Liverpool have become the club to beat at home and in Europe in 2019/20. A huge part of that is down to Jurgen Klopp, but the manager has been backed by incredible behind the scenes work that has assembled the best squad in the Reds’ rich history.
Sporting director Michael Edwards has been the man responsible for overseeing recruitment at Liverpool since the final few months of 2015. Edwards was initially chief performance analyst who joined the club in 2011, but became technical director in August 2015 and was promoted to a more all-encompassing sporting director job title in November 2016.
Here’s a look at every Edwards signing at Liverpool, ranked from worst to best.
18. Loris Karius – £4m
The Anfield career of Loris Karius has become infamous. The German goalkeeper arrived from Klopp’s former club Mainz and was tipped to be long-term number one. Yet a string of errors, the most high profile of which came in the 2018 Champions League final, saw him shipped out.
17. Marko Grujic – £5.1m
Bought from Red Star Belgrade in January 2016 off the back of star performances at the 2015 Under-20 World Cup, Marko Grujic was Liverpool’s first signing after Edwards was promoted to the role of technical director. It remains one of the biggest misses of the current regime.
Sell for a big future profit, however, and this one can be looked back on favourably.
16. Alex Manninger – Free
Alex Manninger joined Liverpool in the summer of 2016 after briefly training with the Reds as a free agent. As a veteran third choice goalkeeper, the former Arsenal stopper was never actually called into action and didn’t play a single first-team game for the club.
15. Adrian – Free
Spanish goalkeeper Adrian probably wasn’t expecting to feature as much as he has done since joining Liverpool as a free agent in the summer of 2019. He was briefly a UEFA Super Cup hero, but Reds fans collectively breathed a sigh of relief when Alisson returned to fitness.
14. Ragnar Klavan £4.2m
Estonian centre-back Ragnar Klavan served a purpose but little more during two years at Liverpool. He was a budget signing from Augsburg in Germany and was largely back-up in ordinary circumstances, playing 53 games before being sold to Cagliari for £2m.
13. Dominic Solanke – £3m
Liverpool landed former youth prodigy Dominic Solanke when his Chelsea contract expired in 2017, paying minimal compensation. The youngster failed to deliver, scoring only once in 27 appearances, although his considerable upside was that the Reds still sold him for vast profit.
12. Naby Keita – £53m
Expectations were high when Naby Keita arrived at Anfield, based on a combination of his reputation in Germany, the year spent waiting for the deal to be registered and his inheritance of Steven Gerrard’s old shirt. Fitness problems have largely hindered him.
11. Xherdan Shaqiri – £13.5m
Xherdan Shaqiri has been the ultimate squad rotation player for Liverpool, someone they picked up for a relative bargain fee when former club Stoke were relegated, but mostly a substitute. Injuries have affected the Swiss international in his second season.
10. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain £35m
Through no fault of his own, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has underwhelmed when considering the price Liverpool paid to buy him in 2017. Even fully fit in his debut season at Anfield, the England midfielder only started around half of Liverpool’s games.
Is still an important squad player, however, and has scored some crucial goals.
9. Joel Matip – Free
Even with a rather patchy injury record, Joel Matip has provided Liverpool with incredible value since 2016 following his free transfer from Schalke. When fit, the former Cameroon international is arguably among the very best centre-backs in the Premier League.
8. Takumi Minamino – £7.25m
It is almost impossible to judge Takumi Minamino before his transfer has even been officially registered, but the Japanese international already looks like the perfect Klopp player. Even if he isn’t a hit, his bargain price should ensure Liverpool can still make a profit if they sell.
7. Georginio Wijnaldum – £25m
Liverpool paid a premium price of £25m for Newcastle’s best player in the summer of 2016 and have been rewarded with a key player. Georginio Wijnaldum is one of the first names on the team sheet, while his famous Champions League brace against Barcelona made him a cult hero.
6. Alisson Becker – £67m
Briefly the world’s most expensive goalkeeper in 2018, Alisson’s importance to Liverpool was underlined by a strong start to his debut season, but equally by how much he was missed during his calf injury absence early in 2019/20.
5. Fabinho – £39m
Fabinho was allowed extra time to settle when he first arrived from Monaco in 2018 and it paid off big time when the Brazilian finally did become a regular part of the team after a few months. It is arguably the position he plays that has made Liverpool even better this season than last.
4. Andrew Robertson – £10m
Looking back now, it feels somewhat bizarre to think that Andrew Robertson initially struggled to command a place. It wasn’t until midway through 2017/18 that he managed to get ahead of Alberto Moreno in the pecking order. Now, he’s genuinely world class.
3. Sadio Mane – £34m
Sadio Mane has got better and better with each passing year at Liverpool. Last season, the electrifying Senegalese winger took a share in the Premier League Golden Boot and it often appears that he is the Reds player most likely to make a decisive impact in a tight spot.
2. Mohamed Salah – £37m
There was a lot pressure on Mohamed Salah to succeed at Liverpool, having become the club’s record signing and returning to the Premier League where he had previously failed to thrive with Chelsea. But he has set all kinds of Liverpool goalscoring records and is already an icon.
1. Virgil van Dijk – £75m
Virgil van Dijk was the most critical piece in the Liverpool jigsaw when his world record transfer from Southampton was completed in January 2018. The Dutch centre-back has added enormous quality and defensive leadership that is otherwise missing without him.