THE shock announcement that Virgil van Dijk will become a Liverpool player on January 1 in a £75m deal – a world record for a defender – means the Reds have now spent £166.5m on players from Southampton since the summer of 2014.
The Dutchman becomes the sixth player in that time to swap St Mary’s for Anfield, but not all of the moves have been overwhelming successes.
In light of van Dijk’s big-money, mid-season transfer to Merseyside, our friends at Football Whispers have ranked the other five acquisitions Liverpool have made from Southampton in the last three-and-a-half years, from worst to best.
5. Dejan Lovren – £20m – July 2014
Signed as the answer to Liverpool’s defensive woes in the summer of 2014, Lovren presence has only exacerbated them. The 28-year-old Croatia international has become a maligned figure inside Anfield thanks to continual errors proving costly for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Lovren has been a regular for the Reds since his arrival three-and-a-half seasons ago, starting 64 per cent of Liverpool’s Premier League games.
This could be about to change, however, as Joel Matip will likely be the preferred option to start alongside Van Dijk in Klopp’s new-look defence.
4. Rickie Lambert – £4m – June 2014
England striker Lambert fulfilled a boyhood dream when signing for Liverpool in 2014. The Liverpudlian hitman grew up supporting the Reds and rose from the fourth tier of English football to establish himself as a regular scorer at Premier League Level.
However, 32 at the time, he was brought in largely to play a backup role at Anfield, where it was hoped his experience, aerial ability and lethal finishing could offer something different from the bench.
His time on Merseyside lasted only one season, producing a miserly league-goals return of two, before he left to join West Bromwich Albion.
3. Nathaniel Clyne – £12.5m – July 2015
Amid reports of Clyne being a Manchester United transfer target, Liverpool’s snaring of the powerful full-back for £12.5m was seen as quite the coup in the summer of 2015.
The England right-back featured prominently in his first two seasons with the club, starting 70 times in the Premier League – including 37 of the Reds’ 38 league fixtures last term.
A back injury has prevented his participation so far this season, though, opening the door to youngsters Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez. Clyne will have his work cut out to reclaim his starting place once he returns.
2. Adam Lallana – £25m – July 2014
Like Clyne, Lallana has also had rotten luck with injuries of late, featuring in just 41 minutes of Premier League action thus far in 2017/18.
However, since arriving from Southampton in 2014, the 29-year-old midfielder has become a key player for the Reds, and his versatility – able to play as part of a front three, a No.10 or anywhere in the middle third of the pitch – is a huge asset for Klopp.
With a total of 17 goals and 16 assists to his name for Liverpool in the Premier League, the German coach will be eager to get Lallana back to full fitness.
1. Sadio Mane – £30m – July 2016
Eyebrows were raised when Liverpool forked out £30m to sign Mane from Southampton 18 months ago. The Senegalese forward had impressed at St Mary’s but many felt the fee was excessive.
Almost immediately, Mane’s exceptional form on Merseyside made such claims look silly. And, especially in light of further transfer market inflation, the fee now looks an absolute steal.
Whether on the left, the right or through the middle, Mane has been electric for Liverpool, scoring 17 goals and registering eight assists in 39 Premier League appearances.
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