- May 27, 2020
They are smart and they also had luck. Salah was their 4th choice for winger after Draxler, Brandt, Pulisic and he massively surprised everyone, that's a single decision who really changed everything.I knew I would log in this morning and see people posting "it could have been us" type posts. If only ENIC were more like FSG. The reality is that even if ENIC had given Pochettino a blank chequebook in 2017 and told him to bring in whoever he wanted, it's still extremely unlikely we'd have ever become as good as they are now. Case in point - Sheikh Mansour literally has given Guardiola, one of the best managers in the history of the sport, a blank chequebook and even he couldn't produce a team that was as good as this Liverpool one. What they've done is more than just about having funds available, it's been about making intelligent acquisitions in the transfer market, top class coaching and tactical training, and creating a winning culture.
FSG and ENIC operate in fairly similar ways - they both make sure the club runs at a sustainable level but tend to re-invest major windfalls into the side. We sold Keane and Berbatov for big money then bought Modric, Corluka, Bentley, Gomes, Pavlyuchenko, Defoe, Palacios and then re-signed Keane in the same season. We sold Modric for big money and signed Lloris, Dembele and Vertonghen with the funds. We sold Bale and signed the "magnificent seven". Sometimes we've been good at this, sometimes not. FSG sold Suarez for big money and re-invested it with Balotelli, Lambert, Markovic, Lovren and Lallana - that was poor. But then in 2018 they sold Coutinho (and got the CL final windfall money) and re-invested it into Van Dijk, Alisson and Fabinho. As has been pointed out before, their net spend is actually not so different to ours, the two owners are operating a very similar strategy - difference is ENIC were better at it from 2010-2015 whereas FSG have been better at it for the last five years. That's all there is to it really. For similar money to what we spent on Lucas they signed Firmino. For similar money to what we spent on Sissoko they signed Salah. For the money we spent on Juan Foyth they signed Andy Robertson. When we had our Champions League windfall we signed Ndombele, Sessegnon and Clarke - none of which we can get onto the pitch, for the same money that they spent on Alisson and Fabinho when they got theirs - the best GK and DM in the league respectively. Yes I know they spend more on wages - but face the facts guys, they are a bigger and richer club than we are and that's the whole point of moving to the new stadium, so that when it is paid off we will be able to compete for those kinds of contracts.
It's not just about money, it's about being smart with it, and I think that what Klopp and his staff have done is far smarter than anything I've seen from Tottenham management in my time. When we didn't sign anyone in 2018 then Levy had apparently committed a war crime, but Liverpool literally didn't sign anyone last summer and have gotten even better. That's because Klopp is not only a superior tactician (imagine him randomly playing Mane at left-back in a semi-final or leaving Salah out of the starting XI in the final after he scored a hat-trick in the semi), but he is also loved by all of his players, he's kept everyone motivated, created a hugely positive atmosphere around the club and his players would die for him - and whilst we'll never know for sure it seems Poch's relationship with some of our players (am thinking Eriksen, Alderweireld, Rose and Trippier) was deteriorating and the atmosphere was sour - and I'm not so sure Mourinho is going to get it back to what it was. That doesn't mean I don't think we could have improved by taking a few more risks - clearly we've been too cautious in the last couple of years and we're seeing the results of it now. But whilst I think we could easily have been ahead of Chelsea and Leicester this season - to suggest we'd have been able to get as good as a team that's breaking all sorts of records and will likely go down as one of the best teams in English football history is a bit of a stretch - we should not have it on our conscience that we let them get better than us - far richer and bigger clubs than we have ever been have never gotten this good.