Michael Owen says the extension of Divock Origi’s contract last summer meant Liverpool would have been sending the wrong signal by then signing Timo Werner.
For months, it looked as if Werner would be heading to Liverpool after revealing his admiration for the club.
The German also insisted he would suit Jurgen Klopp‘s team and held talks with his compatriot earlier this year.
However, after financial reluctance from Liverpool, reports last week said Chelsea have agreed to pay Werner’s £50million release clause.
Several pundits had doubts about where Werner would fit in, with Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah forming a seemingly unmovable trio in recent seasons.
What’s more, after several high-impact goals last season, Liverpool handed chief back-up option Origi a new long-term deal.
Speaking to Premier League Productions, former Reds striker Owen admitted that that decision could have cost Liverpool.
“They’ve almost nailed their colours to the mast in terms of, ‘Right, he’s our back-up in case anyone gets injured’.
“Werner is a top player and I think if Klopp had the choice to have Werner come in as that fourth striker then absolutely he would.
“But you’ve got to balance it in terms of where we are financially at the moment.
“And I just think that probably Chelsea need him more.
“I think he’d love to go to Liverpool but I think Chelsea at this minute need him more and are willing to go that extra step.”
LIVERPOOL NEEDING ATTACKING REINFORCEMENTS?
Despite the likely failure to sign Werner, it remains likely that Liverpool will need strong back-up next season.
The Africa Cup of Nations has moved back to winter for 2021 and, amid the global pandemic, it remains unclear whether it will go ahead as planned.
If it does, the Reds will lose Egyptian hero Mohamed Salah, Senegal’s Sadio Mane and Guinea’s Naby Keita.
As such, Klopp will likely have to rely on Firmino, Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri – unless they sign a new attacker.
However, Bournemouth loanee Harry Wilson could yet come back into Klopp’s thinking after his loan with Bournemouth.