Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has admitted that he would have been open to signing Romelu Lukaku from Everton if club rivalry didn’t preclude him from making a bid.
Lukaku, Alvaro Morata and Alexandre Lacazette all appeared destined for a move to the Premier League over the summer and joined Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal respectively, while Liverpool had to settle for Dominic Solanke, who had never played in England’s top division prior to moving to Anfield.
The Belgian has enjoyed a scintillating start to life at Old Trafford and will head into the clash at Anfield on October 14 with 11 goals under his belt after just ten games.
And Klopp, reflecting on his options up front, noted that Lukaku would have been an “interesting option” had he not played for Everton.
“We have Daniel Sturridge. We all know about his potential. Now he’s fit, so hopefully we can use it,” he said. “And we have Dom Solanke for sure the biggest English talent in the number nine position. That’s a fantastic situation.”
“Because [Alvaro] Morata is now really working and is a perfect fit, because Lukaku is the perfect fit for Manchester United, because Harry Kane is now scoring [for Tottenham], because [Alexandre] Lacazette is doing well… we had other things we felt we needed to do first.
“For us, the market was not really there. We had no chance for [Romelu] Lukaku. That would have been an interesting move. You cannot buy just because you think you will not score enough. We have enough chances and we will score.”
Klopp’s admission that, “for us, the market was not really there” is shockingly true statement. Liverpool are inevitably linked with big players but never sign any of them because, despite their unquestionably massive following, they can no longer compete with the Premier League’s elite. That is what finishing in the Champions League spots twice since the days of Rafa Benitez does, after all.
And United supporters should be thankful that, despite finishing seventh, fourth, fifth and then sixth following Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure in 2013, they continue to have the clout needed to lure the very best to Old Trafford – something Liverpool lost some time ago.