Klopp 'not surprised' by Elliott display for Liverpool in win
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Liverpool have had an understated summer transfer window and with just four days left until the deadline, Jurgen Klopp’s side appear unlikely to break from their strategy to line up a dramatic late signing – and with good reason.
Ibrahima Konate’s £36million move from RB Leipzig remains Liverpool’s only major addition, 91 days since it was first announced.
The Reds had dire need for a new centre-back, so they secured the services of a highly-rated young talent early on so that Klopp could get to work in pre-season with no uncertainty surrounding his playing squad.
With Konate in the ranks and Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip back from injury, Liverpool knew exactly what they were doing ahead of the 2021/22 season.
It has shown so far, with comprehensive wins over Norwich and Burnley in their opening two Premier League games.
Greater tests are to come, of course, but their cohesion in the early stages of the campaign shows the benefit of standing still while your rivals are making moves.
All that is left to do in the transfer window is try and sell the fringe players.
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Decent fees for Harry Wilson, Marko Grujic, Xherdan Shaqiri and Taiwo Awoniyi have already been secured and Nat Phillips, Neco Williams, Loris Karius and Divock Origi could yet follow in their footsteps, if suitable offers arrive.
While not flashy work, those departures would represent steady work for Liverpool’s hierarchy because they are already building towards the future – and future transfer windows.
Liverpool have an extremely settled squad of players, most of whom have been together for several years now. That is due, in part, to their success in recent years, but also to the club’s recruitment policy of targeting younger players.
While they have been reserved in recent windows, the ages of players at the time of arrival paint a picture.
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Konate (22), Diogo Jota (23), Kostas Tsimikas (24), Takumi Minamino (24), Sepp van den Berg (17), Alisson (25), Fabinho (24), Naby Keita (23) and Shaqiri (26) are the players to have arrived on permanent transfers for a fee in the past three years at Anfield.
Only Thiago Alcantara (29) – a world-class player available for an opportunistic cut-price transfer – breaks the mould over that period.
That looks set to continue, with the Liverpool Echo reporting that Ajax’s Ryan Gravenberch remains on the club’s radar for a transfer in summer 2022.
Klopp has already shown he is a good manager for young players, with Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones and Kaide Gordon to be given opportunities to follow Trent Alexander-Arnold’s pathway in the first-team.
Having broken through at Ajax, Gravenberch would surely be tempted with a move to Liverpool next summer, once he has another year of football under his belt.
The 19-year-old central midfielder has received a brilliant education in the Dutch capital and could inherit Gini Wijnaldum’s vacant box-to-box role at Liverpool.
Gravenberch is currently under contract with Ajax until June 2023, meaning that unless he signs another deal this season, he would be available for a reasonable fee next summer.
With Michael Edwards and his team working hard on identifying targets, you can bet Gravenberch will be one of many names on the club’s shortlist.
Liverpool are playing the long game in the transfer market. Their rivals may be grabbing the headlines this summer, but Klopp could well have the last laugh in 12 months time.
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