BERLIN, GERMANY - Saturday, July 29, 2017: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp chats with club owner John W. Henry before a preseason friendly match celebrating 125 years of football for Liverpool and Hertha BSC Berlin at the Olympic Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Analyst makes worrying FSG-Red Sox comparison over Liverpool contracts

As Liverpool show signs of ageing throughout their squad, one fan has made a worrying comparison with FSG’s other major venture, the Boston Red Sox.

It is rare that Michael Edwards attracts criticism for his work as sporting director at Liverpool, but there may have been a flaw in his work late on in the role.

Over the past year-and-a-half, the club have agreed a significant number of high-value contract extensions, tying down the core of Jurgen Klopp‘s squad, along with the manager himself.

Trent Alexander-Arnold was the first, followed by Fabinho, Alisson, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson and, following claims he could leave and intervention from Klopp, Jordan Henderson in August of last year.

Ahead of the current campaign, James Milner, Mohamed Salah, Joe Gomez, Diogo Jota and Harvey Elliott all put pen to paper, too.

But as Liverpool struggle for consistency on the pitch, with tired legs, minds and an ever-populated treatment room, data analyst Dan Kennett has spotted a concerning parallel.

In a thread on Twitter, Kennett compared Liverpool’s current situation to that of the Boston Red Sox after their commitment to lucrative contracts for the likes of David Price, Chris Sale and Nathan Eovaldi between 2017 and 2019.

As he explains, Fenway Sports Group – who own both Liverpool and the Red Sox – “massively changed their approach” in doing so, and while it helped secure the World Series in 2018, there has been little success since.

“The legacy of that win constrained them for years and they are yet to recover,” Kennett notes.

On Liverpool’s flurry of new deals, he adds: “The Edwards strategy represented an enormous financial commitment in terms of signing bonuses, pay rises and contract years well into their 30s.

Alisson is the only player who is maintaining the performance that justified the contract decision.

“The others are all showing signs of decline, especially physically. Some of it significant.”

From players used in this season’s Premier League, only two clubs have a higher average age throughout their squad than Liverpool (27.), those being Fulham (27.8) and West Ham (27.6).

League leaders Arsenal have the lowest (23.8), while Man City are around the median (26.3).

It should be noted that there have been moves to rejuvenate the squad with youth, including the deals for Elliott, Jota and Gomez along with the signings of Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz, Ibrahima Konate and Fabio Carvalho

Perhaps the current situation is more symptomatic of the miserable luck Klopp’s squad is experiencing in terms of injuries, putting more pressure on those ageing players.

But it cannot be overlooked how Liverpool appear to have now locked themselves into a fragile position if the likes of Henderson and Fabinho continue to decline.