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Gary Neville right with‘genius’ Jürgen Klopp and Alex Ferguson link but Liverpool change needed



Gary Neville right with‘genius’ Jürgen Klopp and Alex Ferguson link but Liverpool change needed

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp may only have won the Premier League once, but he’s still regarded as one of the very best to ever grace the competition.

Klopp has competed for the title three times but lost out twice, despite amassing a staggering 287 points over those seasons.

There’s an acceptance that the Reds boss would have built a dynasty in any other era, but had the misfortune of coming up against perhaps the greatest side in English football’s modern history in Manchester City.

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What’s more, observers have recognized that Klopp has achieved greatness with a fraction of the resources of his direct competitors.

Since the start of 2016/17 — the manager’s first full season at Anfield — Liverpool’s net spend stands at $297m (£236m/€267m), which, as per Transfermarkt, ranks it 10th in the Premier League, below the likes of Newcastle United, West Ham United, Wolves (which spent two of those years in the Championship) and Aston Villa.

By contrast, Chelsea, under the stewardship of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich before Todd Boehly’s 2022 takeover, has posted a net spend of $924m (£735m/€831m), and Manchester City has reached $742m (£590m/€667m).

Speaking recently on The Overlap, Manchester United legend Gary Neville drew an interesting parallel between Klopp and his legendary coach Sir Alex Ferguson.

Neville said Ferguson demonstrated his ‘genius’ by compiling a squad capable of winning titles with a ‘low spend, relative to the other clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City’.

The former right-back’s assessment is very much supported by the numbers. The table below shows the net spend (in dollars) of United, Chelsea and Manchester City between 2003 — when Abramovich acquired the West London outfit — and 2013 — when Ferguson retired.

We’ve only included Manchester City’s outlay from 2008 onwards, because that was when we saw the transformative Abu Dhabi takeover.

Season Man Utd Chelsea Man City 03/04 -3.4m 213m – 04/05 65m 201m – 05/06 30m 72m – 06/07* 12m 45m – 07/08* 75m 19m – 08/09* 48m -18m 165m 09/10 -97m 34m 148m 10/11* 15m 132m 180m 11/12 62m 82m 75m 12/13* 84m 106m 23m Total 291m 886m 591m Average 29m 89m 119m

The first thing to acknowledge is that the clubs are starting from different bases. Manchester United was the reigning champion in 2003, while Chelsea had just finished fourth, 16 points behind. Manchester City, meanwhile, placed as low as eighth in the 2007/08 season.

Initially, those clubs needed a lot more investment than Manchester United if they were to join the Red Devils at the top. That explains the initial eye-watering sprees, but doesn’t account for the sustained disparity.

José Mourinho’s Chelsea won back-to-back titles in the first two years of the Abramovich era, while Manchester City was competing for the top prize as soon as 10/11.

You can see that Chelsea’s overall net spend was around three times higher than Manchester United, equating to a seasonal differential of $70m (£56m/€63m).

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