Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group will hand Jurgen Klopp finances to spend this summer courtesy of the expected return to normality next season, according to reports. The Reds are staring at the possibility of missing out on Champions League football and the defending English champions sit eighth with 10 games left to play of the Premier League season.
Klopp’s injury-plagued side are seven points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea having lost to the Blues at Anfield last week, where they have been defeated in all of their past six top-flight matches.
Their horrendous form in 2021 – picking up just 10 points of an available 36 despite having been top of the table after a 7-0 win over Crystal Palace on December 19 – means their best hope of playing in Europe’s premier competition may be winning it.
Liverpool lead Bundesliga title hopefuls RB Leipzig 2-0 in their last 16 tie and take on the Germans in the second leg in Budapest on Wednesday night.
The six-time European champions were triumphant in the Champions League only two seasons ago and the loss of financial earnings if they miss out on qualification for next season would be a major hit.
They earned £100million in the 2018-19 campaign when they beat Tottenham in the final in Madrid while they still pocketed £71m last year despite crashing out at the last 16 stage to Atletico Madrid.
But according to Telegraph Sport, Liverpool’s Boston-based owners will hand Klopp the cash to strengthen his side as the Premier League hopes to welcome back mass crowds in the 2021-22 campaign. It is hoped that the final match-day, or final two match-days, of this season will also see grounds host 10,000 supporters.
The report adds that FSG will not make more funds available than they would in a normal summer, however, in accordance with the club’s self-sustaining business model.
Yet Klopp could still have more to work with than he has in the past two windows. Though Liverpool agreed deals for Diogo Jota and Thiago Alcantara last summer, the structure of those agreements meant only £9million was paid up-front with the rest in instalments.
Similarly, Liverpool’s additions of Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak in the January transfer window – to help give Klopp extra bodies at the back – set the club back just £1.5million upfront.
Liverpool paid only an initial £500,000 to Preston for Davies, with the fee potentially rising to £1.6m while there is a 20 per cent sell-on clause in the deal.
Kabak joined on loan from Schalke for £1m with a potential £500,000 extra in appearance-based add-ons, while it will cost £18m to sign him permanently this summer.
It was widely claimed that Liverpool should have gone out and spent big on an elite-level defender but Klopp admitted he was denied the opportunity to sign a new player earlier in the window, with the news that Joel Matip would be out for the rest of the season prompting their deadline day business.
It remains to be seen whether Liverpool will do that but it is widely expected a new centre-back will be signed to complement the returning trio of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Matip.
Liverpool may also have to sign a replacement for Gini Wijnaldum, who despite links to Barcelona made clear that he would prefer to sign a new contract to remain on Merseyside.
Speaking on Tuesday, he said: “It would be really difficult [to leave] because if that happens, you will leave a team who you really love, who you have shared a lot of years together with and where you feel really comfortable.
“It will be difficult but on the other side, you don’t know the situation and why you have to leave, so it all depends on the situation.
“But I will be devastated that I am not going to play for this team anymore for sure. The only thing I can say is that I am really happy at the club.
“I am really with the team, the staff and I am really happy with the fans while I play. It is not that I am not happy that I have to leave or something.”
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It is unclear where else Liverpool may strengthen but a new forward may be on the agenda with the futures of Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri in particular doubt.
The Reds have several players on top of Origi and Shaqiri who they could choose to sell to raise further cash including Harry Wilson, Marko Grujic, Loris Karius and Sheyi Ojo.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who faces question marks over his future while Liverpool could be vulnerable to big-money bids for Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah if they have no Champions League football.
Discussing the summer recently, Klopp said: “Rebuild? No. What is ‘rebuild’ exactly? Rebuild means 10 out, 10 in? Changes to which XI? I know what you mean, but I don’t think it is time for a massive rebuild like how I understand it: six or seven out, running contracts but trying to get rid of them and bringing in all the new faces.
“The squad of this year didn’t have the chance to play together one time really. I think it would make sense to have a look at that.
“On top of that, of course, little readjustments will happen. Reacting on the situation but planning at the same time for the future and all these kinds of things. I am not sure we can do that in the summer but that is what we will try.”