Written by James Cranford – @jamescranford89
Liverpool got their European campaign back on track this week with a 2-1 victory over Ajax in the Champions League. It took a late header from Joel Matip to seal the victory, but there was a noted improvement in build-up play through the midfield and attacking areas.
Jürgen Klopp performed something of a u-turn over the need for midfield signings this summer, with goal.com’s Neil Jones revealing the Reds failed in a late-window bid for RB Leipzig’s Konrad Laimer. The Austrian international is in the last year of his contract and is believed to be holding out for a free transfer to Bayern Munich.
On the latest episode of our Journo Insight Show, we asked Neil for the inside track on LFC’s attempted summer signing.
“I did report a day before the transfer window closed that Liverpool had given up their pursuit of Konrad Laimer. He’s one of those players that ticked a lot of boxes. He’s not a world class player, but he ticks a lot of boxes.
He’s experienced, he’s from the Red Bull production line, or that stable. Responsible sort of player, bit of a leader, plays a couple of different roles in midfield and he had a year left on his contract.
I wouldn’t say he was target number one, two or three in the summer, but as summer developed it was, ‘Could we get a nice little deal here?’ I don’t know what the fee would have been, but can we get a deal that works? He’s someone who we think is good enough to play for Liverpool in the long term, he might be cheap enough to justify.’
His agent as well, the relationship is there with Keita, with Mane. There were a lot of parts to it, the vibe was Leipzig aren’t after selling him, but the player has decided, ‘I’m going to sit on my contract and go to Bayern, and go next summer.’”
Confirmation that Liverpool’s transfer committee were working hard on a permanent transfer until the end of the window shows that Jürgen recognises the need for midfield reinforcement. Laimer may not have set pulses racing on Merseyside, but is an experienced operator in Europe’s premier competition. The Reds seem very likely to lose Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at the end of the season, so hopefully midfield deals are being worked on now, rather than left to the last minute. We all love a browse at the end of the January sales, but as the saying goes: You buy cheap, you buy twice.