LIVERPOOL would have been better off simply buying Southampton Football Club, rather than splashing £175million on six stars over the years.
The Reds take on Saints on Sunday afternoon in the Premier League – with a hatful of ex-St Mary's players set to line-up for Jurgen Klopp's men.
Amazingly, Southampton sold 80 per cent of the club to Chinese businessman Gao Jisheng for just £210m last summer… a fraction more than the Reds' recent signings.
In recent seasons, the Reds have raided Southampton for stars including Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana, Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk.
Rickie Lambert and Nathaniel Clyne are just two other big-names to swap St Mary's for Anfield – for a bill totalling around £170m.
Incredibly, an 80 per cent stake in the club – and all the players that fall within it – cost a mere £35m more… roughly the cost of Mane's move north.
The club as a whole, based on those figures, would cost closer to £260m – or perhaps more since the recent TV deal was signed.
With Liverpool using Southampton like a feeder club, we take a look at the players signed in recent years and rated their life at Anfield out of ten…
The first of the recent movers, Lambert "fulfilled a lifelong dream" in signing for Liverpool, in a £4m deal.
However, the ex-England man never really fired on all cylinders at the Reds, scoring twice in 25 Premier League appearances.
Despite being surrounded by stars including Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah in recent years, Lallana has forever been one of Liverpool's most consistent performers.
Despite showing flashes of brilliance at the Reds, the England man is all-too-often injured, blighting an otherwise strong career at Anfield.
So often the scapegoat, the error-prone centre-back was an absolute rock for Southampton.
While he has often faltered at Liverpool, he is also regularly one of Liverpool's best players, copping the flak somewhat harshly at times…
Another ex-Saints star on the books of Liverpool persistently stuck on the sidelines through injury.
Despite being out all season so far, Clyne has for so long been the Reds' best defender.
If it wasn't for new-boy Salah, Mane would be a no-brainer for the best player on Liverpool's books.
As it is, the Reds have paired their two rapid forwards alongside Roberto Firmino, to devastating effect.
A club-record buy this January, Van Dijk finally got his move to Liverpool.
While he enjoyed a goal and a man of the match outing on debut in the FA Cup clash with Everton, his form since has been patchy.
https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thesun.co.uk%2Fsport%2Ffootball%2F5551459%2Fliverpool-would-have-been-better-off-buying-southampton-than-splashing-170m-on-six-stars-like-sadio-mane-and-virgil-van-dijk%2F&text=Liverpool%20would%20have%20been%20better%20off%20buying%20Southampton%20than%20splashing%20%C2%A3170m%20on%20six%20stars” target=”_blank” title=”Click to share on Twitter