Liverpool have made a lot of good decisions in the transfer market in recent years.
Indeed, club recruiting has improved markedly since Jurgen Klopp’s appointment in 2015, followed by the promotion of Michael Edwards to sporting director about 12 months later.
The Reds have adopted simple strategies to ensure new hires have a platform to thrive, with Andy Robertson and Fabinho having time to adjust behind the scenes before taking to the pitch more regularly.
Kostas Tsimikas has been at the club since last summer but due to the constant changes in the center of defense he appears to have been protected rather than on the pitch with the Greek full-back likely to feature more often next year .
Liverpool are determined to give the new additions a chance which is one of the reasons they are so keen on signing players who have gone through the Red Bull scouting network.
Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig represent a similar brand of football; Pressing, intensity, direct play and young players are favored by clubs, who want the main selling points of their energy drink to be respected.
Ralf Rangnick was the man who led Red Bull’s football adventure after being brought in by former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier at the time, and he was tasked with implementing a football plan .
Once Rangnick was appointed head of sport and development, he set out to align the football team with the target market – people aged 16 to 25 – by recruiting young players with the skills to perform a radical style of play.
Rangnick has ties to Klopp, previously stating: “He [Klopp] doesn’t need to thank me, but it’s certainly no coincidence that he has four former players of mine, because it shows that he is looking for the same kind of players with the same strengths. “
“It’s a very proactive style of football. High pressing, fast, counter-attacking, exciting and most of all entertaining. Jurgen – like me – likes to press high with all four backs on the halfway line and it’s quite similar to my approach. . We’re not big fans of square and back passes. “
Indeed, the two are believed to be close and Rangnick reportedly gave Ibrahima Konate a commendation to Klopp’s question about the young defender.
This is unlikely to be the first time the two have discussed the players.
Takumi Minamino, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita all spent time under the Red Bull wing, with Konate becoming the last player to move to Anfield.
Liverpool’s decision to pay Konate’s £ 36million release clause means the 22-year-old would become the player to pass since Klopp’s appointment, excluding Joel Matip who played under Rangnick at Schalke.
By targeting players who have been trained to execute a Red Bull style of play, Liverpool essentially hedge against potential risks as these players have proven their ability to perform in a certain way.
The Reds could target a center-back with sacks of potential like Burnley, but his conditions on the pitch would change drastically once he got to Merseyside given Liverpool’s proactive approach to defense over how the team from Sean Dyche tends to defend in depth without exposure.
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Instead, the club’s recruiting team seems determined to add players already used to what Klopp asks of them.
There are several talents who remain under contract with Red Bull clubs that the Reds are therefore likely to follow, including Dani Olmo, Patson Daka, Dominik Szoboszlai and Christopher Nkunku, although any future movement remains to be seen.
Success is not always guaranteed; Keita encountered injury issues beyond his control at Anfield, but mostly performed at a high level on the pitch, and Minamino struggled for a number of reasons but cost only 7.25million pounds sterling at the club.
And now that Konate has signed on the dotted line, Liverpool are hopeful he will follow in Mane’s footsteps.