Jurgen Klopp has overseen some of Liverpool’s most productive transfer business of the modern era and admits that his recruitment philosophy is to seek out “world-class potential”.
In an ideal world those that he is looking to bring into Anfield will already be at the very top of their game, although it can be difficult to unearth such talent, especially when working on a tight budget.
Liverpool have been able to loosen the purse strings at times, with the sale of Philippe Coutinho aiding that cause, but they have always sought to bring in the right additions.
Among their success stories have been Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk and Alisson, while the likes of Jordan Henderson and Roberto Firmino have taken their respective games to new heights under Klopp.
That is a process the man calling the shots is proud of, telling the Liverpool Echo of his approach to transfers and collective improvement: “In football, there are two ways to improve. One is to sign good players and the second is training, but having time together is always good.
“We don’t start at minus 20 and say ‘by the way, set-piece, we do this, we do that’ and you have to explain to six players and you think ‘oh God!’. Having a basis is brilliant, but you need world-class players and if they are not world-class already, they need the world-class potential. That is what we need at a club like Liverpool.
“I think that is what we tried to do and it I think it worked pretty well. All the boys have improved a lot since we were together and that is what you have to do. So whatever we achieved, we did it because the boys always took the next steps, got more mature, got more confident and more convinced about the way we play.
“I think meanwhile, it becomes really natural for the boys and that is so important. For us, our big target was to qualify for the Champions League and it was clear we wanted to do that. But it’s the most difficult league to do this in, in England, but it happened somehow.”
Klopp has fared considerably better than merely qualifying for the Champions League, with that crown claimed by Liverpool for a sixth time in 2018-19.
The Reds have come a long way under their German tactician, but he insists that the foundations for success were there when he succeeded Brendan Rodgers in October 2015.
He added: “I didn’t look at it as having to change a lot. OK, it was clear that something is not going exactly how the people want it to go. I said it before and it is pretty much a famous phrase, nobody likes this team, not even the team likes the team, so that was something we had to change first and foremost.
“We have to feel the value they have, that they are in the right place and the right club and the history of the club doesn’t feel too much on their shoulders and all these things, so, those were the things we had to change immediately.”
Klopp’s side are now European champions and serious contenders for the Premier League title, with Liverpool currently on a run of 14 successive victories in the English top-flight.