Liverpool icon Jamie Carragher has laid into his former club for their recent transfer business, claiming most Reds fans “would have willingly accepted” the outlay on attacker Cody Gakpo being “kept back” to push the boat out on Jude Bellingham instead.
The Reds have had a disastrous season by their standards with Jurgen Klopp’s side currently eighth in the Premier League, nine points adrift of fourth-placed Newcastle United– who occupy the crucial final Champions League spot – and a whopping 27 points behind leaders Arsenal.
Their detrimental season has been made even more perplexing by the fact that they were two games away from a historic Quadruple last season.
Klopp’s midfield has received much of the criticism, with sturdy regulars from past seasons appearing the shadow of their best selves.
Liverpool were said to be willing to pay much for Borussia Dortmund’s Bellingham in the summer transfer window after failing to sign any new regular midfielders last summer.
After tracking the Borussia Dortmund star for two years and launching a big charm offensive, the Reds looked to have positioned themselves as the main candidates to sign him.
Reports last week, however, suggested that Liverpool were set to realign their radars on alternative targets given the cost involved in signing Bellingham, coupled with their need to restructure their midfield nearly completely in the summer.
Manager Jurgen Klopp later confirmed in his press conference that they are now firmly out of the race for Bellingham, and won’t be pursuing a deal for the England international.
And Carragher has grown frustrated with the club’s current transfer policy, despite previously praising Liverpool for their excellent recruitment.
In his column for the Daily Telegraph, Carragher wrote: “Liverpool have spent over £200 million on strikers, and given Mohamed Salah a massive new contract, since they last bought a first-choice central midfielder.
“Those deals were necessary as Roberto Firmino was declining, and good money was recouped for 30-year-old Sadio Mane.
“Then Cody Gakpo signed for £40 million in January, even though the side was crying out for more midfield energy. Gakpo has made a promising start. I like him. But now it is even more baffling that another striker was prioritised.
“Most supporters would have willingly accepted the Gakpo outlay being kept back to turn a £90 million Bellingham bid into a £130 million signing.
“This is the first time I have openly questioned Liverpool’s transfer policy during the Klopp era.
“I get that Liverpool cannot spend like Manchester City, and they are not and should never be like Chelsea, who seem to sign highly rated, mega-expensive players on a whim without any idea how or where they will fit into the team and manager’s vision.
“But it is on the club to think long-term, recognising at least a year in advance where the team will need reinforcing, and there are moments when pushing the boat out to do what is necessary to lure a generational talent is the way to propel a side to the next level.
“Liverpool did so with Van Dijk and Alisson, and a similar statement with Bellingham would have transformed expectations going into next season.”
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