According to Liverpool’s former Director of Football Damian Comolli, FSG put such strict limitations on the players he could target, Liverpool’s scouting was effectively solely directed at youngsters.
The Frenchman was sacked in 2012, with our American owners angry at the waste of money spent on the likes of Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam – but Comolli has suggested his hands were tied.
In an exclusive interview with ESPN , Comolli said: “In the spring of 2012, the owners told me that we had a limited spending budget per player of €10 million and we could only sign players who were under 21.
“I said to the scout: ‘Coutinho becomes our priority’ because we were looking for a wide player to replace Dirk Kuyt. He (Coutinho) was not available because they transferred him to Espanyol [on loan] later on.”
“We didn’t even know he was that good – it was difficult to watch him play because he was never playing at Inter. We knew about him, we knew he was good, but it was only when Rafa said he’s going to be world-class.
“When somebody like Rafa says a thing about a player like this, you listen. The head of recruitment said he was the best we could get. But I was sacked, then Kenny (Dalglish) was sacked.”
Of course, this looks very much like Comolli is trying to garner credit for Liverpool signing Coutinho, which we didn’t do until nine months after he was fired…
He did nail it with Luis Suarez of course, and to a lesser but still significant extent with Jordan Henderson, but overall, his tenure cannot be described as entirely successful.
FSG have always prioritised younger players with sell-on value, and we can see this with Jurgen Klopp since the German arrived as well. This summer just gone we brought in Sadio Mane (24), Loris Karius (23), Gini Wijnaldum (25) and Joel Matip (25) as first-teamers, while Ragnar Klavan (31) appears the only real exception to the rule.
This suits Klopp anyway though, so hopefully the formulae can be successful under the German’s guidance.