Liverpool: 3 strange transfers under Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool v West Ham United - The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round
Steven Caulker was an emergency signing for Liverpool.

Liverpool have been one of the most astute clubs in the world when it comes to transfers. While the power of "Moneyball" hasn’t yielded numerous league titles or Champions League trophies, it has secured both of these prestigious tournaments once each, with the team coming close to winning the Premier League three times and reaching the Champions League final twice. This era has been defined by the Reds' remarkable accuracy in the transfer market. However, their buy-to-sell strategy means that a few poor transfer decisions could significantly impact the club.

Interestingly, Liverpool have also made several low-cost transfers that might seem surprising. In this article, we will explore the top three most unexpected transfers under Jurgen Klopp.

#3 Ozan Kabak

Ozan Kabak's career is back on track.
Ozan Kabak's career is back on track.

Following injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Joel Matip in the 2020-21 season, Jurgen Klopp was forced to deploy Jordan Henderson and Fabinho as center-backs. The Reds were near the top of the table around Christmas, but their form dipped after the club failed to secure a major signing in the January transfer window due to limited options.

Consequently, they made a loan move for Schalke defender Ozan Kabak until the end of the season. Although the Turkish defender was eager to make an impact at Anfield, he struggled to solidify the backline and his season was cut short by injury.

Kabak then spent a year at Norwich City, who were relegated from the English top-flight. Despite this setback, Hoffenheim saw potential in the defender and signed him, helping to develop him into a robust centre-back. Kabak has made over 60 appearances for the German club and has become a significant threat from set-pieces, scoring eight goals over the last two seasons.

Klopp then turned to academy graduates Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams to fill the center-back roles. Despite these challenges, Liverpool managed to finish third in the league, securing another year of Champions League football.

#2 Steven Caulker

Steven Caulker is a player-manager in Spain.
Steven Caulker is a player-manager in Spain.

When Jurgen Klopp was implementing his new ideas at Liverpool, the team suffered numerous injuries as they adjusted to his high-pressing style. Despite these setbacks, Klopp maintained his commitment to high-intensity football. In January of 2016, the Reds were without Dejan Lovren, Martin Skrtel, and Mamadou Sakho, which prompted an unexpected move for Queens Park Rangers center-back Steven Caulker. This decision surprised many fans who were anticipating a high-profile signing with Klopp at the helm.

Caulker, however, played sparingly for Liverpool, spending most of his time on the bench. When he did feature, Klopp often used him as a makeshift center-forward in desperate situations, hoping to capitalize on his aerial ability. After his brief stint at Liverpool, Caulker went on to play for various clubs in England, Turkey, and Scotland before taking on a player-manager role with Spanish fifth-tier team Málaga City last year.

#1 Arthur Melo

Melo has found his form at Fiorentina.
Melo has found his form at Fiorentina.

Arthur Melo's Liverpool career lasted just 13 minutes on the pitch following his loan move from Juventus in 2022. The Brazilian, who had fallen out of favor under Max Allegri, was a surprising target for the Reds in the summer transfer window. Liverpool spent £4 million on his loan fee, but it did not prove worthwhile. Arthur struggled to adapt to Klopp's high-intensity football and, when he finally did, he suffered an injury that sidelined him for the rest of the season.

Jurgen Klopp and Sporting Director Julian Ward were compelled to make this move due to injuries to key midfielders Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara, Curtis Jones, and Jordan Henderson. Unfortunately, Arthur's own history of injuries compounded Liverpool's problems, and the move did not work out for any party involved.

However, Arthur Melo has since rejuvenated his career at Fiorentina, where he has become a regular starter and impressed in Serie A under the management of Vincenzo Italiano.

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