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    Grading the Reds’ Summer Business

    Thiago has been Liverpool’s marquee signing | Michael Regan/Getty Images

    It was supposed to be another quiet transfer window at Liverpool. We were told not to expect much beyond the signing of some cover at left-back; it was to be another window of outgoings, with all the big acquisitions being saved for a rebuild next summer.

    Yeah, right.

    The signing of Thiago Alcantara put those aspersions to bed, and Jurgen Klopp has now put together a squad that looks leaner and even meaner than the group that romped to a maiden Premier League title last term.

    It’s been a window full of out-of-the-blue excitement, and while it hasn’t been without its’ frustrations (how could it be with such an expectant fanbase?), it’s been a productive one for the Anfield giants. 90min have taken a closer look, and graded all the major deals.

    Signed From: Olympiacos (£11.75m)

    Grade: B

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    A lack of natural cover for Andy Robertson was finally addressed during the summer, with Greek left-back Tsimikas, who was already familiar to Wolves and Arsenal fans for his Europa League performances, recruited from Olympiacos.

    The £12m signing was never going to be a game-changer, but he fills a gaping hole in the squad with minimal fuss. He’s been limited to just a single EFL Cup appearance so far, so it’s difficult to judge whether the 24-year-old is really up to the task, but his value should become apparent over the course of an condensed season.

    On the face of it, a solid, sensible signing.

    Signed From: Bayern Munich (£20m)

    Grade: A

    Thiago was the perfect storm, the needle in the haystack. A rare instance of a genuinely world class player, available for a reasonable price, who offered an improvement on what Liverpool have available.

    It was an opportunistic signing, but so great was the opportunity that it justified the unilateral break from policy. Thiago has no resale value, he’s approaching 30, he’s injury prone and on a massive starting salary by the Reds’ standards; but he is so good that he is worth making the exception.

    Reports have suggested that Jurgen Klopp personally pushed for the signing, and having lacked a line-breaking midfielder of his calibre, and it’s easy to see why. COVID-19 struck before he could build on the snowball he got rolling against Chelsea, but in a footballing climate where every piece of business is put under the microscope, the absolute lack of any scepticism speaks volumes about how shrewd a signing this was.

    Signed From: Wolves (£41m)

    Grade: B-

    We hadn’t even recovered from #ThiagoFriday, when #JotaSaturday followed up with a swift left hook that left us dazed, confused, and struggling to process the moves Liverpool were suddenly making in the transfer market.

    A deal worth more than £40m does seem steep for a player who has blown hot and cold during his time in the Premier League, but the structure of the fee – paid over the duration of his long-term contract – made it worth Liverpool’s while financially.

    And as much as Jota might have plenty left to prove at the top level, there can be no doubting that he offers a significant step up on the cover currently available for Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah in the wide areas. Divock Origi, superhero though he is, will only take you so far.

    Signed From: Fluminese (undisclosed)

    Grade: B-

    Not even sure this one counts as a first-team signing, but what the hell, right?

    17-year-old goalkeeper Pitaluga was signed from Brazil, with a glowing scout report from Alisson’s brother Muriel, and a reference from the man himself.

    At best, he’s currently fourth-choice keeper, but comes very highly-rated. He’s either the long (long)-term replacement for his countryman, or he’s being sold for £20m in three years’ time after a successful six months with Derby County.

    Transferred To: Brighton (free)

    Grade: C

    Lallana’s influence in the dressing room will be missed far more than you’d believe, but his race had really been run. His salary didn’t justify his bit-part role on the pitch, and his experience and know-how was duly replaced by Thiago.

    It was a shame to see him go, but needs must.

    Transferred To: Zenit (£11m)

    Grade: B+

    The timing was right to let Lovren go. By the end of last season, he was very much fourth-choice at centre-back…not exactly where you want to be at 31.

    Raising £11m for an ageing, underperforming defender with a year left on his deal is decent business by anyone’s standards, however. Like Lallana, he’s a character who will be missed on the training ground, but it would have made no sense to keep him around.

    He’s started well for Zenit, incidentally. He’s started every match so far for the Russian champions, and scored in just his second appearance, helping them return to the top of the table right off the bat. All the best, Dej.

    Transferred To: Sheffield United (£23m)

    Grade: B-

    Rarely has an outgoing transfer divided a fanbase quite as much as Brewster’s departure did Liverpool. We all wanted to see him break into the first-team and eventually take over from Roberto Firmino, so seeing him leave permanently doesn’t quite sit right.

    As he enters his 20s, however, a decision had to be made. Having just come off the back of a successful loan at Swansea, his value was at an all-time high, and was only going to diminish were he to spend a season playing cup football at Anfield. It would have been detrimental to his development to keep him around, and after overcoming a succession of injuries, there was a feeling that he needed a fresh start.

    Crucially, the inclusion of a buy-back clause in his move offers substantial protection. It wasn’t how he planned to get there, but he might be a success at Anfield yet.

    Transferred To: Union Berlin (Loan)

    Grade: C

    Karius is now just marking time before he leaves Anfield for free next summer. It’s a shame things have ended for him the way they have – he is nowhere near as bad a goalkeeper as the perception of him suggests. Hopefully he can pick things back up in the Bundesliga and prove that.

    With Alisson Becker firmly installed as number one and a few promising keepers emerging beneath him, however, it seems unlikely Liverpool will come to regret letting him go.

    Transferred To: Porto (loan)

    Grade: B

    Grujic has blossomed into a really good midfielder in his five years under contract at Liverpool. Which is mad, considering he’s made two appearances for the club over the past three seasons.

    If he can adjust to Portuguese football like he did the Bundesliga during his loan spells with Hertha BSC, then he will be a very sellable asset next summer.

    Liverpool’s Overall Transfer Grade – Summer 2020: B

    It hasn’t been what you’d call a transformative summer at Anfeld, but it didn’t have to be. The mission was to keep things together, fill a hole or two, and capitalise on any outstanding opportunities that opened up. And it has been accomplished.

    Not replacing Lovren may prove to be a small mis-step, as we’ve already seen a lack of cover there exposed, but other than that, it’s comfortable pass-marks yet again for Michael Edwards and co.

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