Liverpool ended the summer transfer window in the black despite spending almost £70m on new recruits in Jurgen Klopp’s first full season at the helm. The German concluded some shrewd business and recouped over £60m from fringe players in the squad.
Eight games into the season, Liverpool lie in second after making a fine start to the season. Their new arrivals have settled in quickly and have played a huge hand in putting Liverpool well and truly in the title race.
Here are the half-term report cards of Liverpool’s summer signings…
Loris Karius – Grade: C
Klopp identified the goalkeeping department as a major area of concern for the Reds which prompted the former Borussia Dortmund manager to complete a £4.5m deal for Mainz goalkeeper, Loris Karius. The young German enjoyed a fine season in the Bundesliga before he made his move to Merseyside.
Bought to challenge Simon Mignolet for the number one jersey at Anfield, his initial progress was halted due to a hand injury which required surgery. He eventually made his debut against Hull City but had little to do in a 5-1 demolition job. Despite conceding against Swansea, he helped keep Liverpool’s first clean sheet of the season against Manchester United.
Karius is still adapting to life in England and looks more assured with the ball at his feet than Mignolet. However, he still looks extremely unconvincing when coming to claim the ball. The two goals he has conceded have both came from set-pieces. Karius still has time on his side but will have to improve his performance levels to retain his spot in between the sticks.
Georginio Wijnaldum – Grade: B
Ex-Newcastle midfielder, Georginio Wijnaldum, was also identified by Klopp as the perfect man to implement his high pressure style of play at Anfield. The Dutch international impressed during his first campaign in England with the Magpies; scoring eleven goals and registering five assists.
Wijnaldum played a variety of positions over the course of last season but has been utilised as a central midfielder under Klopp. He has formed a great partnership with Adam Lallana, who is enjoying the finest season of his Liverpool career, in the centre of the park and has been a vital player so far.
Most of his work may go unnoticed but Wijnaldum has made a solid start to his Liverpool career. The 25-year-old, who missed the clash with Manchester United through injury, has completed 86% of his passes this season and has helped his side defensively winning 60% of his duels. He has already registered two assists and created 13 chances for his team-mates.
Sadio Mane – Grade: A*
Southampton to Liverpool has become a well-trodden path over the last few years with as much as six other players leaving St. Marys to Anfield. Sadio Mane established himself as a top Premier League player following his move from Red Bull Salzberg which encouraged Liverpool to spend £34m to acquire his services.
Mane has made a blistering start to life on Merseyside and has arguably been the signing of the season so far. The Senegalese winger has injected much-needed pace to Liverpool’s team and has formed a formidable attacking trio alongside Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino. Mane can operate across all three positions in the front line but has been most effective on the right side of the offensive three.
He has scored four goals in eight appearances and has also registered two assists already this season; including a sensational solo strike in the 4-3 win over Arsenal. Mane is a defender’s nightmare and has completed an average of three take-ons per game this season which has helped Liverpool reach the top of the Premier League scoring charts this season.
Joel Matip – Grade: A
Much has been made of Liverpool’s attacking threat this season but the addition of Joel Matip has also helped the Reds become much stronger defensively. Matip arrived from Schalke on a free transfer after racking up over 250 appearances in the Bundesliga. He was reportedly on Klopp’s radar at Dortmund and the German jumped at the chance to bring him to England.
The Cameroonian international oozes class and a partnership is starting to blossom with Dejan Lovren. He has settled seamlessly into the side and has delivered assured performances in all seven of his appearances this season. Standing a commanding six feet three inches tall, Matip has won 64% of his aerial duels and also has a tackling success rate of 64%.
The 25-year-old has also helped his side start attacks from the back and looks extremely calm on the ball. He can pass with either foot and boasts a passing accuracy of 87%. In a summer window where Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea all spent over £30m on centre-backs, Liverpool may have got the pick of the bunch for absolutely nothing.
Ragnar Klavan – Grade: C
Due to the form of Matip and Lovren, ex-Augsburg defender, Ragnar Klavan, has found first-team opportunities limited since his move from Germany. He made his debut against Arsenal and played well despite conceding three goals. Klavan also played in the 2-0 defeat against Burnley and the 5-1 win over Hull. Klavan lacks the quality to win a place in the starting eleven but is more than adequate to provide backup.
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