Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side secured their first Premier League title on 25 June 2020, as Manchester City's 2-1 defeat to Chelsea confirmed that Liverpool would be crowned champions. It was a moment long in the making, with the arrival of Klopp at Anfield placing Liverpool on a path of consistent progress.
Klopp joined Liverpool in October 2015, but it takes a summer transfer window for a manager to really leave their mark on a squad. The German brought in six signings in his first summer in charge. How significant were those arrivals in setting Liverpool on a trajectory to domestic and European glory?
The big money arrivals
163 games, 78 goals (stats taken from Transfermarkt as of 2nd July
Sadio Mané lit up the Premier League for Southampton, with a record-breaking 176-second hat-trick proof of the forward's explosive ability. Liverpool forked out £34 million to take Mané up north, money that Mané has paid back several times over. In an interview with LFC.TV after his arrival
, Mané stated that this was the right moment, coach, and club for him.
His faith was vindicated, as under Klopp's tutelage Mané has become part of the world's most feared attacking trident (Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino being the other two prongs). Mané shared the Golden Boot with Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in 2018/19, bagging 22 goals, and finished fourth in the 2019 Ballon d'Or. As signings go, this isn't a bad one for Klopp to have made in his first summer.
179 games, 18 goals
There was a long-standing perception that Wijnaldum went under the radar, but that perception is long gone. Maybe it was his dashing appearances in the NIVEA MEN adverts that boosted the Dutchman's profile, or perhaps it was his impact in Liverpool's UEFA Champions League success in 2019. On balance, it was probably the latter, as Wijnaldum's brace of goals against Barcelona contributed to one of Anfield's most memorable nights.
Wijnaldum arrived from Liverpool for £23 million, with his 11 goals in the previous season not enough to help Newcastle avoid relegation. It was a canny move from Klopp, as Wijnaldum's quality in the engine room helped to transform Liverpool from a title hopeful to the team that now heads up the outright markets with Betway
. Playing for the Premier League favourites is vastly different from his time on the Tyne, where Wijnaldum was staring the Championship in the face. Three years later, he was a Champions League winner.
The bargain buys
Karius' handling errors that gave away two costly goals in the 2018/19 final, in a 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid that the BBC called a 'personal nightmare' for Karius
. Madrid may have prevailed anyway, while Liverpool came back an even better side the following year.
Karius was a £4.75 million arrival from Mainz, the club where Klopp started his managerial career. The German did produce some great performances in the Liverpool goal, but a two-year loan move to Besiktas was considered the right move for all parties in 2019.
53 games, 2 goals
This £4.2 million arrival from Augsburg wasn't expected to pull up any trees at Anfield, but Klopp wanted a dependable and powerful presence to bolster his backline if required. He found that in Klavan, who delivered a man-of-the-match performance in a 1-0 win at Goodison Park to ingratiate himself with fans.
The free transfers
111 games, 5 goals
Matip has been a vital part of Klopp's squad since he arrived in the summer of 2016, with the Schalke 04 stalwart trading the Bundesliga for the Premier League in the same manner as his boss. The Cameroon international has struggled with injuries at times, but when fit Matip has been imperious in central defence.
Matip established himself alongside Virgil van Dijk as Liverpool claimed the Champions League title in 2019, forming a duo that had everything you'd want from your central defensive partnership. Technically capable and positionally smart, Matip should be a key part of Liverpool's squad for a few more years.
We don't need to say much about this one! The one-time Arsenal backup provided goalkeeping depth for Klopp, but Manninger was ultimately not needed and retired at the end of the season.
The 2015/16 summer transfer window set the club on its way to glory, with three key players (Mané, Wijnaldum, Matip) all making immense contributions to Champions League and Premier League successes.
Written by Alan Spencer