Who would you keep ?

RedForever2014

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Generally an excellent post but the line quoted above stands out like a sore thumb.

Do you honestly think that Klopp, Edwards et al are sitting there thinking “Hmmmmm. Let’s be second best to City”?
Given their wealth, City will be the side who wins the title more than not, as their squad gets deeper and deeper every year and this is the biggest single issue in the league title race.

We can merely hope to be the next best, winning it when they don't.

Success would be a title or two over a decade, from this current squad and the one I hope will develop to replace it, with most of the trophy haul coming in the CL, domestic cups and secondary tournaments.

We can compete head on, i.e. determine our own fate, in all tournaments bar the league, as we know we can beat anyone in England or Europe on our day.

To win the CL for example, City would have to beat us if we win our matches and face them in it, en route to the final or in it. So we can directly stop them.

But we cannot directly stop them in the league.

We're not in control of the title race when up against a club that has a squad that can blow everyone else away regardless of injuries, when our own squad isn't that deep and is an injury or two away from results being more difficult to obtain.

Just being realistic.
 

Anfield rd Dreamer

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Given their wealth, City will be the side who wins the title more than not, as their squad gets deeper and deeper every year and this is the biggest single issue in the league title race.

We can merely hope to be the next best, winning it when they don't.

Success would be a title or two over a decade, from this current squad and the one I hope will develop to replace it, with most of the trophy haul coming in the CL, domestic cups and secondary tournaments.

We can compete head on, i.e. determine our own fate, in all tournaments bar the league, as we know we can beat anyone in England or Europe on our day.

To win the CL for example, City would have to beat us if we win our matches and face them in it, en route to the final or in it. So we can directly stop them.

But we cannot directly stop them in the league.

We're not in control of the title race when up against a club that has a squad that can blow everyone else away regardless of injuries, when our own squad isn't that deep and is an injury or two away from results being more difficult to obtain.

Just being realistic.
I disagree. I get what you are saying with regards to them being the best funded side in the league but not all of our players have to cost a fortune. Alexander-Arnold and Robertson have every chance of being as good in their positions as VvD has in his. Salah cost a fraction of his apparent value. Not every player is better or worse based on how much they cost. By the end of the season I suspect Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk and Robertson will be viewed as the best back 4 in the league. Despite the cost of Van Dijk that back 4 cost significantly less than City or the United back 4. Yes strength in depth is the huge advantage City hold over most but except for left forward and attacking midfield (maybe) I have absolutely no problem with our strength in depth now. I'd put our starting 11 and next 11 against anyone else's and feel reasonably confident regarding our quality versus theirs. Think sometimes we are too close to see the big picture. See our personal disappointment at players like Moreno and Matip but not familiar enough with the players at other clubs to compare to their 2nd/3rd/4th choice at LB and their CB struggling to hold onto billing as 3rd choice and who may even drop to 5th choice by end of the season.
 

RedForever2014

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As an aside, we need to get Mane's contact sorted asap.

We do not want him to get even within a sniff of two years remaining, as that's when everyone starts to get nervous and other clubs start to pounce.

If we want to win everything we possibly can, we need to keep all our current best players for the next 4 or 5 years.

If our policy is to sell them at their peak and reinvest, then as long as we continue to reinvest well we'll stay at the top table, but we will not be at the head of it.

If this club wants to win every trophy it can, it needs to be prepared to keep top players beyond their peak valuation, into the years when they dip a bit in value due to their remaining years as a professional reducing, but continue to deliver on the pitch.

In short, generally speaking a player's peak value is at 27 or 28, but he does not decline in output until 30 or 31.

The reduction in fee between what you'd get for him at 27 or 28 and 30 or 31, is the price on sustained success.

Ask Madrid, whose second and third Champions League wins in this sequence, was delivered by a settled team with many early 30 something players.
 

Mascot88

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If our policy is to sell them at their peak and reinvest, then as long as we continue to reinvest well we'll stay at the top table, but we will not be at the head of it.

If this club wants to win every trophy it can, it needs to be prepared to keep top players beyond their peak valuation, into the years when they dip a bit in value due to their remaining years as a professional reducing, but continue to deliver on the pitch.

In short, generally speaking a player's peak value is at 27 or 28, but he does not decline in output until 30 or 31.

The reduction in fee between what you'd get for him at 27 or 28 and 30 or 31, is the price on sustained success.

Ask Madrid, whose second and third Champions League wins in this sequence, was delivered by a settled team with many early 30 something players.
Real Madrid can afford to let players run in into their thirties. We can’t.

I don’t mind us carrying a couple of players into their thirties - in fact that’s probably beneficial. But too many, and at some point down the line you need a massive rebuild.

Real Madrid might be thinking ‘That’s OK. We can afford to go an buy eight world class players in one go (and we can always sell a packet of crisps to the Government for £300m’). I don’t think that’s a model we can follow.

The trick is to sell just at the point of decline, but have the replacement ready to go. Do it piece by piece and step by step, and it wouldn’t be felt too keenly.
 

RedForever2014

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Real Madrid can afford to let players run in into their thirties. We can’t.

I don’t mind us carrying a couple of players into their thirties - in fact that’s probably beneficial. But too many, and at some point down the line you need a massive rebuild.

Real Madrid might be thinking ‘That’s OK. We can afford to go an buy eight world class players in one go (and we can always sell a packet of crisps to the Government for £300m’). I don’t think that’s a model we can follow.

The trick is to sell just at the point of decline, but have the replacement ready to go. Do it piece by piece and step by step, and it wouldn’t be felt too keenly.
So we are a selling club then?

What do the other top 6 clubs do?

Oh well, I guess we can look forward to a good season this season, then we'll have to come to terms with Mane, Salah, Bobby, Hendo, Gini and VVD being sold over the next two years.

So much for sustained success.
 

Limiescouse

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The key is to let them turn old on someone else's wage book. If you sell them a year early, it's no big deal as long as you have an adequate replacement lined up/already at the club. That does not make you a selling club.
 

Mascot88

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The key is to let them turn old on someone else's wage book. If you sell them a year early, it's no big deal as long as you have an adequate replacement lined up/already at the club. That does not make you a selling club.
Indeed. How did the saying go? Let their legs go on someone else’s pitch.

I’m honesty not bothered if we sell Sadio Mane in a couple of years, as long as we have the next one ready to go.
 

ILLOK

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Real Madrid can afford to let players run in into their thirties. We can’t.
We can if we're successful. Keeping our best players over a long period of time gives us the best chance of being successful.

Mane will be 28 in a couple of years, I would be disappointed if we were happily willing to sell him because his value might start decreasing.
 

Mascot88

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We can if we're successful. Keeping our best players over a long period of time gives us the best chance of being successful.

Mane will be 28 in a couple of years, I would be disappointed if we were happily willing to sell him because his value might start decreasing.
Depends who else we have knocking about the squad by that point.

To be honest, I would be extremely surprised if, in a couple of years, Mane doesn’t feel like like four years is a good stint, and want to try his luck in Spain or Italy.
 

Nikola

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Depends who else we have knocking about the squad by that point.

To be honest, I would be extremely surprised if, in a couple of years, Mane doesn’t feel like like four years is a good stint, and want to try his luck in Spain or Italy.
I'm actually worried about this scenario, considering that talk about him agreeing a deal with Real Madrid prior to Zidane's resignation and the fact that agreeing his new Liverpool deal is taking a bit of time and that Klopp is trying to deflect from it. It was difficult enough for Liverpool to finally break that winger curse, so I hope to enjoy having them at Liverpool and seeing them play/score/assist consistently well for years and years. That said, I guess there is only one way to get the likes of him and Salah to stay - trophies.
 

Zoran

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What you also need to create, or to continue, is to monitor potential targets to be as often as possible one step ahead. The world doesn't end with the departure of Salah or Mane. We as fans can decide to relax and close our eyes, but I totally understand and actually want the club to be prepared for anything. For now, I'm still relaxed and don't see any of them leaving soon. You'd hope both of them could stay and enjoy the type of success Ribery & Robben had at Bayern par example, consistently being dangerous wingers for a good few years. Maybe not that much as we don't have the dominance over here that Bayern has in Germany, but we're in a good position and you need to ensure there are not many better places to be than here. But with every transfer window ahead, be more and more sure what we need (that relation between Klopp, Edwards and the scouting team) and better prepared to get that quality through the doors. We seem to have cut the transfer that make absolutely no sense and flops. Now we're on a good way of getting players in who are successes, or at least we're looking at "who's been better". Relative successes.
 

RedForever2014

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The key is to let them turn old on someone else's wage book. If you sell them a year early, it's no big deal as long as you have an adequate replacement lined up/already at the club. That does not make you a selling club.
Indeed. How did the saying go? Let their legs go on someone else’s pitch.

I’m honesty not bothered if we sell Sadio Mane in a couple of years, as long as we have the next one ready to go.
I've never understood this acceptance amongst some of our support, a desire even, for the club to develop a top player and then send him off at his absolute peak to another club with whom we are directly competing for trophies.

By definition, if he is at his peak value it's because he's at his peak. Anyone paying £100m+ for Mane or Salah at 28 does so because they get 3 or 4 years of him at that level before he starts to dip.

It's not just about physical peak, it's about experience, especially when it's experience of winning trophies.

By selling them at 28, we are denying ourselves 3 or 4 of their best years, years we have prepared them for, those years being the ones that would deliver most trophies.

Look at any multiple trophy winning side and most of their players are 28 to 32. It's the age when they have significant experience, when their level is proven (not one season wonders), yet they have not declined physically. That's why clubs will pay top dollar for players that age.

Such a policy inevitably reduces your trophy haul. You build, you bring it all together, you have a squad with 10 or 15 players at their peak, a few youngsters and a few veterans, you win something, then you break it up and put yourselves back to the position you were in a few years before, of having top players pre their absolute peak.

Keeping the group together almost certainly leads to a few years of sustained success, so the policy is a direct trading of trophies for cash.

Then there is the effect on everyone else. Imagine being a VVD or a Alisson, if they're in the group the policy doesn't apply to, perhaps because they are in positions with greatly longevity at peak (upto 35 for keepers and 34 for centre backs). Imagine being in a squad that is the best in Europe and then the club purposefully allowing that to change.

This might be mitigated by having a high quality recruitment team that is constantly ahead of the rest, with the replacement already in situ and good to go, someone who has been at the club and contributed to trophy wins. But it doesn't look like that's our policy, we didn't go out and get that third coming world class winger, or that coming world class alternative 9. We signed and we kept squad players.

In fact, the same supporters who advocate the policy of selling them at their peak are the same people who argue you can't have top class bench warmers.

I understand that the club can't go out and buy a whole side of ready made replacements for a squad that suddenly all hits 33 years of age.

But it shouldn't need to. As we get close to an 'ideal' squad, we now have 4 or 5 years to line up that the next generation within the normal annual spending.

What we should be doing, is acquiring the next Mane, Salah and Firmino for £30m to £50, one a summer for the next three years, at 22 to 24 years of age, then selling Mane or Salah in their early 30s for reduced but still substantial amounts.

Developing and selling squad players is a different story, but you need to rinse your top players on the pitch not off it.

There is a big difference in selling a player at 28 and selling him at 31. It's the difference between being a club that wants to win every possible trophy and one which is happy to swap those successes for financial return.

In fact, being the club that wins multiple trophies then sells the players who achieved those successes at 31 to those who aspire to, is a whole different ball game to being a feeder club that sells its best players at their peak to those who then win those trophies instead.

I don't know any other major club who has the mentality some of our support has. We wait for 30 years for a title, we win one league cup in a decade, we lose three major finals in three years and some of us actually want us to sell out the opportunity to win multiple titles.

I don't want whatever we win the next two years to be the end game, I want it to be the start.

Liverpool fans shouldn't be consciously anxious about who is going to be sold next, they shouldn't have to enjoy the moment whilst it lasts, enjoy a player whilst we've got him.

We should be able to enjoy it knowing and trusting that our club is wholly geared to rinsing every possible trophy out of every season, that it views the likes of Barce and Real as enemies not partners, and that it will act as such.

The biggest single element of that, is the age you sell your best players at.
 
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Limiescouse

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I've never understood this acceptance amongst some of our support, a desire even, for the club to develop a top player and then send him off at his absolute peak to another club with whom we are directly competing for trophies.
No one is arguing for that. Nor is anyone else defining strict parameters the way you are, so that is a bit of a strawman. The point is that to maintain success you need to make sure your best players are replaced before they NEED to be replaced because of age related drops in performance. If you do that succession planning well enough the previously key player gets squeezed out. Once you've developed that conveyor belt of talent the best business model is to move them on a season before their drop off in performance is clearly evident. No one is arguing to sell them on at that point BECAUSE of the money, but acknowledging that in this market one year could be the difference of about 15 million quid for keeping a player one year too long. The key to all this though is to get the right players in time to allow you to operate like this. This is not a new thing, or a money ball thing, it how our club was run all through our peak years. In fact it was our inability to sustain this model that saw Souness panic in and try and do too much too soon in terms of squad rebuilding.

Its a brutal, cut throat game, but then Emlyn Hughes went from raising a European trophy for the third time in three years to being shipped out to Wolves in the space of a year, and we just kept on winning.
 

lfc.eddie

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The trick is to sell just at the point of decline, but have the replacement ready to go. Do it piece by piece and step by step, and it wouldn’t be felt too keenly.
We've been missing that trick, haven't we? Alonso, Mascherano, Torres (didn't play much but still winning them silverwares), Suarez, Sterling and Coutinho. It is a good model, and ideal model for a club whose goal is to keep themselves relevant, be it in top-4 or the league. But that model of selling right before their decline is a risk not worth taking if we are looking to sustain our stature as the best club in Europe. We need to bear in mind we won't be having Klopp forever, and not everyone has his eyes and ability to develop players that quickly. Right now we're doing fine with our replacement, but when he leaves, this model will crumble like how we were since Alonso's move.

That to me is a very risky move if we want to keep ourselves the stature of being the destination for players who are keen to win medals and trophies, and not be seen as a stepping stone club to have a better future elsewhere. That in the words of @RedForever2014 means, we are a selling club, and he is absolutely right. For us fans to get comfortable with that idea is also quite Everton-ish.
 

RedForever2014

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No one is arguing for that. Nor is anyone else defining strict parameters the way you are, so that is a bit of a strawman. The point is that to maintain success you need to make sure your best players are replaced before they NEED to be replaced because of age related drops in performance. If you do that succession planning well enough the previously key player gets squeezed out. Once you've developed that conveyor belt of talent the best business model is to move them on a season before their drop off in performance is clearly evident. No one is arguing to sell them on at that point BECAUSE of the money, but acknowledging that in this market one year could be the difference of about 15 million quid for keeping a player one year too long. The key to all this though is to get the right players in time to allow you to operate like this. This is not a new thing, or a money ball thing, it how our club was run all through our peak years. In fact it was our inability to sustain this model that saw Souness panic in and try and do too much too soon in terms of squad rebuilding.

Its a brutal, cut throat game, but then Emlyn Hughes went from raising a European trophy for the third time in three years to being shipped out to Wolves in the space of a year, and we just kept on winning.
Well that's what the other poster I quoted argued for - selling Mane in a couple of years - and your scenario is not what LFC has done.

We've sold several players the past decade, mostly under FSG, at their absolute peak value at about 28 years of age or younger.

Whether it's the strategy or merely coincidental and circumstantial, what LFC has done looks more like an approach of selling high as opposed to accepting some reduction in value for football success.

My argument remains that selling players at their peak value, except in exceptional circumstances whereby you have too many of a certain type, is a direct trade off between trophies and cash generation.

My view is that LFC shouldn't need to be trading off trophies for cash, it should be able to keep players beyond their peak value and use annual investment to bring along the next generation.

If this is in any way explicable to this point, it will not be going forward, unless we still fail to win things.

That in turn comes down to whether the club continues to invest. A club hell bent on success would already be looking to add the next pieces.

We've spent less than £100m net under Klopp, less than many clubs below us never mind above us.

There should be scope for that Fekir type missing piece in due course and we shouldn't be selling Mane to get him.
 

Spitfire

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The key is to let them turn old on someone else's wage book. If you sell them a year early, it's no big deal as long as you have an adequate replacement lined up/already at the club. That does not make you a selling club.
Thats the catch - ready made replacements don't grow on trees and in todays market you pay big time for potential.

RedForever is right, If you look at all the top sides who have had sustained success its been about keeping their core crop of top players together for as long as possible. As you say the ideal is having the replacement already at the club - but that means investing while you still have your worldie there. Not selling him to fund the next move.........

On a side note it's often those experienced players that get you over the line in the big games....
 

Strictly Armchair

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We've sold several players the past decade, mostly under FSG, at their absolute peak value at about 28 years of age or younger.

Whether it's the strategy or merely coincidental and circumstantial, what LFC has done looks more like an approach of selling high as opposed to accepting some reduction in value for football success.

That in turn comes down to whether the club continues to invest. A club hell bent on success would already be looking to add the next pieces.

We've spent less than £100m net under Klopp, less than many clubs below us never mind above us.
I have been meaning to pick up your point regarding player sales for a little while now. I know you’re not much of a fan of FSG but I’m not so sure the high value player sales is a stick with which they can be roundly beaten. If we look at the outgoings in slightly more detail, what else do you reasonably think the club could have done in the circumstances?

Torres - £50m to Chelsea, January 2011.
The first big sale of FSG's tenure. Torres was approaching his 27th birthday and, on the surface, in the prime years of his career. We, on the other hand, had declined rapidly in the 18 months prior to his departure. We had dropped out of the CL and looked highly unlikely to be competing in the following year's competition. At the time of Torres' final appearance for us, a scabby 1-0 home win over a relegation threatened Fulham side, we were nine points behind 4th place Chelsea, having played a game more.

It's also worth remembering that he had seen Alonso and Mascherano depart the club. By the time of his transfer request he had Cole, Jovanovic, Poulsen and Konchesky amongst his teammates. We had also failed to win a single trophy during his time with us. Unbefitting for a player who had scored the winning goal in the 2008 European Championship final and who had played a part in Spain's 2010 World Cup triumph. Xavi and Inesta vs Cole and Poulsen. Spot the difference.

In addition, Benitez had been fired, Hodgson had thankfully been mutually consented out of the door but Torres suddenly found himself working for a manager who had not led a team for over a decade. Add to that the smoke only just beginning to clear from the chaos of the H&G reign then his departure becomes explicable.

The player wished to leave. All the club could do was obtain the best possible fee. £50m was probably as good as it could have been in the circumstances. Just a pity that 70% of it was immediately wasted on that ponytailed gobshite from Newcastle.

Suarez - £65m to Barcelona, July 2014.
He was still serving a ban for biting an opponent when he joined us in January 2011. He then served an eight match ban for racially abusing an opponent in October the same year. In April 2013 he picked up a 10 match ban for another biting offence. Then to top all that, he was banned for four months after sinking his teeth into an opponent on a 3rd occasion, this time while playing for Uruguay in the 2014 World Cup.

While his final eight months here saw us witness one of the finest individual displays over the course of a season ever in the club's history, the incidents set out above show someone who was displaying utterly appalling individual characteristics. He was only eclipsed by that vile git Diouf in that respect.

Remember that the player had agitated for a move to Arsenal 12 months prior to his eventual departure, leading to John Henry's suggestion that the Moroccan Woodbines may have been handed out freely at the Emirates. Eventually the penny dropped with the player that he was going nowhere in a hurry. At least he then knuckled down and turned in an absolutely stellar campaign. However, the writing was on the wall, the player's desire to leave was no surprise to anybody. An Hispanic lad given the chance to go to Barcelona, with the chance to play alongside Xavi, Iniesta and Messi, there was only ever going to be one outcome.

£65m for someone with a seemingly out of control jaw was probably as good as we could get, particularly in view of the fact that he would miss the first couple of months of his new club's campaign. As with the Torres money it's just a pity we then went and splashed over half of the Suarez fee on Markovic and Balotelli.

Sterling - £49m to Man City, July 2015
A player of great promise but lamentable finishing skills who had made 129 appearances in a little over three years. However, as we all know, his absolute charmer of an agent made it perfectly clear that he would not be signing a new contract regardless of what wage was offered. What were the club supposed to do? Allow him to run his contract down?

I maintain to this day that it was an excellent piece of business. His decision making skills on the pitch still leave a lot to be desired and I'm not sure he would fit into a Klopp team. £49m, less 20% due to QPR as a sell-on clause, still extracted every last pound out of the nouveau riche of Middle East Manchester.

Coutinho - £142m to Barcelona, January 2018

Signed for £8.5m in January 2013, sold for a mind boggling sum five years later. Like everyone else I was loathe to see him leave. That was until he pulled the infamous 'bad back' stunt right on the eve of the opening league fixture last season. It may have just been a coincidence that he was also 'injured' as the transfer window re-opened at the start of the year. Once a player starts pulling stunts like that, time to get rid. Do you really want to keep a player like that on the payroll, with all of the potential to detabilise the place, being a malcontent?

Unlike the Torres and Suarez departures, the Coutinho money has been spent on excellent upgrades in areas of the pitch where their benefit far outweighs the loss of the Brazilian. A serendipitous outcome of his departure was the front three stepping up their game as he was no longer the get out option during games.


The net spend argument is moot to an extent. It's not what you spend but how you spend it that matters. I could put such a lengthy list together of pisspoor signings made over many years that it would drive many forumites to tears. A leg ends XI just wouldn't do. We could probably put together enough names for an eight team tournament.

To take up your selling club argument, every club is to an extent. Even the biggest clubs lose players against their will from time to time. We have lost players from Keegan onwards who we would have preferred to keep. The difference is that for most of the last three decades we have pissed far too much money up the wall on ill-considered signings, who we have then had difficulty moving on. The last three transfer windows suggest that we have now, finally, got our act together.

Most of the highly valued players in the squad now aren't British, in a number of cases they're not even European. Why should they want to spend the rest of their playing days with us? Should they express a desire to experience pastures new, all the club can then do is extract every last pound out of the buying club and ensure there are suitable replacements lined up. With Klopp in charge we can get closer to making the club a preferred destination rather than a means to an end. It still won't stop every unwanted departure though. If we want to sign players from further afield then don't be surprised to find that their horizons are broader.
 

Anfield rd Dreamer

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Good post @Strictly Armchair but I'd clarify a little.

One of the main reasons for selling Torres was also due to his physical condition. We sold him as the all action footballing mega star with a price to reflect that. The truth was that he wasn't that player anymore and never would be again. We knew that when he was agitating to leave and they were offering stupid money for him.

All of Torres, Sterling and Coutinho had toxic situations being brought into the dressing room and as fans we can only guess at that side of things. But we see these days how much squad harmony can achieve on the pitch. Klopp puts it extremely high on his list of priorities and it's a big part of why his team's do so well.

Suarez was an impossible situation. Even if he hadn't been given some reassurances of being allowed to leave that summer (like many suspect) after his failed attempt the previous year we probably still needed to sell. The squad was wafer thin, we were entering the champions league for the first time in years, Sturridge one of our star forwards was starting to get lots of injuries and Gerrard our captain and talisman was like a broken man. Suarez our other star forward then gets banned for 1/3rd of the season (and no way of knowing if he would avoid other bans after that). I know the following season was a disaster, largely due to how poor our spending was, but how much worse would it have been had we not sold him and tried to cope? Suarez was banned up till October. So he'd have missed the first 9 league games (Sturridge only played 3) and half the champions league group games (which Sturridge also missed). The squads we put out during that time were awful as it was, can you imagine how much worse they'd have been without the Suarez money being used to reinforce throughout the team?

The big sales we've made, in context, have to be looked at as near essential due to the situations within our squad at those times. Think Sterling is the only one where the club can get some blame as, if more was done earlier, that situation didn't need to develop when and how it did. The main problem with our big sales has been how we have used the money afterwards and we are obviously improving on that front. I don't see one happening for awhile but if it did I believe we would cope better even that we have with the Coutinho situation.
 

Zoran

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I didn't like the sale of Sterling and still don't like like it. His agent was/is suspicious, his interview with BBC was dumb, but we had him long enough to sort these things out and tie him to a deal that he already deserved, instead of getting the likes of Markovic.

Losing a top talent and already someone who was (a starter) in our top 3 players that season (and played well previously), covering positions from striker to right wing back, to a rival club, before he's even close to being something like 25... sorry, that simply cannot happen in 99% situations.
 

Anfield rd Dreamer

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I didn't like the sale of Sterling and still don't like like it. His agent was/is suspicious, his interview with BBC was dumb, but we had him long enough to sort these things out and tie him to a deal that he already deserved, instead of getting the likes of Markovic.

Losing a top talent and already someone who was (a starter) in our top 3 players that season (and played well previously), covering positions from striker to right wing back, to a rival club, before he's even close to being something like 25... sorry, that simply cannot happen in 99% situations.
Yep before Suarez even left he should have been tied down to a long term contract and paid as one of our star players (which he was) regardless of age. That season after it became even more essential as he basically became our joint most important attacker with Coutinho. For us still to have him on the contract we had and trying to sort it out 12 months later was ridiculous. We should have been building on them two young players moving forwards. If youre good enough youre old enough is fine to say but then if youre good enough you should be getting paid enough too. No doubt, if he'd carried on developing, one day he'd have pulled a "Coutinho" to try and get a move to a Real Madrid or Barcelona but that's not guaranteed. Definitely think, looking at Salah and Mane, Sterling and Klopp would have been fantastic together.
 

Irishanfield

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I didn't like the sale of Sterling and still don't like like it. His agent was/is suspicious, his interview with BBC was dumb, but we had him long enough to sort these things out and tie him to a deal that he already deserved, instead of getting the likes of Markovic.

Losing a top talent and already someone who was (a starter) in our top 3 players that season (and played well previously), covering positions from striker to right wing back, to a rival club, before he's even close to being something like 25... sorry, that simply cannot happen in 99% situations.
Didn't sterling say something liked he'd never play for us/Rodgers again even if we gave him 200k a week
 

Anfield rd Dreamer

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Didn't sterling say something liked he'd never play for us/Rodgers again even if we gave him 200k a week
Yeah about 18 months after he should have already been "awarded"/tied down to a contract that reflected him being one of our top stars. If he was under long term contract I don't think he'd have ended up leaving us unless it had been for Barca/Real in a deal that would have been a record breaking one. If he ever developed to the standard that required a club and deal like that. He's an arrogant, money loving git and his agent is an arsehole but we created the situation that we became vulnerable in. In his final two years, when he'd already become one of our top stars (and one of only 2 attacking ones fit and still at the club) we started negotiating contracts with a lot of talk about not wanting to over pay a player that young. Whilst on the pitch him and Coutinho were our most important players that season. Guy had/has an ego but a lot of it was/is deserved.
 

Limiescouse

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Sterling negotiated in bad faith because he did not want to be to the club anymore. Other than putting a kid with a history of up and down form (and when it was down it was bad, "loan him out he is crap" type form) on a contract far above what he had demonstrated, the only thing we could have done differently is spend the money better in summer 2014. I think it was 36 million we spend on Mario and Markovic. In Summer 2014 that could have bought you a damn good striker.
 

RedForever2014

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I have been meaning to pick up your point regarding player sales for a little while now. I know you’re not much of a fan of FSG but I’m not so sure the high value player sales is a stick with which they can be roundly beaten. If we look at the outgoings in slightly more detail, what else do you reasonably think the club could have done in the circumstances?

Torres - £50m to Chelsea, January 2011.
The first big sale of FSG's tenure. Torres was approaching his 27th birthday and, on the surface, in the prime years of his career. We, on the other hand, had declined rapidly in the 18 months prior to his departure. We had dropped out of the CL and looked highly unlikely to be competing in the following year's competition. At the time of Torres' final appearance for us, a scabby 1-0 home win over a relegation threatened Fulham side, we were nine points behind 4th place Chelsea, having played a game more.

It's also worth remembering that he had seen Alonso and Mascherano depart the club. By the time of his transfer request he had Cole, Jovanovic, Poulsen and Konchesky amongst his teammates. We had also failed to win a single trophy during his time with us. Unbefitting for a player who had scored the winning goal in the 2008 European Championship final and who had played a part in Spain's 2010 World Cup triumph. Xavi and Inesta vs Cole and Poulsen. Spot the difference.

In addition, Benitez had been fired, Hodgson had thankfully been mutually consented out of the door but Torres suddenly found himself working for a manager who had not led a team for over a decade. Add to that the smoke only just beginning to clear from the chaos of the H&G reign then his departure becomes explicable.

The player wished to leave. All the club could do was obtain the best possible fee. £50m was probably as good as it could have been in the circumstances. Just a pity that 70% of it was immediately wasted on that ponytailed gobshite from Newcastle.

Suarez - £65m to Barcelona, July 2014.
He was still serving a ban for biting an opponent when he joined us in January 2011. He then served an eight match ban for racially abusing an opponent in October the same year. In April 2013 he picked up a 10 match ban for another biting offence. Then to top all that, he was banned for four months after sinking his teeth into an opponent on a 3rd occasion, this time while playing for Uruguay in the 2014 World Cup.

While his final eight months here saw us witness one of the finest individual displays over the course of a season ever in the club's history, the incidents set out above show someone who was displaying utterly appalling individual characteristics. He was only eclipsed by that vile git Diouf in that respect.

Remember that the player had agitated for a move to Arsenal 12 months prior to his eventual departure, leading to John Henry's suggestion that the Moroccan Woodbines may have been handed out freely at the Emirates. Eventually the penny dropped with the player that he was going nowhere in a hurry. At least he then knuckled down and turned in an absolutely stellar campaign. However, the writing was on the wall, the player's desire to leave was no surprise to anybody. An Hispanic lad given the chance to go to Barcelona, with the chance to play alongside Xavi, Iniesta and Messi, there was only ever going to be one outcome.

£65m for someone with a seemingly out of control jaw was probably as good as we could get, particularly in view of the fact that he would miss the first couple of months of his new club's campaign. As with the Torres money it's just a pity we then went and splashed over half of the Suarez fee on Markovic and Balotelli.

Sterling - £49m to Man City, July 2015
A player of great promise but lamentable finishing skills who had made 129 appearances in a little over three years. However, as we all know, his absolute charmer of an agent made it perfectly clear that he would not be signing a new contract regardless of what wage was offered. What were the club supposed to do? Allow him to run his contract down?

I maintain to this day that it was an excellent piece of business. His decision making skills on the pitch still leave a lot to be desired and I'm not sure he would fit into a Klopp team. £49m, less 20% due to QPR as a sell-on clause, still extracted every last pound out of the nouveau riche of Middle East Manchester.

Coutinho - £142m to Barcelona, January 2018
Signed for £8.5m in January 2013, sold for a mind boggling sum five years later. Like everyone else I was loathe to see him leave. That was until he pulled the infamous 'bad back' stunt right on the eve of the opening league fixture last season. It may have just been a coincidence that he was also 'injured' as the transfer window re-opened at the start of the year. Once a player starts pulling stunts like that, time to get rid. Do you really want to keep a player like that on the payroll, with all of the potential to detabilise the place, being a malcontent?

Unlike the Torres and Suarez departures, the Coutinho money has been spent on excellent upgrades in areas of the pitch where their benefit far outweighs the loss of the Brazilian. A serendipitous outcome of his departure was the front three stepping up their game as he was no longer the get out option during games.


The net spend argument is moot to an extent. It's not what you spend but how you spend it that matters. I could put such a lengthy list together of pisspoor signings made over many years that it would drive many forumites to tears. A leg ends XI just wouldn't do. We could probably put together enough names for an eight team tournament.

To take up your selling club argument, every club is to an extent. Even the biggest clubs lose players against their will from time to time. We have lost players from Keegan onwards who we would have preferred to keep. The difference is that for most of the last three decades we have pissed far too much money up the wall on ill-considered signings, who we have then had difficulty moving on. The last three transfer windows suggest that we have now, finally, got our act together.

Most of the highly valued players in the squad now aren't British, in a number of cases they're not even European. Why should they want to spend the rest of their playing days with us? Should they express a desire to experience pastures new, all the club can then do is extract every last pound out of the buying club and ensure there are suitable replacements lined up. With Klopp in charge we can get closer to making the club a preferred destination rather than a means to an end. It still won't stop every unwanted departure though. If we want to sign players from further afield then don't be surprised to find that their horizons are broader.
Good well written piece, containing points which I totally understand and accept.

To be fair, I have said in my posts that there were mitigating circumstances to this point and that it's what happens hence forth that will be indicative of intent.

Whilst the backdrop to many of those departures was that LFC was not competing, some situations were also mismanaged, contracts not signed quick enough. Sterling, for example, should have been tied down immediately after the title challenge in 2014 and part of his decision to go was the calamity of the 14/15 season, itself due to mismanaged transfer spending of summer 2014.

In respect of the argument that the broader base of nationalities naturally leads to more transience, clearly this applies to all top clubs and so we need to compare ourselves to what they experience in this regard, if not to this point certainly over the next 5 years.

It's clear that for a decade now, under G&H and FSG, mostly due to LFC not being competitive but still a trend, LFC has lost its best players at the time more often than other top PL clubs.

Other top PL clubs seem to hold players longer and more easily. United have managed to keep De Gea, a Spaniard, from Real Madrid. Chelsea have kept Hazard despite varying levels of club competitiveness, City have never lost anyone of note.

Of course they are stronger financially than ourselves, they pay better wages, they can sign at the top of the market, and sign multiple options to make their squads deep. It's easier for them to guarantee competitiveness.

But we're not that far behind in that sense, that together with Klopp's influence and the allure of LFC as a club, we should experience the continued loss of top players at their peak going forward.

This will be the main test of what FSG's model actually is.

To date the loss of top players has actually been quite convenient for the owners, as it's made a huge contribution to the transfer funds spent improving the squad as a whole, and the support given to the different managers they've tried.

However, going forward from the position we are now in, there is no doubt that keeping our best players through their peak value at 28'ish towards the end of their peak contribution at 31'ish, would yield more trophies than selling them.

Do you believe that sat around the board room table, an offer for Salah or Mane on the table at their peak valuation, the player happy to stay but open to new experiences if the club wishes to let him leave, the club would want to turn that offer down and let the player stay and depreciate in value, despite still contributing on the pitch for 3 or more years thereafter?

From the position we are in as of today, if we do not keep top players beyond that peak valuation over the next half decade, we are clearly a club that willingly sacrifices trophies for the maximisation of financial return on assets.

I know the counter argument will be that players often do want to leave, but I would then still ask the question as to why this is the case more so with LFC than other top clubs.

This brings us into the secondary aspect of what we do to make ourselves competitive, so they will want to stay.

We can't fully assess FSG's intent in this regard to this point, because the loss of those players has netted spend down.

Net spend is relevant, because unless there is really nothing more to do to a squad, it tells you whether the club has decided to live with issues when it could have gone into the transfer market to sort them.

Under Klopp, LFC has spent about £100m net on players, about £33m a year.

Again, to this point the club had been building commercial revenues and investing in infrastructure, so a restricted net spend has been understandable, whilst selling unwanted players of previous regimes along with losing the odd top player, so this netted spend down.

But from this point we can better assess whether the club really intends to move heaven and earth to ensure competitiveness.

As we sit here today we are still a player or two short in the attacking area, we didn't sign that Coutinho replacement and it can be at least considered that we spent the Fekir money on Alisson when we really needed both.

In summary, to this point many factors have made a full and proper assessment of intent and the underlying strategy difficult. We could be merely witnessing a strategy of selling assets at their peak and reinvesting in the next set of appreciating assets, even though that does inevitably impact success on the pitch, as most clubs that win trophies have top players aged 28 to 31. If we never have top players that age, as we've sold them by that point and our top players are back at the 24 to 26 range, we won't see the same trophy return.

Those new top players will be in a CL final for the first time when we get there, not their 2nd or 3rd. They won't have won the title a few times, taking the pressure off and teaching them how to handle the business end of the season.

When the club lets a major asset pass its peak value, yielding a different type of return of sustained success on the pitch, and only then, can we say for sure that the ultimate goal of this football club is every possible success on the pitch.
 



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Perth Red

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Good well written piece, containing points which I totally understand and accept.

To be fair, I have said in my posts that there were mitigating circumstances to this point and that it's what happens hence forth that will be indicative of intent.

Whilst the backdrop to many of those departures was that LFC was not competing, some situations were also mismanaged, contracts not signed quick enough. Sterling, for example, should have been tied down immediately after the title challenge in 2014 and part of his decision to go was the calamity of the 14/15 season, itself due to mismanaged transfer spending of summer 2014.

In respect of the argument that the broader base of nationalities naturally leads to more transience, clearly this applies to all top clubs and so we need to compare ourselves to what they experience in this regard, if not to this point certainly over the next 5 years.

It's clear that for a decade now, under G&H and FSG, mostly due to LFC not being competitive but still a trend, LFC has lost its best players at the time more often than other top PL clubs.

Other top PL clubs seem to hold players longer and more easily. United have managed to keep De Gea, a Spaniard, from Real Madrid. Chelsea have kept Hazard despite varying levels of club competitiveness, City have never lost anyone of note.

Of course they are stronger financially than ourselves, they pay better wages, they can sign at the top of the market, and sign multiple options to make their squads deep. It's easier for them to guarantee competitiveness.

But we're not that far behind in that sense, that together with Klopp's influence and the allure of LFC as a club, we should experience the continued loss of top players at their peak going forward.

This will be the main test of what FSG's model actually is.

To date the loss of top players has actually been quite convenient for the owners, as it's made a huge contribution to the transfer funds spent improving the squad as a whole, and the support given to the different managers they've tried.

However, going forward from the position we are now in, there is no doubt that keeping our best players through their peak value at 28'ish towards the end of their peak contribution at 31'ish, would yield more trophies than selling them.

Do you believe that sat around the board room table, an offer for Salah or Mane on the table at their peak valuation, the player happy to stay but open to new experiences if the club wishes to let him leave, the club would want to turn that offer down and let the player stay and depreciate in value, despite still contributing on the pitch for 3 or more years thereafter?

From the position we are in as of today, if we do not keep top players beyond that peak valuation over the next half decade, we are clearly a club that willingly sacrifices trophies for the maximisation of financial return on assets.

I know the counter argument will be that players often do want to leave, but I would then still ask the question as to why this is the case more so with LFC than other top clubs.

This brings us into the secondary aspect of what we do to make ourselves competitive, so they will want to stay.

We can't fully assess FSG's intent in this regard to this point, because the loss of those players has netted spend down.

Net spend is relevant, because unless there is really nothing more to do to a squad, it tells you whether the club has decided to live with issues when it could have gone into the transfer market to sort them.

Under Klopp, LFC has spent about £100m net on players, about £33m a year.

Again, to this point the club had been building commercial revenues and investing in infrastructure, so a restricted net spend has been understandable, whilst selling unwanted players of previous regimes along with losing the odd top player, so this netted spend down.

But from this point we can better assess whether the club really intends to move heaven and earth to ensure competitiveness.

As we sit here today we are still a player or two short in the attacking area, we didn't sign that Coutinho replacement and it can be at least considered that we spent the Fekir money on Alisson when we really needed both.

In summary, to this point many factors have made a full and proper assessment of intent and the underlying strategy difficult. We could be merely witnessing a strategy of selling assets at their peak and reinvesting in the next set of appreciating assets, even though that does inevitably impact success on the pitch, as most clubs that win trophies have top players aged 28 to 31. If we never have top players that age, as we've sold them by that point and our top players are back at the 24 to 26 range, we won't see the same trophy return.

Those new top players will be in a CL final for the first time when we get there, not their 2nd or 3rd. They won't have won the title a few times, taking the pressure off and teaching them how to handle the business end of the season.

When the club lets a major asset pass its peak value, yielding a different type of return of sustained success on the pitch, and only then, can we say for sure that the ultimate goal of this football club is every possible success on the pitch.
Ultimately the players have to be responsible for their actions. Coutinho, Suarez, Sterling and Torres all WANTED to move. They obviously believed their dreams would be met elsewhere - and probably correctly at the times they were pushing to leave. The difference in the other teams you have mentioned is that they have won trophies etc... whilst their players (Hazard, De Gea etc..) have been at the club. The memories of those wins clearly impacts their decisions to remain where they are.
We have not had that to any extent. Close finishes in the league is about as good as it has been for over a decade. What the Champions League final has done is to show we have the potential to achieve a major trophy win. We were 90 minutes away just a couple of months ago! Salah, Mane and the rest will realise that, with the recent additions, there is a real possibility of being the top dog. That is why I feel that none of them will be looking to leave unless we fall away again.
Pogba, as an example, is apparently already looking to leave Man U despite finishing second last year. Do Man U want him to go? Of course not. Will it stop him. Not a chance. The power of the players is so great now that Owners simply have to make do and mend when a star player moves on. Doesn't make them in it for the money or not trying to build a team full of experience, it's just modern football.
 

Nikola

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https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/spo...liverpool-contract-expiry-mane-sadio-14588306

Not all of them are accurate (Origi is until 2020, Milner as well, Grujić until 2023) but it's indicative that Alexander-Arnold, Robertson and Wijnaldum are most probably the next three Liverpool players to be in line for extensions, while Matip, Clyne and Lallana are probably the next three to leave (not counting Moreno who is as good as gone). Stranger things have happened, of course, but this is how the current team is shaping up to look.