By Daniel Moxon – @dmoxon_
We’re only human. If our football team is even so much as linked with a player considered to be one of the best around, we’re going to be pretty damn excited.
And why not? After all, what sane person wouldn’t want to see the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann donning your club’s strip every weekend?
Funnily enough, these are both names that have been linked with moves to Liverpool in the past. Sergio Ramos has been too, but I’d rather see us launch a £100m bid to re-sign Paul Konchesky than bring the Real Madrid skipper to Anfield.
The truth is, however, that life is not the same as FIFA 19 or Football Manager. Simply throwing billions at ‘world-class players’ and expecting them to win you trophies is unrealistic – and foolish.
Look at Manchester United. They scoffed at Liverpool’s £75m deal to sign Virgil van Dijk, while they threw £89m at Paul Pogba. The Dutch defender spends his time denying and frustrating attackers, while Pogba’s biggest contribution to the world remains his invention of ‘the dab’.
Alexis Sanchez is another perfect example. While good at Arsenal, his tag as one of the best around always seemed misleading. He’s since gone out of his way to prove that hypothesis correct since swapping north London for Manchester. Oh well, at least he can play the piano.
You only need to take a look at Liverpool’s Champions League-winning team see that there can be a lot of merit in taking a punt at less-celebrated players in the transfer market, provided they have been scouted extensively and they fit the team’s philosophy.
The starting goalkeeper on the night, Alisson, was arguably the most renowned player of the XI when they first arrived on Merseyside. He was a world-record purchase after impressing at Roma.
Most of those in front of him, though, are here testament to the great work of head of recruitment Dave Fallows and chief scout Barry Hunter. The back four, for example, consisted of an academy graduate, a free signing from Schalke, and domestic signings from Southampton and Hull.
A midfielder from Monaco sat in between a signing from relegated Newcastle and a young Sunderland lad, who happens to captain the Reds.
A Chelsea ‘flop’ is now Liverpool’s star man, while the front three is completed by a Brazilian from Hoffenheim and another Southampton swoop who honed his craft at Metz and RB Salzburg.
While elite clubs across Europe spend their summers begging the biggest names in the sport to sign for them, Fallows and Hunter – along with Jurgen Klopp and Michael Edwards – shrewdly bide their time, assess their options and turn a lesser-known quantity into a global superstar.
This Liverpool team is full of them, and they’ve just won the most prestigious club competition in the world while the likes of Manchester City, Real Madrid, Juventus and PSG didn’t even make the final four.
So, if Klopp and co. decide against signing a Matthijs de Ligt or an Ousmane Dembélé this summer, then don’t panic. They’re simply focused upon building the next team of Champions League winners instead.