The topic of Fenway Sports Group is controversial on Merseyside. If 100 sensible Liverpool fans were to gather at Anfield for a discussion about the ownership group that has run their club since 2010, it’s fair to suggest that 50 take one side and the remaining 50 the other.
Indeed, Liverpool have delivered every trophy under the sun during FSG’s tenure, winning the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, Club World Cup, Super Cup and everything in between in recent years. Jürgen Klopp has been leading the ship since 2015 and he is backed by elite recruitment, with the Reds proving they are as efficient as possible in the transfer market.
However, when things tend to turn sour, FSG comes under criticism. Last season, for example, Liverpool finished fifth in the Premier League and failed to win a single trophy, with Klopp appearing to be suffering from an aging midfield division in need of revitalization, with key players past their peak years.
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FSG quickly came into the limelight in the eyes of many supporters. The owners of the Boston Red Sox were criticized for not backing Klopp in the transfer market, and until this week the same criticism began to surface as Liverpool appeared to go quiet in the market before shocking everyone and securing Dominik Szoboszlai’s signature. from RB Leipzig.
The Hungarian international demanded a transfer fee of $76 million (£60 million / €70 million) to leave the Bundesliga. The Reds activated his release clause by paying the full amount (according to ECHO), meaning Liverpool have now paid a total of around $168m (£132m/€154m) since they last sold a player for a fee.
FSG has always operated a ‘sell-to-buy’ policy on Merseyside, but in recent windows players have been bought without making any money through sales. Szoboszlai, Cody Gakpo and Alexis Mac Allister have all joined this year, and it’s worth noting that Darwin Núñez raised $107m (£85m/€100m) as a replacement for Sadio Mané 12 months ago, who went to the club for less than half Bayern Munich came. that amount.
Rather than FSG funding being the problem for the past 12 months, it’s fair to argue that Liverpool’s market decision making has been the bigger factor. When a high-profile deal was approved for Núñez in 2022, the team’s engine room became dulled, but instead of finding a new midfield signing, Klopp offered James Milner a one-year extension.
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The veteran performer was 36 years old at the time, but Klopp wanted to keep him. He also retained the services of Jordan Henderson, who is now 33 years old, and Thiago Alcântara, who is now 32. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keïta also stayed at the club, both of whom left Anfield on a free transfer this summer. Liverpool got it wrong last year and that resulted in an unforeseen decline on the pitch.
Núñez still has the potential to explode on the English coast, but 12 months ago the Reds needed a new midfielder more than a new striker who single-handedly consumed the club’s entire budget. It was that oversight, rather than a lack of spending, that had perhaps the biggest impact on Liverpool’s demise.
FSG has not invested as much as some other owners in England, but Anfield’s success has always come from efficient decisions and shrewd scouting practices. When Klopp conquered the world with Liverpool, it was not because of excessive spending and excessive wealth. Instead, it was all about having a super effective process where every new signing turned out to be a hit.
Overall, the signings of Szoboszlai and Mac Allister suggest that Klopp has learned his lesson from last year. He has let some of his trusted lieutenants leave – such as Milner and Roberto Firmino – in favor of the next generation. Liverpool know what has been bothering them since 2022 and that concern is being allayed once and for all.
FSG will continue to be questioned by some supporters, and perhaps rightly so. The funding isn’t always as big as it needs to be when it comes to reinforcements for one of the best coaches in the world, but money has certainly been spent since Liverpool embarked on the major overhaul.
Ahead of the new August campaign, the Reds have a new midfield and attack line that have focused on both departments for the past 18 months, with a defender next on the agenda.
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