Liverpool must solve midfield transfer 'mess' urgently after snubs

Liverpool’s transfer business is usually smooth but after Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia snubbed them for Chelsea the pressure is REALLY on to solve the ‘mess’ and deliver Klopp a midfielder

  • Liverpool suffered a blow when Moises Caicedo rejected them to join Chelsea
  • It appears another midfield target in Romeo Lavia could follow the same route
  • WATCH: ‘It’s All Kicking Off’ – Episode 1 – Mail Sport’s brand new football show 

One of the hallmarks of the John W Henry era at Liverpool has been success in the transfer market.

Having learned from early mistakes like Mario Balotelli, Liverpool have enjoyed more victories than defeats since then.

Astute recruits Mo Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Alisson helped Jurgen Klopp build a team to win every major competition.

But that carefully-established reputation is in danger of imploding after an awful week for Liverpool’s transfer chiefs.

If missing out on Moises Caicedo to Chelsea was a major blow, to suffer exactly the same fate with their next target, Romeo Lavia, would be hugely embarrassing.

Moises Caicedo rejected Liverpool to complete a British record £115m move to Chelsea

Now Southampton midfielder Romeo Lavia looks set to do likewise and sign for the Blues

It represents another setback for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp in his midfielder search

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Klopp is always keen to present a unified voice at Anfield but he’ll be aware that signing a top-class holding midfielder could be the difference between mounting a title challenge this season, and not.

Club legend Jamie Carragher, normally sympathetic to Liverpool’s point of view, hasn’t held back at seeing his club outdone by Chelsea’s brash owner Todd Boehly.

‘An absolute mess and a joke,’ is his description of how the situation has been handled at Anfield.

Having lost midfielders Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner in one swoop, one would have hoped for a smoother succession.

Yes, Alexis Mac Allister has arrived from Brighton alongside Hungarian Dominik Szoboszlai but the Argentine World Cup winner was forced into a defensive role in the opening game at Chelsea and wasn’t his usual self.

‘Liverpool are now in a pretty difficult place. People know they are desperate,’ added Carragher.

The timeline of events is odd. Klopp sang Jude Bellingham’s praises in January but come the summer, Liverpool decided they couldn’t compete financially and the player joined Real Madrid.

Yet having pursued Lavia from Southampton all summer without meeting the £60million asking price, they suddenly bid a British record £111m for Caicedo at Brighton.

The departures of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and others have left a gaping midfield hole

Jamie Carragher blasted Liverpool’s transfer business after missing out on two huge signings

Carragher said he ‘didn’t know what was happening behind the scenes’ after Michael Edwards (left) and his successor both left the club 

Caicedo was always minded to join Chelsea, whose director of global talent Paul Winstanley used to work at Brighton and played a major part in getting Caicedo to his first club in England.

If Liverpool thought their intervention would push the Caicedo price up and take Chelsea out of the running for Lavia, it was a high-risk strategy that so far hasn’t paid off.

Despite Liverpool belatedly meeting Southampton’s terms over a transfer fee, the word now is that Lavia also prefers to join Chelsea, whose ambitions to spend shows no bounds.

The London location angle could be one aspect but also the youngster might have been perturbed by Liverpool suddenly switching their attention to Caicedo.

Whatever happens next, it’s not the smooth way Liverpool prefer to do their business.

Liverpool decided that their original midfield target Jude Bellingham was too expensive

Liverpool managed to seal a deal for Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister earlier in the summer

Hungarian Dominik Szoboszlai also signed but Liverpool still need fresh recruits in midfield

The recent failures in the market have placed a lot of pressure on chief executive Billy Hogan

The spotlight will fall on Liverpool’s personnel behind the scenes. 

The respected sporting director Michael Edwards left in 2022. His replacement Julian Ward announced later that year he was going to step down at the end of the 2022-23 season.

It has placed a lot of pressure and responsibility on Chief Executive Billy Hogan, a long-time employee of club owners FSG.

The early signings in the window of Mac Allister and Szoboszlai suggested business as usual.

Then the Saudi intervention which saw both Henderson and Fabinho leave left a giant hole at the base of the midfield. So far, a week into the season, it’s still not been filled.

Until it is, questions will be asked and Carragher’s assertion of a ‘mess’ will be hard to counter.

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