Since Jurgen Klopp’s arrival in 2015, Liverpool have gone on to become one of the most successful teams in club football, winning a Champions League and Premier League during his time on Merseyside. Despite their success on the pitch, the club has often been criticized for its transfer policy, which many argue has been overly conservative. However, a closer examination of the club’s net spend compared to their rivals since 2015 reveals that this criticism may not be entirely justified.
To begin with, it’s important to understand what is meant by “net spend.” This refers to the difference between the amount of money a club has spent on transfers (i.e., the fees paid to other clubs for players) and the amount of money it has received from selling players. In other words, it gives us a better idea of how financially responsible a club has been in investing in its squad over a given period of time.
Since the 2015/16 season, and the inception of the Premier League, Liverpool’s net spend has been relatively low compared to their peers. According to transfermarkt, Liverpool has the 10th highest net spend since that season. Look at the following breakdown for net spend and major trophies won since that season:
- Manchester United F.C. – -€957.38m (2015/16 FA Cup, 2016/17 EFL Cup, 2016/17 UEFA Europa League)
- Chelsea F.C. – -€839.20m (2016/17 Premier League, 2017/18 FA Cup, 2018/19 Europa League, 2020/21 UEFA Champions League, 2021 UEFA Super Cup, 2021 FIFA Club World Cup)
- Manchester City F.C. – -€802.69m (2015/16 EFL Cup, 2017/18 EFL Cup, 2018/19 EFL Cup, 2019/20 EFL Cup, 2020/21 EFL Cup, 2018/19 FA Cup, 2017/18 Premier League, 2018/19 Premier League, 2020/21 Premier League, 2021/22 Premier League)
- Arsenal F.C. – -€667.11m (2016/17 FA Cup, 2019/20 FA Cup, 2022/23 Premier League?)
- Newcastle United F.C. – -€489.17m
- West Ham United F.C. – -€467.94m
- Tottenham Hotspur F.C. – -€417.93m
- Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. – -€358.65m
- Aston Villa F.C. – -€333.49m
- Liverpool F.C. – -€307.30m (2018/19 UEFA Champions League, 2019 UEFA Super Cup, 2019 FIFA Club World Cup, 2019/20 Premier League, 2021/22 FA Cup, 2021/22 EFL Cup)
A look at this chart will show that despite the fiscally responsible nature of Liverpool’s transfer policy in this era of excess spending, they have competed at the highest level of club football with the highest rollers. Liverpool’s net spend since 2015 has been relatively low compared to their peers, but this has not prevented the club from being successful on the pitch. Instead, the club has focused on investing in a few key players and building a strong, cohesive squad. While this season has been somewhat forgetful, FSG (or any potential new owner) and Klopp’s team will seek to rebuild their squad over the next few transfer windows. If history has shown us anything, financially sensible transfers combined with excellent coaching and tactical planning will help Liverpool continue to establish itself as one of the best teams in Europe.