Jürgen Klopp has been Liverpool manager for more than five years now, and has had 10 transfer windows to play with.
In that time, he has taken an underachieving squad which had too many weak links and turned it into a world-beating outfit of global superstars.
He and his coaching staff have done a superb job of nurturing these players into the serial winners they are today, but credit must also go to the recruitment and scouting team for uncovering some real gems – especially sporting director Michael Edwards and chief scout Barry Hunter.
To look at how they work, we’ve compiled a list of every major signing the club has made since Klopp took over as manager back in October 2015, and organised them on the map below by where Liverpool bought them from.
As you can see, the majority of the players brought in over the last five years were either already playing in England, or had been plying their trade in the Bundesliga.
It’s not surprise that a lot of the Reds shopping is done in Germany – Klopp obviously spent decades there as a player and a manager and will have cultivated a number of strong relationships and useful contacts.
Furthermore, the Bundesliga is probably the most similar to the Premier League in terms of footballing culture, compared to the other major European leagues, so – in theory – it will be easier for players who make the switch to England from Germany to settle in and hit the ground running.
In fact, from the map you can see that the vast majority of new signings sourced on the continent were playing in central Europe at the time – mostly in Germany, but with a couple from surrounding areas in Austria and the Netherlands.
Interestingly, the map shows that the Reds’ recruitment team has chosen largely not to shop in what would be defined as western Europe. Fabinho (Monaco) is the only player who has arrived at Anfield directly from the French league, while not once has a player been recruited from either Spain or Portugal during the last five years.
Considering the strength of the Spanish league and the quality of talent brought through in Portugal – especially at the bigger clubs like Porto, Benfica and Sporting – this is surprising. Liverpool have been linked with a whole host of ‘targets’ playing in these leagues, but none of the stories have ever been concrete.Embed from Getty Images
It makes you wonder if any of those so-called targets were ever on the club’s shortlist in reality. Bruno Fernandes, for example, was long tipped to join the Reds from Sporting, but this never materialised and instead he went to Manchester United – presumably because they promised him 20 penalties per season.
But it also makes you wonder why exactly it is that Liverpool haven’t shopped on the Iberian Peninsula in such a long time.
Is it because, as speculated earlier, the school of thought at the club is that those already in the UK or in Germany will adapt quicker? Does Klopp not like the style of play that the players in the Spanish, French and Portuguese leagues are accustomed to? Or does the scouting team simply have little presence in that region?
Could it be that the much slower tempo of the football in Portugal and Spain makes players there a less attractive proposition for a manager and a team who love to play fast football?
Whatever the case, it is intriguing – let’s just hope that Liverpool’s selective shopping habits don’t cause them to miss out on a bargain.
Explore our interactive map of every major Liverpool signing since Klopp joined the Reds below.
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