Jurgen Klopp responded to questions about reports that Liverpool have ended their pursuit of Jude Bellingham by stressing the importance of “guarantees” when signing players.
Supporters were disappointed to hear local journalists poor cold water over hopes of signing the Dortmund midfielder earlier this week, with many understandably left questioning the timing of the stories.
The midfield is an area the Reds will undoubtedly look to strengthen this summer and Bellingham looked to be the perfect solution to end years of speculation.
Speaking in Friday’s extended press conference, the manager hinted that a lack of “guarantees” play a factor in whether the club continue to chase certain players.
“Guarantees are important. If we go for it, will we get it? It’s important,” said the boss.
“If you put too much focus on something you only might get, then all the rest of the market could be gone, theoretically.”
While not making any direct reference to Bellingham, the implication certainly appears to be that Liverpool are placing emphasis on securing targets sooner rather than later this summer.
The German went as far as using former rumoured target Kylian Mbappe as an example of the void that can be left by missing out on a target towards the end of the negotiation process.
Klopp explained: “You cannot fight for Kylian Mbappe from now on and say ‘that’s the offensive player we want’ and realise then, in the end, he goes to Real Madrid or stays at PSG. For example.
“The prices, maybe you know it, maybe you don’t know it, and prices change over time, we just have to make sure.
“We have to make these decisions for the team, for the club. We cannot dream and be angry if we don’t get this or that.”
The insinuation appears to be that Liverpool are unwilling to compromise on progressing with alternatives if they do not receive signals that a move for the primary target is feasible.
“It’s a normal situation. You’re interested in a player, you think about the player and check if it’s possible,” Klopp further explained.
This stance appears to go some way to explaining reports that Liverpool have stepped away from talks, but doesn’t necessarily detract from the huge body of work that will still be required should the Reds choose to bring in several new midfielders.
Klopp will be looking to commence his summer rebuild at the earliest possible instance in order to have a full pre-season with new and existing players as he bids to turn fortunes around next season.
It remains to be seen how the club will go about replenishing the middle of the park in the transfer window, but Friday’s quotes may elicit more questions than answers among supporters.