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John Aldridge – Why Liverpool need to sell out to stay in touch

Stinking-rich benefactor is what’s needed now for ’pool to compete

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Getty Images© Getty Images

Becker has been kept really busy this season© Offside via Getty Images

Ibrahima Konate looked like he was suffering from a World Cup hangover in the 3-1 defeat at Brentford© Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp© Offside via Getty Images

John AldridgeSunday World

Everyone can now see why Liverpool’s owners have decided the time is right to sell the club.

Last Monday’s defeat at Brentford was a low point in this season for Jurgen Klopp and his players, but those of us who love Liverpool are not surprised by setbacks at this stage.

Look at the stats for this season’s Premier League – and Liverpool are in 16th place for clean sheets, with just four all season.

This is in a campaign when goalkeeper Alisson Becker has been Klopp’s best player, and that is only the start of the damning statistics.

Alisson has been making an average of 3.4 big saves per game, putting him in fifth place in that table for the season, in another sign that he has been too busy.

Liverpool were letting in an average of 0.68 goals per game in the Premier League last season, with that number doubling to 1.29 per match this campaign.

That number is even more alarming in away matches, where they are conceding 1.63 goals per game compared to 0.83 last season.

They are also conceding the first goal far too often – and while their forwards can dig them out of games with moments of magic, the consistency you need to win trophies is absent when you are working with those stats.

Ibrahima Konate has been struggling© Getty Images

When you look at Ibrahima Konate’s horrible performance at Brentford, you could argue the defence is the problem area.

Konate is a fine player, but he looked like he was having some kind of World Cup hangover after missing out in the final with France last month because he was dreadful on Monday night.

Kostas Tsimikas also had his worst game for Liverpool at Brentford, but we need to remember Thomas Frank’s side are very good at what they do.

He has them playing an updated version of Wimbledon 1980s-style football, and they have given both Manchester clubs and Tottenham hard times this season.

Brentford are a nightmare to play against, and they took advantage of Liverpool’s weak spots very well, in what ended up being an embarrassing night for Klopp and his team.

I said in my Sunday World column last week that the midfield was the problem in this team now, as they are collectively reaching the end of their careers, and it is destabilising the team.

Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho have been great players, but they are getting over-run too often, and that’s why I wasn’t surprised by what we saw at Brentford.

It has been clear throughout this season that Klopp needs to spend £200million to revamp the engine room of his team, and I’m sure the owners know that.

We could see the problems once again in Saturday’s night’s FA Cup draw against Wolves at Anfield.

This is why they have opted to put the club up for sale.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: PA/Reuters© PA

Regular readers of my column might be surprised by what I am about to write next, but I feel the moment has come to get big-money investment in from the Middle East and take on Man City, Chelsea and Newcastle at their own game.

I hate how clubs like City and Chelsea have gone about buying a place at the top table of the game, using what many people consider to be dubious tactics.

We all know that City and Chelsea have been bending the Financial Fair Play rules for years by coming up with sponsorship deals with companies linked to their owners, but it seems like there is nothing football can do to stop them, so that leaves you with only one option.

Either you get left behind or you join them with the big-money owners. If clubs like Liverpool and United get the big investment, they could put what I call the plastic clubs in the shade.

The only reason top players have joined Chelsea, City and now Newcastle is because they are being offered silly money.

Clear

If truly big clubs like Liverpool and Man United had the same cash to offer them, I’m sure those players would rather play for clubs with a history and tradition the newcomers can never buy.

So, I can see a scenario in 2023 where both Liverpool and United are bought by Saudi Arabian or UAE investors who could change the game’s landscape all over again.

Fenway Sports Group have been good owners for Liverpool, and the success Klopp has enjoyed during his time as manager confirms that, but they are never going to be able to finance deals to sign players like Jude Bellingham or Kylian Mbappe when Man City, Chelsea and PSG are prepared to offer crazy money to get whoever they want.

These days, football is all about going where the money takes you, and that’s why Liverpool’s owners know they cannot take the club forward from this point.

If they are not in next season’s Champions League, the club’s value will start to slide. This is why the current owners have decided the time is right to get out.


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