Rumours rose this week about the impending sale of Liverpool Football Club to a Chinese consortium before Christmas but these rumours were quickly dispelled. By who? None other than the Principle Owner of Liverpool Football Club, John William Henry, as seen below.
Liverpool have always been on the verge of a sale based on rumours from Social Media, and with Liverpool being worth over £1bil in terms of brand value, would Fenway Sports Group sell Liverpool? Personally, I do not think so. FSG have been hit and miss with Liverpool supporters, with fans wanting imminent success rather than build the club again from the ground up. Liverpool Football Club has always been in need of a hard reset in terms of what the club wants to be defined by, either its past or its future. The future is always more optimistic because, as time passes, the past becomes less and less relevant to the newer fans. With the recent addition of Jurgen Klopp, have Liverpool found a marriage with a Manager and Club Owners that go hand-in-hand? I believe they have and I will explain why/how?
First, a little bit of history on FSG’s acquisition of Liverpool Football Club in 2010. George Gillette and Tom Hicks were co-owners of Liverpool but were ousted by the board after a 3-2 decision went against them. They accepted defeat but left a £200m loan that required to be paid to Royal Bank of Scotland otherwise the club would fall into administration. Not all heroes wear capes and this was very much the case with FSG and John Henry as they purchased Liverpool for £300m and paid off the debt owed to RBS.
One of the complaints that Liverpool fans have had with FSG is lack of ambition. Since arriving in 2010, Liverpool have only won 1 trophy and that was the Carling Cup in 2012. Over £400m spent in signings but only one trophy to show for it. What makes me think that FSG are still the ones for Liverpool? One man. Jurgen Klopp.
When Brendan Rodgers, a young manager in charge of a young team which was the FSG model, was sacked by the owners, there were rumours afloat that FSG were not going to go down the route of another young manager but one more of a recognised name. That man turned out to be the charismatic German Jurgen Klopp. Klopp had taken Germany by storm and ended his tenure at Borussia Dortmund at the end of the 2014/15 season with the intention of taking a sabbatical. 5 months later, he was in charge of Liverpool Football Club. He said it was the only club that would cut his stay away from the game short and FSG ensured that Klopp signed on the dotted line.
Something that hindered Liverpool under Rodgers was the Transfer Committee. A group of people using algorithms to find players who had “potential”, sign them for Liverpool, hone their skills and sell them a at profit. This often meant that Rodgers was given the choice of players that he may not have even wanted but this is not the case with Klopp. Klopp has made it very clear that he gets final say on all the players and that he will not sign players unless they improve the team. But this is one of many things that LFC fans were very happy to hear yet it does not answer the topic; why are FSG and Klopp perfect for Liverpool?
Short answer? Longevity. Klopp did not join Liverpool for the short term. He is a manager that loves to see his players develop and improve while bringing the team success. FSG want to improve Liverpool as a brand, increase what the club means and redefine what it stands for. This has been shown in the players that have been signed and the progression the team have made as a unit with regards to finals. 0 finals in 3 and half years under Brendan but 2 finals in 7 months under Jurgen.
He also believes in what FSG believe in: the progression of Youth. Yes, FSG’s original intentions may have been to buy these young players in order to sell them at a profit but now, under Klopp, rather than hope these players turn into stars, there is the huge possibility that these stars may become winners of major silverware. Klopp instills that type of belief into players and evidently into the owners themselves as they gave Jurgen Klopp, Zeljko Buvac and Peter Krawietz (Klopp’s backroom brotherhood almost) new contracts in July despite just recently signing on in October. The belief is evident.
One of the things that I personally love about Jurgen Klopp is that he is almost the bridge between the fans and the owners. He knows what the fans want and he understands the way in which to project this to the owners. The ticket issue from last season where fans walked out of the stadium was huge for the Premier League. Klopp could have easily defended the owners for raising the prices of tickets but he did not. He resonated with fans more so than before by defending their right to protest.
Where will Liverpool go from here under Klopp and FSG? The hope is upwards and onward really but nothing is for certain in football. But the future does look very bright for the red side of Merseyside.