Liverpool

Liverpool

Premier League • England

12 players Liverpool made a profit on in the Jurgen Klopp era: Coutinho, Solanke, Minamino…

Jurgen Klopp, Dominic Solanke, Philippe Coutinho and Takumi Minamino

Jurgen Klopp has seen the likes of Dominic Solanke, Philippe Coutinho and Takumi Minamino leave Liverpool for profit

Plenty of talent has come and gone at Liverpool during the Jurgen Klopp era, with the manager often developing players into profitable assets.

Under the FSG ownership, Liverpool have sometimes favoured a Moneyball-style approach, with the intention of buying players for low prices and selling them at higher sums.

It hasn’t always worked out, but Liverpool have had their fair share of success in the transfer market – even, sometimes, for players who weren’t able to make an impact for their first team.

Here, TEAMtalk takes a look at 12 players Liverpool sold while Klopp was manager – even if they joined before he arrived in October 2015 – for profit, as well as an honourable mention based on initial fees at the end.

Note, we have not included various academy players, unless it is clear what amount of money Liverpool paid to bring them into their setup from other clubs in the first place.

Dominic Solanke

Currently one of the form strikers in the Premier League, Dominic Solanke’s potential was spotted by Liverpool thanks to his performances in the Chelsea academy.

In the summer of 2017, Liverpool paid a modest compensation fee in the region of £3m to equip themselves with one of the country’s most promising strikers, who was still only 19 years old at the time.

Sadly, Solanke struggled in his only season as a Liverpool player, scoring one goal from his 27 appearances.

In January 2019, after not adding any more appearances, he moved to Bournemouth, where he has remained ever since.

Liverpool managed to pocket a £19m transfer fee for Solanke despite his struggles in front of goal.

It ultimately turned out to be a decent investment for Bournemouth, who have since seen him score 70 goals and counting in their colours, including 30 in all competitions during the season they won promotion back to the Premier League.

Reports have recently indicated that Bournemouth now rate Solanke as a £50m player, proving his exponential growth in marketability.

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Mamadou Sakho

A former Paris Saint-Germain captain, Mamadou Sakho signed for Liverpool in 2013, when Klopp’s predecessor Brendan Rodgers was still in charge.

Rodgers gave Sakho 51 of his 80 Liverpool appearances until Klopp took over, but things took a turn for the worse during the German’s first pre-season managing the Reds.

Klopp banished Sakho for not complying with team rules, due to issues such as a lack of punctuality.

The centre-back was frozen out for the first six months of the 2016-17 season, before he moved to Crystal Palace on loan.

Recuperating some form at Selhurst Park, Sakho prompted Palace to buy him permanently, for a fee of £24m up front plus £2m in add-ons.

Originally, Liverpool had only spent £18m to sign Sakho.

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Philippe Coutinho

Almost certainly Liverpool’s biggest success story in terms of maximising their profit for a player, Philippe Coutinho turned out to be a bargain at £8.5m.

The attacking midfielder had struggled to progress with Inter Milan, but Liverpool saw something in him and brought him to the Premier League in January 2013.

Over time, he began to develop some consistency, but once Klopp replaced Rodgers, Liverpool really began to see the best of Coutinho.

Klopp managed Coutinho in three different seasons, but they actually only completed a full one together, since the manager came in partway through the first and the player left partway through the third.

After 17 goals in 112 appearances under Rodgers and then 37 goals in 89 appearances under Klopp, Coutinho earned a huge move to Barcelona in January 2018, marking the end of Liverpool’s brief ‘Fab Four’ era in which he starred in support of forwards Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

The transfer fee Liverpool received for Coutinho was one of the biggest in history at an initial £105m rising to £142m.

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It came to be judged as even better business when Coutinho suffered a steep decline in form from his Barcelona spell onwards.

Whereas Liverpool made a massive profit on Coutinho, Barcelona made a massive loss on him, only recouping £17m when they sold him to Aston Villa.

Danny Ward

Liverpool spent £100,000 to pick up Danny Ward from Wrexham in January 2012, although he was originally a reserves player.

Ward waited until April 2016 for his senior Liverpool debut after loan spells with Morecambe and Aberdeen.

A further loan spell with Huddersfield Town in the 2016-17 season cemented his reputation, but he only followed it up with one last appearance for Liverpool in the following campaign.

Nevertheless, having become a full member of the Wales national team, Ward’s value was £12.5m when Liverpool sold him to Leicester City in 2018.

Takumi Minamino

Takumi Minamino originally caught Liverpool’s attention when playing against them for Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League.

Realising they could activate his release clause for just £7.25m, Liverpool took a chance on the attacking midfielder in January 2020.

Minamino wasn’t quite cut out for the step up, failing to score in his first six months at his new club.

Around a year after his arrival, he went on loan to Southampton, where he started to express his potential again.

Minamino then managed a 10-goal season in all competitions for Liverpool before bidding them farewell by joining Monaco for around £13m in June 2022.

Danny Ings

Danny Ings captaining Liverpool

Things didn’t work out for Danny Ings at Liverpool but they still sold him for a decent price

In 2015, the Rodgers-led Reds signed Danny Ings from Burnley, with whom they settled on a tribunal fee of £6.5m plus add-ons and a sell-on clause.

Ings suffered an injury-stricken spell at Anfield, only scoring four goals in 25 appearances, with just one goal coming under Klopp.

A loan spell at Southampton – where he had previously played as a schoolboy – rejuvenated the striker enough for them to buy him permanently in 2019.

Liverpool received £18m from the transaction, which even after giving £3.6m of it back to Burnley, gave them a healthy profit on a player they never saw the best of.

Allan

Catching Liverpool’s attention at a young age, Allan Rodrigues de Souza arrived at the club for £500,000 in the summer of 2015 from Internacional.

Waiting for a work permit, the midfielder endured loan spells with a multitude of clubs – in countries like Finland, Belgium, Germany and Cyprus – ultimately ending up back in his native Brazil with Fluminense in 2019.

Then, in January 2020, Liverpool cashed in for £3.2m, selling Allan to Atletico Mineiro.

Ben Davies

During Liverpool’s defensive injury crisis of early 2021, two reinforcements were brought in during the January transfer window.

Ozan Kabak joined on loan from Schalke and Liverpool also paid £500,000 to take Ben Davies from Preston North End.

However, Davies himself never made an appearance for Liverpool and went on loan to Sheffield United the following season.

After that, Rangers bought him for £3m plus add-ons, allowing Liverpool to significantly multiply their investment on a player Klopp never used.

Ki-Jana Hoever

Snapping up Ki-Jana Hoever was a minor coup for Liverpool at the time in 2018, even though it was just for their academy originally.

Several clubs of similar stature also wanted to invest in the defender and Ajax were gutted to lose him for a mere compensation fee.

Hoever only went on to play four times for Liverpool’s first team, though, until Wolves signed him in September 2020 for a useful £9m.

Kamil Grabara

After developing in his native Poland with Ruch Chorzow, Kamil Grabara joined Liverpool for £250,000 in 2016.

The goalkeeper graduated to Liverpool’s senior squad by 2018, but never got the chance to make his competitive debut.

He had a loan spell with Huddersfield Town in between two with AGF, until Copenhagen kept him in Denmark by paying Liverpool £3m.

Copenhagen have also turned a profit on the now-25-year-old, who will join Wolfsburg this year for somewhere around £11.5m.

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Marko Grujic

The first signing made during Klopp’s reign as Liverpool manager was Marko Grujic, a midfielder who joined from Red Star Belgrade.

Liverpool spent £5.1m to sign the Serbia international, who went on to make eight appearances during his debut season.

Midway through the following term, Grujic went on loan to Cardiff City, before spending the next two seasons with Hertha Berlin.

He then started the 2020-21 season back at Liverpool before joining Porto, who bought him for £10.5m after a loan spell, so the Reds effectively doubled their money.

Taiwo Awoniyi

Like Allan, Taiwo Awoniyi was unable to make an impact for Liverpool due to work-permit obstructions.

Liverpool paid £400,000 to bring him in from the Imperial Soccer Academy in 2015, but had to loan him out seven different times.

The final club to have him on loan bought him permanently in 2021. Union Berlin gave Liverpool £6.5m for the privilege.

Somewhat ironically, a year later, Awoniyi was able to sign for an English club, as Nottingham Forest broke their transfer record (at the time) to sign him for £17m.

The Nigeria international scored 11 goals from 30 games in his debut season at the City Ground.

Honourable mention – Fabinho

Fabinho’s last season at Liverpool was alarmingly underwhelming, but it didn’t stop them being able to make a decent return on him.

It feels like a long time since big clubs were able to announce signings almost without warning, but before Liverpool confirmed Fabinho’s arrival from Monaco in 2018, there was virtually no speculation that they were targeting him.

Completing the deal under the radar, they turned Fabinho into a cornerstone of their team after an initial investment of £39m, plus add-ons that would take the deal closer to the £43m mark.

Operating as a dominant defensive midfielder – and sometimes a centre-back when required – Fabinho helped Liverpool win plenty of memorable honours under Klopp.

Last season, he deteriorated in ability, which led to him being sold to Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad.

However, it was still for a superior fee (£40m) to what Liverpool had originally paid.

Furthermore, Fabinho became Liverpool’s fifth most expensive outgoing player of all time.

Given all Liverpool achieved during Fabinho’s spell there, it is likely most of his add-ons became active, so the £40m was unlikely to be a profit.

But to get such a similar fee after squeezing out much of Fabinho’s prime was another example of good business.

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