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    Saturday, 11 February 2023

    Julian Ward: Carragher criticises Klopp and Cody Gakpo signing

    Jamie Carragher has questioned some of the decisions made about transfers and contracts at former club Liverpool

    Carragher, Cody Gakpo, Klopp

    Jamie Carragher admits he was "shocked" after Liverpool signed Cody Gakpo in January instead of beefing up their midfield. Plans to overhaul the midfield have been put on hold until the summer despite efforts to sign Aurelien Tchouameni last year.

    Gakpo became the fourth forward player Liverpool signed, following Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Fabio Carvalho arrival last year.

    With the Reds struggling in midfield this season, Klopp has been criticized for yet to start his transition with Liverpool, but appears determined to wait to sign first-choice target Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund.

    Carragher has questioned the wisdom behind those decisions, admitting he did not understand why his former club chose to sign Gakpo rather than a midfielder in January.

    The former Liverpool defender wrote in his Telegraph column: “Since the summer of 2022, Liverpool have committed £180million on four attackers in Luis Diaz, Fabio Carvalho, Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo,” he wrote in his Telegraph column .

    “Liverpool’s owners did not fail to invest. They failed to invest in a midfielder. Now they need a new midfield.

    “Liverpool wanted to sign one in Aurelien Tchouameni from Monaco, knowing his market value was £75million. When Tchouameni chose Real Madrid, the money was there if Klopp wanted an alternative, but he opted to wait until 2023, hoping he will lure Jude Bellingham. That was Klopp ’s call, not owner John W. Henry ’s.

    “In attack, Diaz started his Liverpool career brilliantly but Nunez is a work in progress, and I am baffled watching Gakpo’s early performances. Gakpo is not a typical Klopp signing, lacking lightning pace and the capacity to lead a high press.

    “Why commit up to £45million on someone who will be on the bench when Díaz and Diogo Jota are fit? Especially when another area of the team needed strengthening?”

    Carragher also expressed his concerns about Liverpool's search for a third sporting director in two years, suggesting that disagreements behind the scenes could lead to the departure of Michael Edwards, Julian Ward and other members of the Reds' recruitment team.

    Carragher also expressed his concerns about Liverpool's search for a third sporting director in two years, suggesting that disagreements behind the scenes could be the reason why Michael Edwards, Julian Ward and other members of the Reds' recruitment team had aspired to leave the club.

    “Some contract renewals have also become contentious,” he said. “Everyone was thrilled when Klopp and Salah signed new deals last year. But rewind to the summer of 2021 and Liverpool rewarded 31-year-old captain Jordan Henderson with a four-year deal.

    “Henderson has given Liverpool sterling service, but the length of that contract was a surprise, contradicting FSG’ s policies on players in their 30s. There was an obvious change of tack after Klopp personally intervened following reports that Henderson might leave. 'We will sort it. No doubt about it,' Klopp said.

    "Within 24 hours of an agreement, sporting director Michael Edwards was reported as considering his future, and has since left. The timing was probably coincidental, but there were strong suggestions – not contradicted – that there were internal disagreements about the length and value of Henderson’s extension.

    "That worried me at the time and has worried me more when hearing the echoes whenever Klopp speaks about the future of Roberto Firmino and James Milner. Klopp has openly said Liverpool need to refresh and reset, but he seems unwilling to accept Firmino’s declining influence and increasing injury problems, while Milner has been a bit-part player for years.

    “In the face of mounting evidence that the race is run for core members of a successful team, it is strange that Edwards’ successor, Julian Ward, will also leave this summer, as have other members of the data and analytics department.

    “Whatever their reasons, the team behind the team is changing, and it is difficult for anyone connected to Liverpool to downplay the significance when there was such a concerted PR effort to praise and emphasise their influence over the previous seven years.

    “The timing of Liverpool needing a new sporting director could not be worse heading into a massive summer for the club… The club recently envied across Europe for its excellent recruitment strategy now stands accused of bad planning, the only solution seeming to be a fresh surge of major investment in the squad. That is not how anyone saw or wanted it heading into this season.”

    Who really takes the blame for Liverpool's abysmal season? Leave a comment below

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