COMMENT: No wonder Kloppy's fuming. Mark McGhee couldn't believe it. Liverpool have missed one there, that's for sure...
We've since learned Jurgen Klopp gave his scouting staff at Liverpool both barrels. Seeing Oliver Burke scoot off to Germany. To RB Leipzig of all clubs. Infuriated the manager. Burke was your archetypal Klopp signing. An obvious talent. Just breaking through at Nottingham Forest. Not yet under the glare of the world's press. But had shown enough to warrant a bid. Yet, after tempting Loris Karius and Joel Matip away from the Bundesliga, Klopp copped some of his own medicine last week as RBL stepped in and nicked Burke from under his nose.
As mentioned, McGhee, Scotland's assistant coach, couldn't believe it. Speaking on talkSPORT yesterday, he was staggered that no Premier League club came in for the Scot.
"He's got a freshness about him. He's got great energy. He's six foot plus and as quick as anything. Why no-one in England took him is beyond me," said McGhee. "In two or three years you're going to have a major player."
Sounds like a perfect Klopp signing. Not for the here and now. But one to mould and develop for the near future. Which, when you look at the manager's buying history, is the model Klopp is working from.
But is this a blueprint for success in today's Premier League?
Of course, there's room for player development. To build teams and promote young players. But what about the star dust? That extra bit of quality that can transform a middling team? To lift a club scrapping for a Europa League place into a title challenger?
Klopp was billed as the one to smash down the doors for Liverpool in the transfer market. Players wanted to play Kloppy. Not Rodgers. Not Hodgson. Not even Rafa. It was Kloppy. He'd be the one. The icon. The transformative figure that the world's stars would rush to.
Yet, listening to Klopp's pleas for patience. His sniping at Manchester United for their world record outlay on Paul Pogba. He's sounding more like Arsene Wenger every day. Don't believe us? Well, how about this:
"Other clubs can go out and spend more money and collect top players. I want to do it differently. I would even do it differently if I could spend that money..."
That didn't come from the Arsenal manager's gob. That was Klopp. Just days after United had spent €100 million on Pogba.
Maybe we owe FSG an apology? It's not the transfer committee holding the club back. Nor the laptop wizards. Nor the pathetic Moneyball theory. It's the manager.
Okay, okay, holding the club back? Yeah, a bit of an exaggeration. Sure. But the concern for Reds must be that their club could be enveloped by a 'nearly man' culture. A good team. A pretty team. And one for a club unwilling to roll the dice for a big money signing:
"If you bring one player in for £100m and he gets injured, then it all goes through the chimney."
Yeah, again, that came from Klopp.
While commendable. Let's say admirable. And yes, we're trying to be as patronising as we can. Such an approach isn't going to win Liverpool the league in the current environment. Indeed, it can be argued that all it will do is reinforce their reputation as a feeder team, a stepping stone, for those around them willing to spend more on fees and wages. Raheem Sterling anyone?
Under Pep Guardiola, he's no busted flush now. Born in London. Made in Liverpool. And now a star with Manchester City. Who's next? Did Sadio Mane join Liverpool to win things? Or is it a stepping stone to a bigger stage?
That has to be the concern for Reds supporters. While Klopp begs for patience, insisting his philosophy will work if given time, others will not only be racing ahead, but tempting away any young Red fed-up being part of a nearly-man team.
It wasn't supposed to be like this. Frustrated at Borussia Dortmund. Having to constantly work in the shadow of Bayern Munich. Seeing his best players picked off by bigger clubs. Liverpool was meant to be the platform where Klopp could finally keep his team together. Attract top shelf players. And resist the likes of Bayern ferrying away his best talent.
But it appears nothing has changed. His approach at Dortmund is the same as he is driving at Liverpool. The problem is, in England, he's having to compete with four, five, even six Bayerns.
Which is what he'll find in two years' time when Burke has become that "major player". No wonder Klopp was fuming. We were wrong. He did want Burke for the here and now - because he two years' time the boy will be too big for Liverpool. That is, too big for its current philosophy.