This is not a knee-jerk reaction to watching Liverpool fail to score for 330 minutes.
It’s not a declaration that the board isn’t financially backing managers either.
What it is, I hope, is some blatantly obvious analysis that Liverpool’s recent recruitment has targeted the completely wrong kind of player.
Below, I’ve listed Liverpool’s current squad (not including those shipped out loan) and which club each player arrived from.
The players in bold are the ones that were signed from clubs Liverpool should be considering as a Premier League or European rival. So PSG are in bold for example, but Sunderland are not.
Of the 24 first-team squad players who were signed from different clubs and not homegrown, only seven were signed from ‘rivals’. However, the fact we acquired Kolo Toure and James Milner on free transfers from Manchester City means we’ve paid a transfer fee for a ‘rival’ player on just five occasions.
The rest of the squad, 17 in total, were signed from clubs without our history, below our pedigree and bereft of our ambition – but for top level prices.
There is currently £57m worth of former Southampton players in our squad, and a £32.5m ex-Aston Villa forward. There is £32m worth of former Sunderland players and a £15m ex-Swansea man.
That’s £136.5m on players from clubs who could theoretically battle relegation every season.
Check out the list here for yourself…
Simon Mignolet – Sunderland
Adam Bogdan – Bolton
Nathaniel Clyne – Southampton
Jose Enrique – Newcastle
Alberto Moreno – Sevilla
Joe Gomez – Charlton
Kolo Toure – Manchester City
Mamadou Sakho – PSG
Dejan Lovren – Southampton
Martin Skrtel – Zenit St. Petersburg
Tiago Ilori – Sporting Lisbon
Steven Caulker – QPR
Lucas – Gremio
Emre Can – Bayer Leverkusen
Joe Allen – Swansea
Jordan Henderson – Sunderland
Adam Lallana – Southampton
James Milner – Manchester City
Coutinho – Inter Milan
Danny Ings – Burnley
Daniel Sturridge – Chelsea
Christian Benteke – Aston Villa
Divock Origi – Lille
Roberto Firmino – Hoffenheim
Homegrown (including those we purchased as youth team players): Danny Ward, Jon Flanagan, Cameron Brannagan, Jordon Ibe, Kevin Stewart, Ryan Kent, Jack Dunn, Ryan McLaughlin, Brad Smith, Jordan Rossiter, Jerome Sinclair, Sheyi Ojo, Connor Randall, Joe Maguire, Ryan Cleary, Pedro Chirivella, Joao Teixeira,
Fans can bicker about whether Zenit or Bayer Leverkusen should be considered European rivals, but the point stands: the majority of Liverpool’s squad is made up of expensive mid-table footballers.
And it’s no real surprise that our best players (when fit…) Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge, signed from Inter Milan and Chelsea – two huge European clubs. Both had played Champions League football before their arrival. The other three signed from rivals – Alberto Moreno, Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho incite debate – but would all be included in nearly ever fan’s ‘strongest Liverpool XI’ right now.
Instead of targeting fewer players of higher pedigree though, we’ve broke the bank for a number of average ones.
A fully fit Liverpool side, with Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge and the sometimes impressive Roberto Firmino – could mount a realistic challenge for the top four – but these three have never once been on the pitch together this season due to injuries.
And while injuries certainly explain much of our problems this season, our recruitment explains the rest. Without Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge – we’re a mid-table side dressed up in Liverpool shirts.
The hefty price-tag and Liverbird sadly doesn’t change the DNA of Mignolet, Lovren, Lallana, Benteke and the rest. It’s no surprise Liverpool are struggling to win matches. Klopp doesn’t have a squad of winners from which to choose from.