Liverpool train ahead of Champions League Final
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Liverpool face Real Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday night and their run in the competition owes a lot to their successes in the transfer window. Jurgen Klopp’s side have needed every single player in their squad this season, with their impressive form bringing a mountain of fixtures.
Saturday’s fixture at the Parc des Princes will be the 63rd of a relentless campaign for the Reds, who have already claimed the Carabao Cup and FA Cup, as well as finishing second in the Premier League to Manchester City. Such sustained success is built on solid foundations – and Liverpool’s transfer policy is a crucial part of that.
While much of the build-up to this weekend’s final has centred around the 2018 final between the two sides, they last met in April 2021 in the Champions League quarter-finals. Real Madrid came out on top, winning 3-1 on aggregate following a 0-0 draw at Anfield.
Liverpool will be confident of achieving a better result this time around, with plenty of hard work having been completed since then. Here are five transfer decisions the club has got spot-on, which will help them in the Champions League final.
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Signing Ibrahima Konate
Liverpool only signed one player in the 2021 summer transfer window. That policy was questioned by many fans and pundits at the time, but it has proven to be an inspired decision – largely because of the identity of that signing.
Konate arrived for £36million from RB Leipzig last summer. The young French centre-back took a while to bed into the team, with Klopp sticking with his tried-and-tested combination of Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip, but Konate has got better with every passing game. The 23-year-old appears to be peaking at the perfect time, having scored in three successive games back in April.
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Letting Gini Wijnaldum leave
The decision to let midfield stalwart Wijnaldum leave on a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain was a brave one last summer. But looking back it was undoubtedly the right one. Wijnaldum has struggled to make an impact in a star-studded PSG squad, while Liverpool have not missed his presence.
Selling Xherdan Shaqiri
Last summer Shaqiri looked to some Liverpool fans like a decent squad player to have around. The Swiss attacking midfielder had chipped in with some useful contributions during his three years at the club, but Liverpool were keen to move him on. They received a fee of £9.5m for him from Lyon and have since been justified in their call: still only 30, Shaqiri moved to Chicago Fire in February and is not pulling up any trees.
Swooping for Luis Diaz
Diaz’s talent was no secret and Liverpool had to move quickly and decisively to land him for an initial fee of £37.5m from Porto in January. Klopp was personally involved and Tottenham were brushed aside so the Reds could sign the Colombia international. Since then he’s been a shining light in Klopp’s side, somehow improving a brilliant and consistent front three, with six goals and five assists in 25 appearances in all competitions. At 25, he’s only going to get better.
Letting Nat Phillips go
Phillips was a very useful player to have last season when Liverpool were experiencing a defensive injury crisis. But with Van Dijk, Matip and Joe Gomez back fit this campaign, Klopp allowed Phillips to fly the nest to Bournemouth on loan in the January transfer window. The 25-year-old has helped the Cherries achieve promotion from the Championship and could be sold permanently to the south coast side for a decent transfer fee in yet more good business.
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