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The best transfers Liverpool completed under Michael Edwards

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Liverpool were desperate to get Michael Edwards back at the club, and looking at his track record, it’s easy to see why. 

The 44-year-old was previously at the club for over a decade, and for much of that time he was a highly successful sporting director.

“He is credited with building an industry leading football operations team, marrying a data led approach with scouting and intelligence to revolutionize the organization’s recruitment, player trading, squad planning and major football led decision making,” Fenway Sports Group said in their statement announcing Edwards would be their new CEO of football.

Of course, not every deal he oversaw was a hit; the likes of Dominic Solanke, Xherdan Shaqiri, Naby Keita and Takumi Minamino never quite worked out. But Edwards’ wins in the transfer market way outweighed the defeats.

So, let’s take a look at the four signings and one sale that defined Michael Edwards‘ time at Anfield.

Mo Salah – £34m from Roma (2017)

As first transfer windows go, Edwards nailed it with the signing of Mo Salah. Jurgen Klopp was keen on Julian Brandt, but the sporting director convinced him the Egyptian winger was a better bet – and how right he was.

Salah made an instant impact, scoring 32 goals in his maiden Premier League campaign, and has forged iconic status for himself at the club. Edwards couldn’t have possibly predicted just how good the former Chelsea player would be, but he knew he had a real gem on his hands after studying the underlying numbers behind his impressive performances in Serie A.

That same window Andy Robertson arrived, another lynchpin in Klopp’s ultra-successful side over the past seven years.

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Philippe Coutinho – £105m (rising to £142m) to Barcelona (2018)

Few would have believed it at the time, but selling Philippe Coutinho was the best decision Liverpool could have possibly made. Let’s rewind to 2017.

The Brazilian playmaker submitted a transfer request after Liverpool rejected a £72m bid from Barcelona. La Blaugrana made improved offers, but the Reds weren’t for moving.

Coutinho stayed put until the winter, and even captained the team on a couple of occasions, before Barcelona returned in January with a massive £105 million bid, which was accepted.

Many felt Liverpool had sold their best player, but he couldn’t replicate his best form for the Catalan outfit and failed to justify his hefty price tag. They had robbed Barcelona blind, and put that money to very good use, as we’ll see.

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Virgil van Dijk – £75m from Southampton (2018)

Arguably the most important signing of the Jurgen Klopp era, Liverpool nearly bungled the capture of Virgil van Dijk altogether after it emerged the club were in contact with the player without Southampton’s permission.

That put the brakes on the move, even though the Dutchman had put in a transfer request. He finally got his wish in January, moving for the somewhat inflated price of £75m, although Reds fans won’t care – he’s been worth every penny to them.

Klopp’s exciting but loose team lacked a backbone, something Van Dijk provided immediately, turning Liverpool from pretenders into legitimate contenders and, ultimately, serial winners.

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Fabinho – £39m from Monaco (2018)

This one goes a little bit under the radar when compared with the signings of Salah and Van Dijk, but Fabinho was every bit as important. He provided the glue between defence and attack, ensuring the team was a balanced unit that could consistently win games.

The Brazilian arrived right after Liverpool lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League final, but he helped them get over that disappointment by winning the following year’s decider against Spurs in the city of Madrid, of all places.

Fabinho left Merseyside earlier than expected, joining the exodus to the Saudi Pro League last summer while earning Liverpool a reported £40m transfer fee to reinvest in the squad. But an inconsistent final season at Anfield showed it was probably the right time to move on.

Alisson Becker – £56m (rising to £67m) from Roma (2018)

No spine of a great team is truly complete without a rock solid goalkeeper, which Liverpool lacked for so long. Simon Mignolet was a good shot stopper but had an awful habit of letting in clangers, while Loris Karius would be forever tainted by his error-ridden performance in the 2018 Champions League final.

After making another howler in a pre-season game, Liverpool decided that enough was enough and they needed to replace the German netminder. And they had just the man in mind.

Liverpool had long been linked with Alisson, who was playing exceptionally well for Roma at the time. But it appeared they had given up on being able to do a deal due to the Italian outfit’s demands.

It was the Reds who blinked first, realising they simply had to have a world-class ‘keeper between the sticks if they were to challenge for the biggest prizes, and shelled out a world-record transfer fee for the Brazilian. (This record was broken just days later when Chelsea signed Kepa Arrizabalaga for over £71m).

In the end, they were completely justified in spending that type of money. Alisson’s shot stopping has saved Liverpool on many an occasion, but his distribution has also been a massive asset to the team. He’s managed to provide a few assists and even scored a vital in the 2020/21 campaign to help the side qualify for the Champions League.

Considered the best goalkeeper in the world, Alisson is still contracted to the club until 2027.

Read – Michael Edwards reveals key reason behind Liverpool return

See Also – Assessing the run-in for the Premier League title race

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