Liverpool v Arsenal. All change at Liverpool, or more of the same?

By Tony Attwood

The regular daily praise of Liverpool FC piece in the press today has taken a new twist, as shown in this comment in the Telegraph…

When Fenway Sports Group bought Liverpool in 2010, John W. Henry reserved particular praise for one English club. “I admire Arsenal very much,” Henry said, citing Wenger’s formula of creating rather than paying world record fees for superstar footballers while still qualifying for the Champions League every year 

It was another commentary that suggests that Liverpool is run by nice blokes who don’t spend money on players but unlike Manchester City have gained top position in the league by buying bargains and being prudent.

It is a story that is repeated very regularly and clearly the general word from the media is  that this is and always has been true.   I’ve regularly tried to counter this with a few facts, but facts are not exactly good currency in the world at the moment and we regularly get comments saying that Liverpool are not big spenders at all.    Yet the facts are all I have.  Here are the transfers from just the five most recent transfers…

Last summer

  • Fabinho, Midfielder — from Monaco, £40m
  • Naby Keïta, Midfielder — from RB Leipzig, £52.8m
  • Xheran Shaqiri, Winger — from Stoke City , £13m
  • Alisson, Goalkeeper — from Roma  £65m

There were no major sales to counteract this.  Outlay over £170m

Last January 

  • Virgil van Dijk – from Southampton, £75m

Fundunded and more by the sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona – £106m.   Profit £31m

Summer 2017
  • Mohamed Salah, from Roma, £36.9m
  • Andrew Robertson, from Hull City £8m
  • Naby Keïta, from RB Leipzig, undisclosed
  • Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, from Arsenal, £35m

Part funded by Leiva and Stewart for £5m each.  Outlay over £70m

In January2017 the club had no major transfers

In  the summer 2016

  • Loris Karius – Mainz – £4.7m
  • Sadio Mane – Southampton – £30m
  • Ragnar Klavan – Augbsurg – £4.2m
  • Georginio Wijnaldum – Newcastle – £23m

But against this they received £81.6m.  Profit of £19.6m

Thus the total expenditure minus sales income is somewhere around £190m.   So how come this story about the club not spending has legs?

The answer I think is that all Liverpool stories are believed.  It is rather like the story of Suarez’ buy out clause in which Arsenal bid £40,000,000 for Suarez, in accordance with the buy out clause in his contract.   For a very long time the Liverpool owner claimed there was no buy out clause and made a derisory comment about “what they are smoking” at Arsenal.

But of course liers need people to know how clever they are and in 2014 the Liverpool owner boasted at a conference that had lied persistently about the lack of buy out clause, and simply denied it because they wanted to keep the player.

It did make the papers, but the amount of criticism of the owners’ lies and indeed the boasting he did at getting one over Arsenal, was downplayed.  We covered it in a little more details in the 2014 article  Liverpool owner admits he lied about Suarez’ buy out clause

In this case Liverpool took the position that they were not selling, but also they took the view that they could lie to the world’s media with impunity.   And indeed they can because the media were not ready to go digging.   It’s Liverpool.  They are always believed.

With Liverpool the past is not just another country but a country in which stuff didn’t happen.  Does anyone now recall that in 2017 Liverpool were banned from signing any more academy players for a year because of their behaviour?

Or that in July 2017 the club was accused of submitting a falsified document to the Premier League when trying to lure a 12-year-old schoolboy from Stoke City.  They then failed to make amends for leaving the lad unable to play academy football and for leaving his parents in massive debts after Liverpool failed to pay his school fees.   Also the case revealed that the club was falsifying documents, as witness the fact that it instructed the parents not to date documents they signed.  The parents did not go along with this and Liverpool was found guilty of falsifying documents submitted to the league – by changing the date.

The father said: “What Liverpool have done brings shame on that football club. They have ruined my son’s career and left him in despair. He has been in limbo for a year now, thanks to the £49,000 price on his head, and is being blackballed by other clubs. No-one will touch him….

“The richest league in the world sells its dream of football to youngsters across the globe but its rules have created a nightmare for my lad.”

But such tales are of course history and what can be learned is that the Liverpool approach works.  Liverpool are only spoken about in the most fulsome and positive manner.   Thus it is of course an excellent way to maintain PR among newspapers that work on the basis that last week’s news is of no value.   And even more so if Liverpool is now up for sale.   This story of the sale emerged last month… and you can be sure that the compliant media will certainly not be reminding possible buyers about how the club has been run, nor that the constantly repeated story that over time Liverpool don’t spend money on transfers is actually not true either.



13 Replies to “Liverpool v Arsenal. All change at Liverpool, or more of the same?”

  1. God, still bitter about Suarez – Jeez, let it go will you, it’s not as though the clause in the contract couldn’t have been activated if Suarez actually wanted to join you, which obviously he didn’t.

    Your report about the up coming game is to try and attack Liverpool’s transfer policy over the past 4 years, maybe if you lot had bought a defender then you could concentrate on what you are doing instead of trying to deflect attention about being an also-ran

  2. you’re right, of course, tony, but at least some of that money has been spent well (alisson, van dijk, robertson, mané, … salah); and they play very pleaseant attacking football. which doesn’t mean we stand no chance whatsoever tonight: from the little we know about him (after all, it’s been only 5 months), unai seems better at preparing the team for that kind of clash, than for sweeping aside the likes of BHA, palace, soton. … about the media, there’s another nice piece by ronay on the guardian site:;; the lad does have a keen “football” eye, and the knowledge that goes with it. if i were him, i’d be wary, though, if he doesn’t malign us at some point in the weeks to come, he might already be halfway through ending his career at the islington gazette.

  3. OT: The Big Arsenal/Emirates Stadium battery

    A while ago, we had a thread which had some information on this big battery which was announced.

    I believe there was interest in how much emissions this might save. Ars Technica has a current thread discussing a recent study out of the University of California San Diego which was looking at electric storage batteries for houses.

    While there were some specific circumstances in which emissions were reduced, by and large they were not reduced.

    The facility at Emirates Stadium is going to be professionally managed, so they should have a better chance of reducing emissions. But the actual usage of the battery will involve at least some factors beyond the control of the operators of the battery. I suspect it will not be as good on emissions reduction as people might hope.

  4. Before I address the article I just wonder. Tony, after 4years you’re still whingeing about Liverpool refusing to sell Suarez for £40m+1. I don’t get it @all. Clubs sell their players if the price is right and the players want to go. In this case Liverpool weren’t satisfied with the amount offered, Suarez wasn’t bothered enough to push it. End of discussion, both parties walk away, yet you won’t let go Tony. Liverpool owner like lied,what business is it of ours? Arsenal owners are the standard for honesty? Or you are the honesty police? This is embarrassing.

  5. Arsenal: Leno, Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Torreira, Ramsey, Maitland-Niles, Iwobi, Aubameyang

    Subs: Cech, Koscielny, Elneny, Guendouzi, Willock, Saka, Lacazette

  6. And when was the last time you won the league then ball bag ? One of the sack Wenger brigade were we ? “We need a change we need our club back we’re going backwards blah blah blah, you got what you wanted you got served tonight, the worst arsenal team that has ever shown up at Anfield! It’s ok though you’ve got your club back that’s the main thing !

  7. @tony sorry this is coming late, I hadn’t found time to read your article about the Liverpool owner lying about the Suarez release clause. I read it when you published it but couldn’t be bothered to write a comment. Now I want to point out a few things
    1. You didn’t post a link to the interview Mr Henry is said to have given, we were supposed to take your word for it, a privilege even you don’t consider sound, you insist on evidence. Based on that i must say I take the statements attributed to Mr him the article as possibly less than the whole truth.
    2. Even if Mr Henry did say that, he is entitled to say anything. He might have been lying when he said there was a binding clause. he could have made 2contrasting statements depending on what his aims were at individual moments, we wouldn’t know which was the truth.
    3. The only way we would know the truth is to scrutinize the wording of the contract. I believe the Arsenal party, the Liverpool guys, Suarez’s agents/lawyers and representatives of the PFA would have done that. And if they came to the conclusion that the clause didn’t compel Liverpool to sell, then that’s the most probable truth. Not what Mr Henry says, certainly not what you have continued to bleat about for the past 4years. I believe if that were not the case, the lawyers would have known what to do about it

  8. I think your claim is ludicrous. In the article I linked to I gave the detail of the exact place where the quote was made, and the quote itself. If you are disbelieving of that, all you have to do is type it into a search engine, or look up the speech for yourself. It would take but a second or two to find the quotes turning up in places like the Guardian and if you want to go further get the whole speech from the event. My objection is to people who simply would say “He didn’t have a buy out clause” or “he did have a buy out clause”. But to require citations at the level you now seek would make the articles read as they would in an academic journal, which this clearly is not.

  9. Now you reference a link, would be better to do it in the article, I think it’s pointless debating whether or not that’s necessary, because in points 2 & 3 of my comment, I go on to state what is important.
    Have a great new year ahead Tony

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