Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville have criticised Liverpool’s activity in the transfer market with Chelsea seemingly set to buy both of their main midfield transfer targets.
On Monday night, Chelsea confirmed the £115m signing of Moises Caicedo in a British transfer record, despite Liverpool agreeing a £111m deal last week.
Meanwhile, the Reds agreed a £60m deal for Romeo Lavia earlier in the day, but Sky Sports News understands the player’s preference is to go to Stamford Bridge, even though a deal with Chelsea has yet to be agreed.
Their transfer activity – or lack of – means Liverpool have begun the Premier League season short in midfielders for the second year in a row having let Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Naby Keita, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Arthur Melo go and bringing in only Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister.
Carragher described Liverpool’s summer as “an absolute mess, a joke and embarrassing” on Monday Night Football.
Asked where the day’s transfer activity leaves Liverpool, the Sky Sports pundit said: “In a pretty difficult place, people know they are desperate.
“They put a bid in for Lavia today for £60m when they refused to pay £50m four or five days ago. It’s an absolute mess and a joke.
“The biggest problem about it is that Liverpool have known they have needed midfield reinforcements since August of last season, 12 months ago. So to not have things in order…”
Carragher believes the source of Liverpool’s woes is down to their lack of a regular sporting director. Michael Edwards, who oversaw a great deal of success at Anfield from 2016, stepped down at the end of the 2021-22 campaign and while his assistant Julian Ward stepped up to the position, his replacement lasted just one season.
Jorg Schmadtke was appointed as a temporary option at the end of May, with the German transfer chief on a short-term deal which will be reviewed later this year.
But Carragher refused to land the blame at the feet of Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group.
“People think I defend FSG, I have no relationship with them at all, but this is not on the owners. The structure of the football club.
“When Liverpool were winning the Premier League and got to Champions League finals, what were they doing? They were not spending as much money as the other teams, but they were producing good players.
“Yes, they’ve got a great manager but they had Michael Edwards at the top of the club as director of football, and a transfer committee beneath them. It worked. He left.
“His No 2 then took over and was in the job for six months then he left. You have to ask the reason why they’re moving on from the football club. I don’t know what’s behind the scenes.
“Schmadtke has become in and he has a relationship with Jurgen Klopp – but he’s only there for the summer. That’s all he’s there for and then moves on.
“They haven’t got deals done – that is your job in that role, to get deals over the line. The two players they bought had buy-out clauses, there’s no negotiation, no big deal to go about it, you just meet the buy-out clause. So Liverpool have not got big deals over the line and it’s been embarrassing.
“That’s why I will not be critical of the owners – they were willing to pay £111m and break the transfer record. To start with Lavia, not pay a certain amount, to then go to Caicedo and then go back to Lavia, it’s an absolute mess, a joke and it’s embarrassing.”
Neville: This is very un-Liverpool-like – they’ve got a big problem
Meanwhile, Neville believes Liverpool have a big problem in the remaining three weeks of the transfer window and was stunned they let Henderson and Fabinho depart to Saudi Arabia without sorting their replacements first.
“If Chelsea buy both of those players, there will be massive questions like at Liverpool asked based on what’s happened. in the last week. This is very un-Liverpool-like,” Neville said.
“We know Chelsea have spent big money, but for them to beat Liverpool to both players, it would be absolutely stunning.
“They’ve let Milner, Henderson and Fabinho go before they’ve got someone in, which what I thought Liverpool were quite smart at is bringing the people in before they expose themselves. Obviously, Milner left and they got two fees for those two.
“They’ve got a big problem now, they’re going to be panicking in the transfer window over the next three weeks. Liverpool don’t do that under Jurgen Klopp. They’ve been so smooth and efficient in the transfer market. I don’t know how that’s happened, obviously, it’s to do with personnel.”
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