Revisiting Jurgen Klopp’s first 10 signings as Liverpool manager
While Jurgen Klopp has made a number of astute signings as Liverpool manager, not all of them have turned out to be a hit.
Since his arrival in October 2015, Klopp has transformed Liverpool’s fortunes and helped deliver their first league title in 30 years, with the club’s work in the transfer market a huge factor in their success.
We’ve taken a look back at Klopp’s first 10 signings at Anfield to see how they’ve fared.
Grujic became Klopp’s first signing as Liverpool manager in January 2016, joining the Reds in a £5.1million deal from Red Star Belgrade.
But the midfielder played less than 400 minutes for the club in all competitions, spending the vast majority of his time at the club out on loan – at Cardiff, Hertha Berlin and Porto, where he eventually moved on a permanent deal in the summer of 2021.
“I’m not a youngster any more,” Grujic told The Athletic in April 2020. “At the age of 24, I’m at the stage when I need to be making important steps in my career. I need to think and I need to be clever about what happens next.
Liverpool made almost 10 times what they originally signed him for. Decent bit of business, that.
If anything encapsulates Liverpool’s struggles in the early months of Klopp’s reign, it’s this.
Caulker joined the Reds on loan from Queens Park Rangers in January 2016. If that wasn’t strange enough, Klopp decided to use the centre-back as an emergency striker.
Unsurprisingly, he failed to find the back of the net in his four appearances for the club and now plays for Wigan Athletic.
READ: Ranking Liverpool’s 27 weirdest signings of the Premier League era
Grabara came through the youth ranks at Polish side Ruch Chorzow before joining Liverpool in 2016 amid reported interest from Manchester City and Manchester United.
The goalkeeper’s long wait for an appearance for the Reds was in vain, with loans away to Danish side AGF and Huddersfield Town. In 2021 he left for FC Copenhagen.
It’s easy to forget that Karius was regarded as a highly-rated prospect when he joined Liverpool from Mainz 05 in 2016.
But the goalkeeper made a series of high-profile mistakes, most notably in their 2018 Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid. He didn’t play for the club since and spent his final few years out on loan.
After being released last summer, he signed for Newcastle United and made his debut for the Magpies in the League Cup final defeat to Manchester United. He by no means disgraced himself at Wembley, though. That would have just been too cruel for us to take.
Now this is where things start to improve…
Mane developed into one of the best forwards in the world during his six-year stint at Liverpool, scoring 120 goals and lifting every trophy going.
But more importantly, he’s also a really great guy.
READ: 11 times Sadio Mane was the nicest man in the world
After rejecting a new contract from Schalke, Matip moved to Liverpool on a free transfer in 2016 and grew to become one of Klopp’s best and most entrusted players. For a period.
The Cameroon international played a vital role in Liverpool’s sixth European Cup triumph in 2018-19, setting up Divock Origi for the second goal in the final, and continues to play the role of cult hero at Anfield.
“In a world of big transfer fees, to sign a player like Joel Matip on a free transfer is incredible,” Klopp said in September 2019. “It was maybe one of the best pieces of business we did in the last few years.”
READ: 23 times Liverpool’s Joel Matip was the funniest player in the world
Klavan proved himself to be a solid if unspectacular centre-back during his two-year spell on Merseyside, making 53 appearances in all competitions.
Virgil van Dijk’s arrival in January 2018 saw the Estonia international fall down the pecking order, and he joined Serie A Cagliari in search of regular first-team football.
He’s still playing at the age of 37, back in his home country for Paide Linnameeskond.
Yet another goalkeeper…
Despite being 39 years old at the time, Manninger joined Liverpool on a short-term deal from FC Augsburg in 2016.
The former Arsenal and Juventus shot-stopper failed to make a single first-team appearance for the Reds and retired from professional football in 2017.
Eyebrows were raised when Klopp sanctioned a £23million move for a player who had just been relegated with Newcastle United.
Wijnaldum went on to prove the doubters wrong at Anfield, becoming an under-appreciated yet crucial player in Klopp’s setup.
“Is he the perfect midfielder? From the skillset 100%,” Klopp said in 2019, adding: “It is not my fault if he goes under the radar. You cannot ask me why he goes under the radar. I don’t set the radar!”
He joined PSG on a free transfer in the summer of 2021, but he failed to convince in the French capital and has been shipped out on loan to Jose Mourinho’s Roma. The midfielder recently made his return from a long-term injury.
When Salah joined Liverpool from Roma in 2017, nobody could have predicted the immense impact he would have.
The Egypt international has become the defining acquisition of the Klopp era, scoring 178 goals in 291 appearances in all competitions. Liverpool’s greatest goalscorer of the Premier League era.
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