Jamie Carragher has given his reaction to Liverpool failing to sign Jude Bellingham, blaming Jurgen Klopp for the transfer miss and revealing how many midfielders must be captured instead.
Liverpool previously decided on Bellingham as their main target for the summer transfer window. He was viewed as being the ideal player to revamp their midfield, providing it with more energy, reliability and goals.
Liverpool chiefs always knew it was going to be an ambitious pursuit given the fact Bellingham is wanted by Manchester City and Real Madrid, plus the huge money involved.
And on April 11, Liverpool admitted defeat in their bid to sign the England star. Various sources including the The Telegraph and The Guardian revealed Liverpool had decided Bellingham would be too expensive.
Borussia Dortmund will likely demand between £115-135million for their prized asset. Completing a deal for such a price would take up most of Klopp’s transfer budget, preventing him from improving other areas such as the defence.
Liverpool are also wary of getting into a bidding war for Bellingham, with City and Real able to offer huge amounts of money for the 19-year-old.
The Merseyside outfit are now considering alternative options, such as Chelsea ace Mason Mount, Ryan Gravenberch of Bayern Munich and Lovro Majer of Rennes.
While those three midfielders are all talented, they are not quite at Bellingham’s level.
Carragher discusses Liverpool transfer miss
During an appearance on The Overlap, Gary Neville asked Carragher if he was disappointed by Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, not putting up enough money to land Klopp’s priority target.
But Carragher instead turned the blame on Klopp. “No, no. I was disappointed by Klopp,” the former centre-back replied. “Liverpool did not buy a midfield player last summer. As a fan-base, we were waiting for Bellingham.
“It wasn’t said in public, but we know in Liverpool circles we were waiting for the right one. Liverpool didn’t exactly throw this season away, but they’re short in midfield and we accepted that because they have done that before; they did it with [Virgil] van Dijk and Alisson the goalkeeper.
“So then three quarters into the season you say we are not going to go for Bellingham. It’s not because the finances [aren’t there]. If Klopp wants to sign Bellingham he can sign Jude Bellingham if he wants to come.”
Carragher went on to explain that Liverpool will need to sign three or four new stars to make up for Bellingham’s huge impact.
“I accept we haven’t got the money of Man City, Chelsea or at Manchester United, but what we have got is people who know what they are doing,” he added. “Chelsea have spent loads of money and haven’t got a clue what they are doing.
“In an ideal world, I would want loads of money, but I would still want what they are doing in terms of that decision-making, expertise. The idea of every owner is not spending loads of money, it’s making the correct decisions and when you need to spend money, you do it.
Klopp blamed for ‘planning problem’
“With the piece you [Neville] mention about me being critical, I was as critical about Jurgen Klopp and their staff with this [Bellingham] because this is a planning problem. You go from thinking you need one player to actually needing three or four.
“You then miss out on this marquee player. We know we are not Chelsea or United, but every now and then you just have to go ‘bumph’ and buy a top player to send a message to everyone else. Bellingham is probably the best young player out there right now.”
Liverpool fans will be eagerly waiting to see which midfielder the club manages to bring in instead of Bellingham. Gravenberch would probably be the ideal choice for many, although it will be hard to sign him as Bayern are not keen on selling.
There is still the possibility of Bellingham ending up at Anfield, despite Liverpool’s recent setback. There have been rumours Bellingham might stay at Dortmund for another season before pushing for a Liverpool transfer in summer 2024.