FSG face Liverpool transfer change after John Henry apology - Ian Doyle

FSG face Liverpool transfer change after John Henry apology – Ian Doyle


The longer the fallout from the aborted European Super League proposal continues, the more mind-blowingly baffling the whole idea becomes.

And the greater the realisation of just how much in the dark key figures at Liverpool Football Club were kept regarding the controversial, ridiculous project.

Supporters, as ever, were the last to find out Fenway Sports Group – or more specifically, if we are to take him at his word, principal owner John Henry – were intent on making the club one of the 12 founding members of the breakaway league.

That’s par for the course with such matters.

Not quite so normal, though, was the fact prominent figures at Anfield only became aware of what was happening at the very last moment.

Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool boss, wasn’t forewarned. Nor were his coaching staff or his players.

And it has emerged sporting director Michael Edwards was similarly none the wiser until news leaked on Sunday lunchtime of the explosive announcement that was to come.

It was, to a large extent, the same at the other 11 Super League clubs, the owners of whom were compelled to rush out the Super League announcement ahead of UEFA confirming the Champions League reforms due in 2024.

But what happens at Real Madrid, Barcelona and elsewhere now is of little concern to key Liverpool personnel and supporters. FSG made a mistake and now they have to own it.

*How should football respond to the European Super League? Take our quick fan survey.

And while Wednesday’s apology from Henry was a first step in the right direction, there is an awful lot of making up to be done to Klopp and Edwards for temporarily unsettling their plans, and to supporters for threatening the very essence of the club.

The ECHO has already called for greater communication between the Anfield hierarchy and supporters. Not necessarily weekly missives, but certainly Henry and chairman Tom Werner should be heard from far more often.

There is, though, another way FSG can begin to atone. And it involves the driving force behind the ESL – money.

Must-read Liverpool FC news

For a start, any financial penalties for negotiating their way out of their ESL contract must come from the pocket of FSG themselves and not in any way via the Anfield coffers.

Indeed, there are claims the Reds will lose up to £8million having bought equity stakes in the Super League to help create the competition’s infrastructure.

Such losses should not be felt by sections of the club who had nothing to do with the ESL move and, if asked, would have informed Henry what an emphatically stupid and damaging proposal it was.

But the real way the principal owner of FSG can help build bridges – and, despite Klopp’s calm words on Friday, he will have been seething at events – is by bolstering their backing of the Reds boss in the transfer market this summer.

Sure, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic are still being felt. And there will be no Erling Haaland or Kylian Mbappe heading towards Anfield this summer.

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Klopp, though, knows the evolution of his squad must continue. Any targets will remain sensible – he has no intention of the club living beyond its means – but if a little extra funding is required, FSG should not think twice during the next transfer window.

And if a potential lack of Champions League football shouldn’t deter newcomers – they will be confident such an absence will only be temporary – the possible extra premium to tempt them to Anfield should also not be an issue for the owners.

FSG have said they are sorry for the needless ESL debacle. Now they have to show they mean it.

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