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The Reds have given up on a primary transfer target

The most counter-intuitive decision was starting to root for Liverpool at the end of the 2000s and the beginning of the 10s. The club was ruled by crazy Tom Hicks and George Gillette, under which the team almost went under external control, and complete chaos was created on the field. Roy Hodgson coached the Merseysiders, and everything was so wrong with money that you can't look at the shopping list of that time without trembling.

Sotirios Kyriakos, Paul Konchesky, Milan Jovanovic, Danny Wilson, and Christian Poulsen - if you're a Liverpool fan and this shopping list doesn't make your eyes twitch, you're either too young or have a selective memory that can erase most painful memories.

The arrival of FSG changed Liverpool

During the 2010/2011 season, the club was bought by Fenway Sports Group - in a terrible state and with huge debts. Problems were everywhere: Anfield's stadium needed refurbishment, as was Melwood's training ground, and in the table, the club was closer to the relegation zone than they were to a Champions League challenge.

New bosses sacked Hodgson after nine losses in 20 games, with former Reds player and coach Kenny Dalglish taking over in 12th place. A lot happened, both good and bad. Exchange of Fernando Torres for a pair of Carroll - Suarez matches in the Europa League with Anji Makhachkala (the same video "everyone, in short, here, who is high") and St. Petersburg Zenit, victory in the League Cup - the first trophy since 2006.

The change of Dalglish to Brendan Rodgers, the great season of Suarez and the fall of Gerrard in the match against Chelsea, the departure of the Uruguayan, and the new top purchase from Mario Balotelli, Lazar Markovic, and Ricky Lambert. These people were supposed to make up for the loss of Louis. A year later, Christian Benteke was added to the company, and it became clear that something was going wrong.

The successful sale of Coutinho

I have always been grateful to Rodgers for the 2013/2014 season - because I have never experienced such pleasure from football - and I did not wish him to be fired. Rumors sent many in his place, including Carlo Ancelotti, but I firmly believed that he would follow if Brendan succeeded in the past. I bought only the option with the invitation of Klopp - a rabid German with experience in the resuscitation of a sleeping giant in the face of Borussia seemed the perfect match.
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Let's fast forward a couple of seasons into history. Jurgen has taken Liverpool to several cup finals - and lost them all. In 2017, the club closed another transfer saga by letting Philippe Coutinho go to Barcelona for €135m (still the fourth most expensive transfer in history) and finally avoided the mistakes of the past. Instead of trying to replace the star with a few average players, the Reds invested in large composition.

In two seasons, the Merseysiders bought three players who determined the club's success in subsequent years. For € 42 million, Mohamed Salah came from Roma (although he was only a backup option for Klopp). For € 85 million, Virgil van Dijk was bought from Southampton, becoming the most expensive defender in the world. A little later, Alison joined them from the Italian capital for € 62.5 million, having already broken the goalkeeper's cost record.

The Reds could compete in the market with City, PSG, Chelsea, Real Madrid, and anyone else in that short span of several transfer windows. But it is essential to understand that the owners did not suddenly become generous - the club lived within its means and continued. A good deal for Coutinho and a few other sales allowed for a significant reinvestment in the composition. In parallel, the bosses invested in infrastructure: they expanded the Anfield side stand and moved the first team to a new training base.

Bellingham is the perfect player for the Reds

Joe Henry and Tom Werner of Fenway Sports set the game's rules for themselves, the club, and the fans: you can only spend what you can earn; the organization must be self-sufficient. In this paradigm, it was clear to all parties that in no way in the universe would Liverpool get involved in a potential fight for a player like Mbappe - given the cost and salary. But bold hopes made it possible to dream of second-order stars - just the same as van Dijk, and Alison were during their transitions.

Jude Bellingham has been the dream player for the last couple of years. The Birmingham academy graduate is only 19 years old, but he leads Borussia Dortmund to the field with the captain's armband and regularly starts the England team. The guy is already considered one of the strongest midfielders in the world, and giants from all over Europe will be cut for him this summer.
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Bellingham seemed like an ideal target for Liverpool for several reasons. Firstly, he is young and promising, and the red bosses only once authorized the purchase of an expensive player with no room for development - an exception was made for Thiago Alcantara. Secondly, unlike the same Mbappe, Jude will cost huge, but not insane, money - the rumors include an amount in the region of € 100–125 million. He sympathizes with the legend of Merseysiders, Steven Gerrard; he has a good connection with the red teammates, and he hangs out off the field with Trent.

Yet the main reason is purely pragmatic. Liverpool needs a stronger midfield and has been postponing this overhaul for several transfer windows in a row. From the 2018/2019 season, only Thiago was signed to the middle line for a full-fledged contract - although the Spaniard was already 29 years old at that time and consistently missed impressive segments of the season in the infirmary.

Sudden failure

All journalists close to the club from reputable publications like The Athletic, Times, Daily Telegraph, Guardian, BBC, and Independent for a season and a half reassured fans with the same mantra: the owners of the club know what they are doing; they wait for the right player to become available. Everyone understood Bellingham as the right player; even Klopp, in response to a direct question from journalists, admitted his sympathy for the Englishman.

I am writing about dreams about Jude in the past tense because, on April 11, the plans of the club suddenly changed dramatically: all the same high-profile journalists wrote in one evening based on the material that Liverpool had left the race for the midfielder, not having time to enter it. This defeat in the transfer market is at least as disappointing as the tournament failures this season - because it is perceived as a throwback to the good old days.

Many fans have accumulated complaints about the management over the past couple of seasons. Still, they had a strong credibility while at the club's helm. Despite the transfer failures, an attempt to join the Super League and other jambs. But the story of Bellingham was the apogee of the absurd.

Somehow the bosses persuaded Klopp to last until 2026, but there are significant doubts that Jurgen will have time to compete with Liverpool again for severe awards. Rumors about the possible sale of the club, which actively circulated during the season, show that the owners also understand this. They are not ready to invest their funds in the development of the asset, it is difficult to compete with other tops in such conditions, and with Klopp and a complete package of fat sponsorship contracts signed on the wave of recent successes, you can ask for an impressive amount for the team. FSG bought the Reds for £300m; the club is now worth at least ten times as much.
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It is challenging to try to explain in any other way what happened in the history of Liverpool's interest in Jude. If we simplify it and try to retell it as briefly as possible, then the essence is this: the club turned a blind eye to the problem area in the center of the field for several transfer windows, waiting for the right moment to buy an Englishman. When this moment came, the bosses realized that the problem had taken on a systemic character during this time and could not be solved by Bellingham alone. So now he needs more money.

Henry and Werner were unaware that Jude would be asked for more than € 100 million. Or did they not look into the dressing room for a long time and not notice how Milner turned 37 years old, Keith and Oxlade-Chamberlain's contracts expired, and Fabinho turned into a pitiful semblance of his prime seasons? Henderson and Thiago are both 32 and will need replacements soon. This was going on, and the news of the abandonment of Bellingham was presented as if the need to purchase an entirely new center of the field arose suddenly.

Disappointing forecasts for the future

Liverpool has prepared to part ways with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino by signing Darwin Nunez, Cody Gakpo, and Luis Diaz and will have to reshape the midfield in fire mode. And in an environment where everyone in the market knows how badly the Reds need players. Last summer, the Merseysiders also guarded the "right" player. Still, Aurélien Tchouameni chose Real Madrid, and Liverpool limited themselves to Arthur Melo's one-year loan – the Brazilian did not play a single minute in the Premier League.

The Reds do not have a new Coutinho, who could be pushed to Spain for a record price, and the team bosses plan to keep their approach the same. So this season, with a sluggish fight for getting into the top four, threatens to be just a demo version of what fans will see in the coming years.

Chelsea is madly buying up everyone and everything, appointing a third manager for the season, City is beating Arsenal and is close to another championship thanks to the alien Erling Haaland, the genius of Pep, and the entire composition of expensive stars, United is organizing an auction of money bags among potential new owners, and Newcastle in the first season under the sheiks can fly into the Champions League. To live within your means and count on significant victories in such conditions is stupidity or complete madness.
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Liverpool has jumped above their heads in recent seasons thanks to the best possible investment of money earned in the transfer market, the players' progress, and Jurgen Klopp's ideas. Alisson and van Dijk were the best in the world in their position; with the help of enormous pressing, the attacking trio of Salah - Firmino - Mane became the most formidable in Europe for a couple of years, and Robertson, bought from Hull for € 9 million, upgraded to the best left back in the Premier League and organized with Trent race for a record number of assists.

It all worked because the team could afford one or two-point acquisitions yearly to keep the roster level. Now we need to change the whole line over the summer. The problems continue: van Dijk is no longer the same after the operation, only Salah remains from the attacking trio, and all the team leaders are over 30.

In a recent interview, Milner was asked what he regrets most about his football career - he mentioned the Covid championship after 30 years without winning the Premier League, after which the players could not arrange a traditional city parade. I'm sure that's what Jurgen, many other guys from the squad, and hundreds of thousands of fans on Merseyside dream of.

This is not the case when fate awards a second chance.