Are Klopp’s Liverpool really plucky underachievers? (Picture: EPA)Liverpool’s run in the Champions League has been superb. They’re an excellent team and Jurgen Klopp deserves immense credit for the remarkable job he’s done.
But can we please, please stop the narrative that they’re somehow these great overachieving underdogs?
Some of the hot takes on the matter have described the Reds as not ‘super wealthy’ – the same team who just dropped £75million on a centre-back in January.
On what planet are we living, people?!
Liverpool starting XI v Roma rough cost
Loris Karius – £5mAlexander-Arnold – FreeVan Dijk – £75mLovren – £20mRobertson – £8mOxlade-Chamberlain – £35mMilner – FreeHenderson – £20mSalah – £37mFirmino – £36mMane – £34m
Their starting XI against Roma cost £270m in transfer fees. That’s without factoring in the likes of Georgino Wijnaldum (£25m), Adam Lallana (£27m), Nathaniel Clyne (£16m), Alberto Moreno (£16m) and incoming summer arrival Naby Keita, whose fee could end up being around £59m. Not to mention some horrible spending over the past five years on Christian Benteke (£32m), Lazar Markovic (£22m), Mario Balotelli (£18m), Mamadou Sakho (£17m) and Joe Allen (£17m).
Sure, you can make the argument that they’ve maybe not spent quite as much as some of the heftiest spenders in European football, but how many of those have they faced on this wonderful cup run?
Klopp signed Salah in the summer (Picture: REUTERS)Their group opponents included Sevilla, who have never spent £20m on a single player, Spartak Moscow, whose transfer record stands at £10.9m and, of course, Maribor, whose combined summer transfer spend was £90,000.
Similarly to Sevilla, Liverpool’s first knockout opponents Porto have never spent more than £20m on one player, while Roma have just once since 2001.
We all know about the exorbitant fees Manchester City have spent over the past few years, but they’re still relatively new to this competition – reaching the semi-finals just once in their history. Were they really the great white shark in the competition?
Guardiola’s spending has been ridiculous (Picture: AP)
Man City sarting XI v Liverpool rough cost
Ederson – £36mWalker – £50mOtamendi – £40mLaporte – £58mFernandinho – £34mDe Bruyne – £68mSilva – £26mSterling – £49mGundogan – £24mJesus – £28mSane – £45m
Regardless, Manchester City are an exceptional case – few can compete with them financially.
For a more realistic comparison, let’s take a look at Real Madrid.
Their starting XI in the first leg of their quarter-final against Juventus cost roughly £250m. Some £20m less than Liverpool’s.
Liverpool have spent comparatively to Real Madrid (Picture: AFP/Getty)
Real Madrid XI v Juventus rough cost
Total – £250m
Even if you started Gareth Bale (£89m) over Isco, the two sides still would be very much comparable in terms of transfer spend. Perhaps we should start claiming their journey to back-to-back Champions League wins was the greatest underdog story of all time.
Of course, wages and stature have always been important to Real’s recruiting process, but as five-time European champions, Liverpool are hardly short on the stature front, while the likes of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson, Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk are all on more than £100,000-a-week.
We’re hardly talking about a cash-strapped team here…
Klopp has had his fair share of dosh (Picture: AP)In domestic terms, Liverpool have the fourth-highest wage bill in the richest league in the world.
Of the current 20 Premier League teams, only 10 clubs have broken the £20m mark and only six have spent more than £30m. Liverpool have bought seven players for more than £30m in the past two seasons…
Yes, we should celebrate their achievements. Yes, they have spent less than Manchester City (who hasn’t?!). But please, please, don’t try and frame them as plucky, financially weak overachievers.
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