Jurgen Klopp joined Liverpool in October of 2016 and promised to deliver a League title within his first four years in charge.
Ultimately the German failed in that promise but did secure a club record 97 Premier League points in his fourth season which was only good enough for second.
However, he would secure a sixth Champions League for the club last May and looks certain to end the 31-year Premier League trophy drought.
It cannot be denied that Klopp has transformed the club since his appointment just under five years ago.
This has been helped by a number of superb signings that have transformed the fortunes of the club.
Since his appointment, Klopp has overseen nine transfer windows, with 23 signings for £424,000,000.
While most have been a resounding success, there have been some mistakes. Below I rank five of the best and five of the worst.
Honourable Mentions; Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum, Joel Matip
5. Andrew Robertson – £8 million (Summer 2017)
When it comes to value for money, few will compare with the Scotsman who has been a revelation at left-back.
Admittedly, it took Klopp a while to favour Robertson over Alberto Moreno but once he was given his chance, ‘Robbo’ began to flourish. His first full season saw him help the side to a first Champions League final since 2007.
Last season he was named at left-back on the PFA Players’ Team of the Year before playing an integral part in his sides Champions League win in Madrid. This year he has continued in the same vein and alongside Trent Alexander Arnold, the pair are recognised as the best full-back duo in the world.
4. Mohammed Salah – £42 million (Summer 2017)
Mohamed Salah is severely underrated by all and putting him this low in the ranking seems criminal but I don’t think Salah joins if number three on this list isn’t signed and as such he is picked at four.
Regardless the Egyptian has been a revelation since his arrival in the Summer of 2017. In his first season at Anfield, he plundered 32 Premier League goals, breaking the league’s single-season record as well as securing the PFA Players’ Player of the Year Award.
He followed this up by securing the golden boot last season alongside teammate Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Salah would also open the scoring in the Champions League final.
This season he is once again Liverpool’s top scorer in the Premier League despite many labelling it as his worst season at the club thus far.
3. Sadio Mane – £36 million (Summer 2016)
Salah has probably outperformed Mane but the Senegalese man was Jurgen Klopp’s first big-money signing at Anfield.
While spending £36 million on the Southampton raised eyebrows initially, Mane has consistently improved season-on-season for the Reds, finishing joint top-scorer in the Premier League and fourth in the Ballon d’Or late last year.
However, his importance during Klopp’s first season in charge cannot be overstated as Liverpool secured Champions League football for the first time in three years, allowing the Reds to attract the likes of Salah and Virgil van Dijk the following season.
2. Alisson Becker – £65 million (Summer 2018)
The Brazilian has been a huge difference-maker in this team transforming Liverpool’s porous defence into one of the best in the world.
Had Alisson been in the team a couple of months earlier, there’s every chance Liverpool would have gone back-to-back in the Champions League.
His shot-stopping ability and distribution are among the best in the world and as seen in the Champions League quarter-final defeat to Atletico Madrid, his absence can prove catastrophic. For a goalkeeper to finish 8th in the Balon d’Or rankings is a testament to his quality.
1.Virgil Van Dijk – £75 million (January 2018)
What can be said about the Dutchman that hasn’t already been said?
He is the undisputed best centre-half in the world and there isn’t anyone close at the moment. He can do it all, is never out of place, is exceptionally quick for his size, excellent in the air, has a huge range of passing and gets a share of goals.
His leadership on the field has seen Liverpool go from top-four contenders to Club World Cup Champions in under two years.
The best player in the World not named Lionel Messi.
And the worst…
5. Ragnar Klavan – £4.2 million (Summer 2016)
Although he was somewhat of a fan-favourite, Klavan was not up to the standard required at Liverpool. The Estonian to his credit was rarely caught out badly which a plethora of centre-backs that went before him were guilty of.
Simply put, Klavan was not a good enough player to feature in a side clearly moving in the right direction under Jurgen Klopp. Perhaps if he had been fortunate enough to play beside Virgil van Dijk, he would have fared better as the likes of Joe Gomez and Joel Matip can attest to.
But at the end of the day, when Liverpool needed a dominate centre-half prior to the Dutchman’s arrival, Klavan was not the man.
4. Mario Grujic – £5 million (January 2016)
To be fair to Grujic, he hasn’t been given the chance at Anfield to impress. But as the first signing under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, much was expected of the then 20-year-old.
In the intervening years, the Serbian midfielder has made just eight appearances in the league. He has been on loan for much of his time with Liverpool, spending the 2017/18 season with Cardiff City.
He has spent the past two seasons with Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga. The 6’3 midfielder may still have a future with the club but this looks unlikely.
3. Steven Caulker – Loan (January 2016)
Definitely the most bizarre signing of the Klopp-Era.
Caulker was a regular at centre-half in the Premier League in the early part of the 2010’s with Swansea, Tottenham Hotspur, Cardiff City and Queens Park Rangers. During Jurgen Klopp’s first season in charge, he made the decision to take Caulker, who was on loan at Southampton, to Anfield.
His first appearance came against Arsenal in a 3-3 draw where he was introduced as a late auxiliary striker. He would appear in the same position in each of the next two games for Liverpool.
Although he played a part in Adam Lallana’s late-late winner against Norwich, the move was a resounding failure for all parties as he made just six appearances in total.
2. Naby Keita – £52 million (Summer 2017)
There is every chance that Keita will come good and develop into the player Liverpool fought off interest from Barcelona among others to sign a year prior to his arrival.
The Guinea international has shown glimpses of his brilliance in his two seasons at Anfield but they have been far too infrequent for the price tag that came with him and as a result at the time of writing Keita is one of Klopp’s worst Liverpool signings.
It must be said that Keita has suffered with injuries at unfortunate times. In April 2019 Keita was coming into his own with crucial back-to-back goals against Southampton and Porto before his season was cut short with injury.
In December 2019, Keita flourished once more with three goals in as many appearances, including one in the World Club Cup but injury in early January would once again curtail his run. Time is running out for the midfielder with patience wearing thin on Merseyside.
1. Lloris Karius – £4.7 million (Summer 2016)
Karius has got his fair share of criticism since he joined Liverpool and while his performances on the field were not up to scratch, the level of scrutiny the young German ‘keeper found himself under was unfair.
Like many on this list, he was just not up to the standard of the club and his arrival helped stall the progress of the club which has been shown since the arrival of Alisson Becker in 2018. Subsequently, he is top of the list.
But it was not all negative for Karius. He quickly established himself as Liverpool’s first-choice keeper ahead of Simon Mignolet on arrival but a dip in form saw him relegated to the bench. The following season he regained his place in the side and produced a number of positive displays.
However, an air of uneasiness surrounded the German whenever he played and two huge errors in the 2018 Champions League Final cost Liverpool the title and effectively ended his Liverpool career.
Alisson Becker was quickly snapped up and Karius was sent on loan to Besiktas on a two-year loan deal. He looks certain to exit the club in the next window. At just 26 there is plenty of time for Karius to improve and many clubs will be tempted if he becomes available. But Jurgen Klopp will not look back fondly on the Karius-era at Anfield.
*Transfer fees found at https://www.lfchistory.net/Transfers/ByManager/28/1