Liverpool sit top of the Premier League and playing entertaining football under manager Jürgen Klopp, but things could’ve been disastrous if they made different signings last summer.
The Reds were coming off a fifth-place finish and looked in need of a squad rejuvenation, and they were linked with several players from around the world.
They ultimately brought in four new names — Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Wataru Endō and Ryan Gravenberch — while parting with a dozen players, but there were many that were linked to the Anfield side that didn’t become Liverpool players.
One such name is Moises Caicedo, who said he turned down Liverpool in favour of a move to Chelsea. Caicedo moved to Stamford Bridge for a reported £115 million transfer fee, a British record, and former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson issued a blunt assessment of how the saga turned out for his old side.
“On the way that Chelsea are playing, I think Liverpool dodged a bullet not signing Moises Caicedo this summer,” Lawrenson said while speaking to Paddy Power. “Last May/June, Liverpool had no midfield players, and we all wondered what was going to happen.
“It was funny in the match against Chelsea [on Wednesday], watching the Liverpool fans chant about the midfield players they didn’t get. The players Liverpool have signed have contributed in every way – there’s goals from them and they’ve settled into a nice three.
“Even Wataru Endō, who looks a little bit lightweight, has done well. I do believe that has a lot to do with Jürgen Klopp and the way that he manages.”
While Lawrenson was harsh in his assessment of Caicedo’s first half-season with the London side, he offered his sympathy to Chelsea’s manager for having to deal with a squad filled with a dozen new players.
“To be fair to Mauricio Pochettino, he has so many players. I don’t even think he knows what his best team is. If you have such a big group, it’s difficult to be personal with everyone. Is that arm around you laughing? People still love to play for him.”