to the club.
(Disclaimer: I’m seeing discrepancies as to the position some of these players play in, for my money everyone but Sturridge and Firmino is truly a midfielder or attacking midfielder. If you disagree with my “classification”, just add your version of strikers and midfielders, the point stays the same. A ton of players, and a set number of minutes)
- Alisson ($68.75M from AS Roma) – This price makes Alisson the most expensive goalkeeper ever overtaking Gianluigi Buffon’s 2001 transfer for $43M from Parma to Juventus. Alisson started 49 matches across all competitions last year for AS Roma, of which 22 were clean sheets and total only allowed 47 goals. While I try my best to be forthcoming with the “whole” truth (and not “selectively” use statistics), I think this particular set of statistics are seriously misleading — 12 of these games were in Champions League competition and in those games he gave up 19 goals and kept only 5 clean sheets. Before you scoff that Liverpool paid bookoo (technical term) bucks for him, that means in Serie A he made 37 starts, kept 17 clean sheets and allowed a total of 28 goals. So, in the league he was almost inhuman conceding a goal almost every 120′ or just over 0.75 goals/game, I will take those odds any day. It’s worth noting that Roma’s Champions League endeavor was in danger from the start; they played Liverpool twice (7 of the 19 goals), Atletico Madrid twice (2 more), FC Barcelona twice (4 more), and Chelsea twice (3 more). So, in 8 games, he conceded 16 goals to some of the best clubs on the planet. I think this move, while expensive, is going to pay dividends for the club, look at David De Gea from Manchester United, how many points has saved for that club alone? I think we should start a “points saved by Alisson” post… I bet it goes up exponentially.
- Naby Keïta ($66M from RB Leipzig) – Keïta was a target for Liverpool last year also, but they were able to close the deal this time around. Keïta is yet another addition to the crowded midfield of Liverpool, although he provides a little bit of versatility being competent in central, left or right midfield — he can also play defensive midfielder if needed. In the 2016-2017 campaign for RB Leipzig he played in 32 games across all competitions scoring 8 while tallying an additional 8 assists. During 2017-2018, he appeared in 39 games, scoring 9 goals with 7 assists, however, my biggest concern from his recent form is with his discipline. He spent 5 games on direct card suspensions, 3 for a straight red card, and 2 more for yellow cards or accumulation. In total he acquired 9 yellow cards (7 in league), 2 reds for yellow card accumulation (one in league) and one straight red card (in league). He also only averaged about 70’/game in the league, so that is something Klopp will need to manage. I think Keïta will be a decent acquisition overall, but dang that midfield is getting full (cue Fabinho discussion… ).
- Fabinho ($50M from Monaco) – the Fabinho acquisition is likely meant to free up attacking players from defensive responsibilities with Fabinho providing defensive cover. Fabinho played in almost every match (totaling 46 across all competitions) for this Monaco side from a couple games missed for yellow card accumulations. Fabinho plays the “enforcer” role for the midfield, so the yellow cards are more likely a result of the role he has and how he plays than questionable discipline. I think that this transfer will function a lot like the Manchester United move for Nemanja Matic, which will allow for more of an attacking focus without leaving the defense exposed. This is perhaps the one midfield role not totally overrun, and I think he will play among the most minutes for the squad so that players like Salah, Mané, Keïta, and Shaqiri have more liberty to shirk defensive duties.
- Xherdan Shaqiri ($16M from Stoke City) – Shaqiri had a relegation release clause is his contract with Stoke, saying that if they were to get relegated he gets released no questions asked for “x” amount of money. In this case, x was $16M and I think that Liverpool picks up a great player at a cut rate price. I have two major concerns: 1) the “situation” I mentioned above and 2) how will he fit with the squad? I’ve heard mixed reviews about his work ethic and ability to “play nice”. A former team mate at Stoke told the media that Shaqiri didn’t step up when his team needed him. Whether that’s true or bitterness from a squad member that’s upset about his leaving— it’s too early to tell.
- Danny Ward ($15.5M to Leicester) – The Ward move is likely to provide the Foxes with some future planning to help supplement their aging goalkeeper team (Schmeichel is 31, Jakupovic is 33). I expect him to really only be a back up option for the first team barring an injury to one or both of the other keepers. I also expect that this is motivated by the acquisition shattering the fee for a goalkeeper, Liverpool has too many goalkeepers and needed to get rid of someone. I think this is an okay move, everybody seems to win and Alisson was just given his first assurance that he’ll be getting playtime.
- Jon Flanagan (Free Transfer to Rangers) – Flanagan is a youth product for Liverpool and has never really competed in the first team, he’s spent most of his time with the club on loan for Championship (Tier 2) soccer, so this move makes sense. After failing to break into the first team at Anfield, he’s decided to move on, I think he’ll be more apt to have a first team breakthrough with Rangers than Liverpool.
- Jordan Williams (Free Transfer to Rochdale AFC) – Williams is in exactly the same situation as Flanagan, except that he is going to a lower Tier team than Flanagan. No real loss here for Liverpool, but now Williams can seek a breakthrough somewhere else.
- Emre Can (Free Transfer to Juventus) – Can left by his own admission in search of “silverwear” (trophies) saying that he felt he had a better chance to achieve that at Juventus than with Liverpool. I think that probably stung some Liverpool hearts considering that Liverpool were runners up in 2 competitions last year. While no one has come out and admitted it, Can has probably been feeling that he’s less integral to the team and his appearance numbers seem to suggest this. I’m not really sure that this is so much of a knock on Can or how he plays, but I think it goes back to the midfield situation. I think he was probably informed that his time would continue to drop with still more additions to the midfield and he opted not to renew his contract, instead choosing Juventus.
- Danny Ings (Loan [*mandatory $25M future fee] to Southampton) – Ings signed with Liverpool in the 2015 summer transfer window, but since then he really hasn’t played for Liverpool. He’s played in a total of 25 games (in all competitions) in a Liverpool shirt and has only averaged 38’/appearance, as a result his Liverpool stats are not anything to write home about (4 goals, 1 assist). He has shown to be rather injury plagued with a cruciate ligament injury in the 2015-2016 season and then missing time in the 2016-2017 season (Oct 2016-May 2017) after having a knee injury (and operation). Prior to the mass of injuries he was a starting striker for Burnley in their 2015 Premier League campaign where he scored 11 goals and added 5 assists in 3035′ in 35 appearances (87’/appearance). I think that Liverpool has the depth to get the player off their wage bill and this loan-to-permanent move is probably more likely to be able Southampton expecting to have funds available next year (where they don’t this year). This allows them to essentially complete the transfer for “free” this season and paying later. This is a brilliant move for Liverpool, who’ve somehow managed to make a $15.5M profit on a player that barely played for them, but it also gives Ings the opportunity to break into a new side and return to form and fitness.
Last update: August 15, 2018