Graeme Souness thinks Liverpool will need another “golden period” of transfer activity to compete with Manchester United and other top clubs.
The Reds have struggled this season with Jurgen Klopp’s side currently eighth in the Premier League table, 12 points behind fourth-placed Man Utd – who occupy the final Champions League spot – and 29 points adrift of leaders Arsenal.
A lot of their troubles have been blamed on their ageing midfield with supporters and pundits pointing out that money should’ve been spent on improving that area of their side over the last two transfer windows.
The £40m signing of forward Cody Gakpo baffled many in January with it being clear that Liverpool were lacking at least one new midfielder.
Speculation that they could move for Jude Bellingham in the summer transfer window had given Liverpool fans hope but respected journalists ruled out that possibility this week.
Klopp also dismissed the idea at his Friday press conference and Souness thinks Liverpool will have to be clever with their recruitment over the next few transfer windows.
Souness wrote in the Daily Mail: “I have never felt that Liverpool would get Jude Bellingham to the club this summer.
“The idea of them pushing the boat out that far for one player didn’t seem logical, given that they need more than one midfield player, in my opinion. And then you have to factor in that the club is up for sale, with the American owners either looking for an investor or a buy-out.
“It will cost north of £100million to buy Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund, which is a lot of money for the potential in a 19-year-old. Liverpool aren’t the only club in the market. Real Madrid have a 37-year-old Luka Modric and a 33-year Toni Kroos in their midfield. From the outside looking in, that’s who Liverpool will be competing with for Bellingham’s signature.
“It was on August 13 that I highlighted, on these pages, why I thought the midfield was the part of the Liverpool team that needed strengthening and my view on that has not changed.
“But I still don’t expect Liverpool to suddenly change course and start spending the kind of money that Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea have spent in recent years. It’s to their immense credit that they have landed a Champions League and Premier League trophy having spent a fraction of what those clubs have laid out.
“Since 2017, United have spent a net £681million in the transfer market, Chelsea have splashed out £723m and City £449m, while Liverpool’s net figure has been £276.83m. There is no better illustration of how Liverpool operate. United and Chelsea have spent around three times more than them and City twice as much.
“From 2018, Liverpool had a golden period of buying players who turned up and performed immediately. Banking £142m from Barcelona for Philippe Coutinho, buying Alisson and Virgil van Dijk and still getting a £40m chunk of change was possibly the best bit of business in the Premier League’s history.
“Can they do the same again? Well, they still have a transfer committee which oversees the purchase of the players they look to bring in. And Jurgen Klopp will still have the final say. They must make some smart moves and will require some of that commodity which everyone needs in football: a large slice of luck.”