Liverpool legend believes club can challenge for title despite prudent spending

SoccerBy John Aldridge
Liverpool legend believes club can challenge for title despite prudent spending

The Premier League’s big hitters have splashed the cash like never before this summer - so it was a little surprising to see Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp ending up in profit on his transfer trading after deadline day.

Klopp's lack of overall spending was one of the more eye-catching statistics that emerged last week, yet I would not hit the panic button just yet or accuse the club of being tight.

I feel Liverpool have come out of the transfer window with a better squad in terms of quality, with a lot of deadwood out of the club - and not before time.

That said, you have to say the players they signed were on the B-list and not the marquee names the Manchester clubs and Chelsea were able to bring in.

Some have concluded that Liv­erpool are in danger of being left behind in the spending race but I wonder whether if there may be a bigger picture in play here.

One view on the current situation is that investment may be coming in from overseas that will allow Liver­pool to join the big spending league sooner rather than later.

Or maybe Klopp and the Liver­pool directors are biding their time and hoping this squad will be good enough to secure a top-four finish and then they will splash the cash next summer.

Whatever the plan is, there is a feel­ing that Liverpool have been blown away after a few weeks that has seen Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Luiz and plenty more arrive in the Premier League.

The Manchester clubs and Chelsea are working with entirely different wage structures compared to the rest of their rivals and at some stage, Liv­erpool may have to join that madness to keep up.

Klopp could produce a miracle or two and get Liverpool into a position to challenge for the title this season but the bar is being set increasingly high when your rivals pay more for players and offer bigger wages.

I don't like the idea that a football­er is being paid £300,000-a-week any more than you do, but this is the way the game has gone and we have to accept it.

Clubs that don't hand over the cra­zy sums in transfer fees and wages could find themselves battling it out for fourth every year if United, City and Chelsea keep spending as they have done of late.

Liverpool Football Club still has a big enough name around the world and has a manager with enough gravitas to attract the best players if they come calling.

Yet you don't want to get into a situation where Liverpool go for a player and offer their top wages, which is £100,000 off what United or City will pay.

My hope is that Liverpool get back into the Champions League for next season and then start to throw mon­ey around to prove they are ready to match the Premier League's big spenders.

After all, by the time Klopp starts looking for transfer targets next summer, fresh investment may be bolstering his kitty and Liverpool could have the cherry of Champions League football to offer.

So despite the lack of excitement created by Liverpool in the transfer market, I remain confident that they have a team capable of challenging.

Sadio Mane is a great addition, while they have strengthened their backline with the arrival of keeper Loris Karius and Joel Matip.

This Liverpool squad has a lot of quality and as they have shown in flashes both this season and last season, they can tear anyone apart when they click into top gear.

However, we have also seen some alarming inconsistency, with the shock defeat at Burnley the latest performance that left you wondering what the team can really achieve.

In truth, the jury remains out on Klopp and his new team right now, but there is one massive factor that will be in their favour over the course of the next few months.

The last few days saw Leices­ter, Arsenal, Man City, Tottenham, Man United and Southampton in European action, while Klopp and his players had time to prepare for tonight's Premier League game at Chelsea.

As we have seen in the last few years, the extra time between games can be a massive advantage for any team, with Liverpool coming so close to winning the title when they were out of Europe in 2014.

Leicester went one better by ac­tually winning the league last year, with the big gaps they had between games decisive in helping them to keep their key players fit.

Liverpool will now have extra time on the training ground to work on tactics and player development and it should mean that the Reds have a fresh, well-drilled team on display for Premier League matches.

We were told when Klopp arrived that he had a skill for turning average players into great talents and that's what good managers should do.

It's easy to get sucked into the idea that football is a numbers game now and all that matters is how much you spend in each transfer window and how many players you have on £200,000-a-week or more.

Offering up ridiculous money on proven players is a quick-fire route to success and in reality, it will work more often than Liverpool's more prudent plan to work their way back to the top.

Yet Leicester's example from last season confirms that spending big money is not the only way to realise your dreams in this game, even in an era when a handful of clubs seem to have all the aces stacked into their hand.

We will find out at the end of this season if the three clubs that have caused a stir in the transfer market this summer are at the top of the tree.

Yet with 34 games left to play in this term, there is every reason for the rest to believe they can defy the odds and stop them in their attempt­ed Premier League takeover.