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Klopp wrong? Why Liverpool NEED big name signing to ease tension

COMMENT: Ragnar Klavan to Liverpool? It doesn't exactly set the pulse running. But let's not dub him 'Cliff Klavan' just yet.

Thirty years old. An Estonian centre-half. From little Augsburg. A five million quid signing. Not one for the future. Not even one for the here and now. Just a backup, apparently. But there's a little more to Klavan...

Twelve months ago, he turned down Everton. A decision which was made on the back of helping Augsburg finish fifth in the Bundesliga - ahead of Jurgen Klopp's Borussia Dortmund - and qualify for the Europa League. Just cover for the main acts? Don't be so sure. Think Stephane Henchoz. Even Gary Gillespie. A tough, consistent, experienced stopper. No frills, sure. But also one Klopp can be sure about.

He argued his case last week. Klopp knows there's a restlessness amongst the support. That star dust he was expected to sprinkle over Melwood is still to arrive. Sadio Mane is promising. As are Joel Matip and Loris Karius. But that's all it is at the moment, promise. Potential. A hope that these additions will develop into world-beaters.

But are Liverpool just treading water? A top four finish should be the least Klopp is shooting for this season. But while he's welcomed Mane and Matip through the Shankly Gates, Manchester United have taken Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Chelsea now boast N'Golo Kante. All three giants finished outside the Champions League places last season. Chelsea and United are acting like clubs determined to right wrongs - and instantly. Liverpool? They already look off the pace. It's difficult to see how any of the new additions can transform them from a top eight team to a top four.

It was a good speech from Klopp. Nice words. Talking about team spirit above big names. But 24 hours on, Antonio Conte was saying the same thing at his Chelsea presentation - and a couple days later was welcoming Kante from champions Leicester. Klopp's not unique. Mourinho has also talked about unity and spirit all the while bringing in Miki, Zlatan and Eric Bailly.

Okay, so Liverpool aren't Chelsea or United. They do things differently on Merseyside. Read between the lines and this is the angle Klopp was appealing to. Spirit. Foundations. Building something from the ground up. But that shouldn't mean FSG get away with hiding their chequebook.

Think of the excitement (if you can go back that far!) when King Kenny brought in John Barnes, Peter Beardsley and Ray Houghton and blew English football away. That was almost 30 years ago. But that was Dalglish breaking a spending record to land Beardsley. Klopp will be across all this. He'd have been in his teens watching all this happen. The German can't tell the Kop that buying big names and shaking up the market isn't in the Liverpool lexicon.

Yeah, the landscape's changed. Liverpool aren't the club they were 30 years ago. But that's a false flag. The landscape across the Premier League has changed - and for the better. It's why we're learning from Madrid that West Ham are speaking with Jorge Mendes about James Rodriguez. Why Leicester City are champions. And why Crystal Palace had a bid of €38 million accepted by Marseille for Michy Batshuayi. Just what is going on inside Anfield?!

Klavan could be the next Henchoz - or even Sami Hyypia. Klopp is asking the faithful to trust him. But for fans, the restlessness is there. And who could blame them when looking around the league? And it's not just the support that need convincing...

You can't find a bigger defender of Liverpool in the media than Tony Evans. Once of The Times, now with the London Evening Standard. Evans, for the press, is Mr Liverpool. And Klopp, for him, was king.

Yet, on talkSport's Press Pass on Sunday, he stunned us. Questioning Klopp's reputation. The six-year deal he'd just signed. Basically, whether Kloppy was all mouth and no trousers.

From Evans, this was a stunner. And confirmation that the gut feeling we had about a growing cynicism about the workings at Liverpool actually exists. If they've lost someone as loyal as Evans, you know something is broken inside Anfield.

For his own sake, Klopp needs a big name deal. And for Liverpool, they need a player capable of lifting standards. At the moment, LFC are treading water. And in today's Premier League, if you're doing that, you're going backwards.


INJURY TIME

Jordon Ibe. So, have Liverpool just made a killing offloading a permanent reserve for £15 million? Or have they just strengthened a direct rival?

If Lewis Cook, the former Leeds United midfielder, had chosen Liverpool last week, it wouldn't have caused a ripple. Talented, young local lad with a growing reputation. He'd be a nice fit at Anfield.

But like Ibe, he signed for Bournemouth. And we hear Lys Mousset, by his own admission, chose Cherries over offers from Arsenal and Tottenham.

So have Liverpool actually just sold one of their best young players to a direct rival?

There's still six weeks to run of the summer market, plenty of time for LFC's infamous transfer committee to put such an argument to rest. But on current evidence, would you be holding your breath?

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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