Eight of Jurgen Klopp’s biggest transfer regrets during his time at Liverpool: Mane, Keita and more…

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool manager montage, TEAMtalk Credit: Alamy
Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool manager montage, TEAMtalk Credit: Alamy

While Jurgen Klopp has made some brilliant signings for Liverpool, he hasn’t always got it right in the transfer market.

The likes of Alisson Becker, Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Mohamed Salah arrived at Anfield and helped turn Klopp’s side into European and World Champions.

But it isn’t always plain sailing as the German has had some difficult times at Liverpool and probably regrets some of his decisions.

We’ve taken a look at eight of his worst decisions in the transfer market since becoming Liverpool’s manager in 2015.

Loris Karius

One of Klopp’s first signings at Liverpool, Karius joined the Reds in a £4.75m deal in the summer of 2016 after impressing at Mainz and was handed the No.1 shirt. 

He made several mistakes in his debut campaign but Klopp still kept faith in the goalkeeper, which proved a costly decision.

The 29-year-old started in the 2018 Champions League final but produced an error-strewn display and was at fault for two of Real Madrid’s goals as Liverpool lost 3-1.

While Klopp realised his mistake and signed Alisson Becker after that defeat, he’ll know that the Reds might have beaten Madrid in Kyiv if they had bought a less error-prone goalkeeper in 2016.

Naby Keita

The summer of 2017 will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest transfer windows in Liverpool’s recent history. 

Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson joined Klopp’s side for a combined £42m and the duo have both played an integral role in Liverpool’s recent success.

But the Reds will have some regrets as they broke their transfer record and agreed a deal in principle to sign RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita in a £52.75m deal. To put that in context, Manchester City signed Bernardo Silva for £43.5m and Wolves bought Ruben Neves for £15.8m in 2017.

The Guinea international took the No.8 shirt after arriving at Anfield in 2018 and was heralded by some as the heir to Steven Gerrard.

While he’s shown glimpses of his talents, the midfielder has failed to justify his price tag and his time on Merseyside has been plagued by recurring injury problems and inconsistent form. 

Keita now looks set to leave Liverpool on a free transfer in 2023 and has been labelled Klopp’s worst-ever signing. 

Not buying a midfielder in 2022

While Liverpool fans were calling for the club to sign a new midfielder in the summer of 2022, Klopp insisted he didn’t need reinforcements in the middle of the park.

But Liverpool endured a disastrous start to the 2022/23 season and it soon became apparent that midfield is their biggest weakness.

“I know we have had this discussion since it all started and I am the one who said we don’t need a midfielder and you were all right and I was wrong,” Klopp admitted in August.

“That’s the situation. There is really nothing more to say about it. We are looking for it, and if it is the right player we need him and if it is not the right player we don’t need him.”

The Reds left it too late and they were only able to sign Juventus’ Arthur Melo on a season-long loan deal. The Brazil interntional has made just one first-team appearance this season due to injuries and Liverpool now face a battle to finish in the top four.

Dusan Tadic

From Peter Crouch to Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool have bought seven players from Southampton in the Premier League era. But one player that they missed out on was Tadic, who spent four years with the Saints before joining Ajax in a £9.7m deal in 2018.

“I was very angry with myself when he went to Ajax because I was also interested in him,” Klopp told Dutch broadcaster RTL. “I love him as a player.”

Admittedly, Liverpool did alright without him as they won the Champions League and the Premier League over the following two years.

But Tadic enjoyed a remarkable debut season at Ajax, registering 38 goals and 23 assists in 56 appearances in all competitions.

The Serbia international would’ve given Liverpool something extra in a season where they finished just one point behind Manchester City in the Premier League title race.

Luis Alberto

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and few would have argued with Klopp’s decision to sell Alberto to Lazio for £4.2m in 2016.

But the Spain international, who made just nine Premier League appearances, then developed into of the best midfielders in Europe.

He’s registered over 100 direct goal contributions during his time in Italy and has helped Lazio win two Supercoppa Italiana titles and a Coppa Italia.

The 30-year-old is renowned for his creativity and would’ve been an ideal replacement for Philippe Coutinho if he’d stayed at Anfield.

“He was very young when he came to Liverpool like I was when I arrived,” Lucas Leiva told The Athletic. “Probably he didn’t have the luck I had in having a manager who could maybe have been a bit more patient with him.

“The quality was always there and he had to go (on loan) to Spain to get more experience. Then he moved to Lazio and his first year wasn’t easy. But afterwards, he just found himself. He could show his qualities and has been one of the best players in the league the last few years. His quality in the final third is incredible.”

Danny Ings

Ings snapped his cruciate ligaments during Klopp’s first training session as Liverpool boss and spent most of the next two years on the sidelines.

After Klopp sanctioned his departure, he joined boyhood club Southampton on an initial loan deal before making the move permanent in 2019.

The striker netted a total of 34 Premier League goals over the following two seasons, outscoring the likes of Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino over the same period.

While Divock Origi produced some iconic moments in a Liverpool shirt, they probably should have kept Ings instead.

Dejan Lovren

Lovren split opinion during his time at Anfield and completed a £10.9m move to Zenit Saint Petersburg after falling out of favour in 2019/20.

His departure was followed by an unprecedented injury crisis at Liverpool as Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez all spent time on the treatment table.

Klopp’s side struggled defensively and often had to play Jordan Henderson and Fabinho at centre-back during a turbulent and trophyless season.

Lovren, meanwhile, rediscovered his best form and helped Zenit win the Russian Super Cup and Premier League in 2020/21. 

“I made the decision to leave Liverpool,” he said in 2021. “I wasn’t feeling happy there towards the end, because I wasn’t playing. I am happy that I decided to come here and I think they miss me more than I miss them.

“Jurgen Klopp knows that, we sometimes chat and he once wrote to me that he misses me. I did not answer that.”

Sadio Mane

Mane enjoyed an incredible career at Anfield, helping them win the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.

Liverpool made a business decision in the summer of 2022 by accepting Bayern Munich’s £35.1m bid for the winger, who had just one year left on his contract. 

Despite signing Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez in recent months, the Reds have struggled to fill the void left by Mane’s departure and his importance to the side has been highlighted in 2022/23.

Liverpool came agonisingly close to winning a historic quadruple last season but now find themselves in a top-four battle. 

Admittedly, the Senegal international wanted to leave Anfield but he’s a top-class professional and Klopp should’ve kept him for one more season.

READ MORE: Five positions Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp must prioritise in the January transfer window after Leeds embarrassment

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