For the season of 2017/18, Klopp made 4 signings in the summer and added another recruit during the winter transfer window.
Salah was Klopp’s major signing for the summer, while van Djik’s arrival in January ended months of speculation. Following a season’s worth of action, here’s the final assesment and ratings for each of Klopp’ recruits.
Although he was at that point in time the Reds’ most expensive recruit, Mohamed Salah’s transfer from Roma to Liverpool was met with little fanfare. While he’d a decent season at Roma, there were question marks over his ability to perform in a more physical league. After all, he was deemed a failure at Chelsea, making just 19 appearances and scoring 2 goals in all competitions before being farmed out to Fiorentina.
How wrong we were to ever doubt him.
A debut goal in his first game against Watford marked the start of his explosive season. Goals were flowing freely from the Egyptian forward, with him seemingly scoring for fun in every game. Records were re-written, and opposition after opposition were blown away by his brilliance. Tap-ins, headers, curlers and mazy dribbles, there was nothing the Egyptian King couldn’t do.
By the time the dust had settled, Mo had scored 44 goals in all competitions, with still the Champions League final left to play. In the process, he set a new Premier League record of 32 league goals in a season, resulting in him winning the Golden Boot. His brilliance was rightly recognised by the club, with him picking up the Standard Chatered Player of the Month award seven times and named Liverpool’s Player of the Season. Adding to his individual accolades were the PFA and FWA Player of the Year awards.
To describe his season is simply impossible due to the heights he hit. No doubt the most important signing of the Klopp era.
Snapped up on a free transfer, the ex-Chelsea youngster was one for the future. Following Origi’s and Sturridge’s departure, the youngster acted as backup to main striker Firmino. In total, Solanke made 25 appearances in all competitions with 5 being starts, including a start in theMerseyside derby.
Despite showing flashes of brilliance, there’s still much work needed in terms of him holding the ball and building play. Too many times fans are left frustrated by his annonymous showings in games. Also, there’s a major need to improve his eye for goal in order to serve as Firmino’s deputy. In fact, he netted his first goal for Liverpool only on the final game of the season against Brighton.
In a nutshell, Solanke wasn’t the most spectacular of signings and more is expected of him next season.
A summer recruit that divided opinion, the Ox joined the Reds for a fee of £35 million. Given his performances at his old club Arsenal and the fact that he only had 1 year left on his contract, many fans questioned the need to splash the cash. An aweful debut against Manchester City followed by a series of lacklustre performances left more questions than answers.
Klopp though clearly saw something in the former Southamptom player, stating that he needed more time to adjust to Liverpool’s play style. Indeed after a bedding in period, Oxlade-Chamberlain emerged as a key player. His importance to the team only increased when Can got himself injured.
In the German’s absence, Ox would be one of the first names on the team sheet. Impressive performances in the Champions League helped the Reds progress further in the competition and highlighted his importance. Unfortunately, his season and World Cup dreams were cruelly ended after suffering a knee ligament damage against Roma in the 2nd leg.
Despite not being able to feature for the Reds for the latter part of the campaign, Oxlade-Chamberlain has proven himself to be a key signing for the Reds. Hopefully he returns from injury as strong as ever.
Another Klopp signing that was met with little enthusiasm, Robertson joined up the Reds from Hull City. The lack of enthusiasm could partly be attributed to the measly £8 million transfer fee, and the fact he came from a relegated club. The first few months of his Liverpool career mirrored that of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s, with him finding it difficult to supplant the resurgent Moreno. In fact, he was left out of the matchday squad entirely on a few occassions. That all change when Moreno suffered an injury against Sevilla, and Robertson has not looked back since.
An energetic presence on the left flank, the Scott was well known for his marauding runs into the final third. Combining this with his excellent crossing made him a useful attacking asset, with him chipping in a goal and 5 assists. Unlike Moreno, Robertson is able to perform his role as a defensive player, making an average of 1.4 tackles per game. His desire to win the ball back at all cost won the hearts of many fans, with his lung bursting press against Man City in January remaining a highlight of the season.
For such a low sum of money, Robertson is right up there as one of the bargains of the season. Judging by his displays thus far, Liverpool’s left back condrum looks to be well and truly solved for the next couple of years.
Virgil van Djik
After months of speculation, the giant Dutchman sealed his dream move to Anfield in January. At £75 million, his transfer made him the most expensive defender of all time, as well as being Liverpool’s most expensive player. As a result, there was pressure for him to perform instantly.
Things couldn’t have gotten off to a better start, with the Dutchman netting the winner against the Merseyside derby in the FA Cup. As the season progressed, he quickly became an intergral part of the Liverpool defence. His calmness and leadership qualities helped settle a shaky back four. In fact since his debut, Liverpool have conceded the fewest amount of goals in the league, 9 tied with Manchester City. That is a huge improvement, considering Liverpool had the sixth worst defence in the league prior to his arrival. Due to his contributions, Liverpool finished the campaign with only 38 goals conceded, the best defensive record since 2010.
Besides his defensive capabilities, his ball playing skills are a useful asset to Klopp’s side. Being able to play out of the back gave the team more opportunities and allowed the likes of Mane and Salah to run in behind defenders. Statistically speaking, his pass completion of 89% is astounding considering the number of high risk forward passes he plays from the back. With teams more often than not parking the bus against Liverpool, van Djik is a vital weapon to the Reds’ attack.
Finally, his ability to improve the players around him is another important feature of his. The much maligned Lovren is playing his best football yet in a Red shirt. Karius is another to benefit from van Djik’s presence, with him looking more assured between the sticks. As a collective unit, the Reds defence is at it’s strongest and it’s mostly down to van Djik’s influence.
For one player to have such a profound impact on the team speaks volume of his importance to the squad. People may have ridiculed at the sums paid to acquire his services initally, but that £75 million is starting to look like a bargain as the days past. A complete defender, he’s worth every penny and he looks to be a mainstay for the years to come. Another of Klopp’s signing that looks to be spot on.