It was a deal that took a lot of Liverpool supporters by surprise.
Sure, the Reds had been tentatively linked with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain throughout the summer of 2017, but as the transfer window approached its endgame, Liverpool showed their hand.
Arsenal couldn’t agree a new deal with the talented midfielder and Liverpool pounced. Chelsea were beaten to the punch and the Reds got a £35million deal over the line with hours to spare.
But Reds fans shouldn’t have been too surprised, this is a tactic Klopp, Michael Edwards and Liverpool’s recruitment team have long employed.
When opportunity knocks, they don’t hesitate.
A more recent example came in the form of Takumi Minamino, signed for a bargain £7.25m in January.
When news broke of the deal in early December of 2019, supporters were doubly delighted.
Not only were Liverpool signing a player that had directly impressed in two meetings with Jurgen Klopp’s side earlier that season but, after a summer of relative inactivity in the transfer market, the Reds were moving quickly to beat their rivals to an in-demand player.
For Liverpool, with a settled squad and trophies in the cabinet, this is the perfect approach to transfers.
And now, three years on from the signing of Oxlade-Chamberlain, it’s an approach that should – and perhaps could – shape the rest of the window.
Liverpool’s lack of activity has left many fans frustrated, and the defeat to Arsenal in the Community Shield may have exposed a squad in need of one or two fresh faces.
But the Reds have adopted a cautious approach to the transfer market so far, adding Kostas Tsimikas to their squad as competition at left-back and selling Dejan Lovren to Zenit St Petersburg.
The Reds are keen to ensure they protect themselves from any further financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic but, with an extended period to operate – the window will remain open until October 5 – those fears could be eased.
Prize money from the Premier League and Champions League will have been welcomed, and Liverpool will take heart from business elsewhere in the market as they continue to offload fringe players.
And don’t bet against the Reds moving quickly to surprise fans with a signing when they least expect it.
If Liverpool’s recruitment of recent years has demonstrated anything, it’s that Klopp and his recruitment team are not averse to a little bit of leftfield thinking.
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Nor are they reluctant to capitalise on a deal that appears almost too good to pass over.
This opportunistic approach has been a regular feature since Klopp’s arrival and the promotion of Edwards to sporting director has improved the channels of communication throughout the process of buying and selling.
Confidence has been built, with Liverpool now seen as among the top transfer operators in the Premier League and beyond.
Consider the window of 2018. The Reds raised eyebrows by triggering Xherdan Shaqiri’s £13.75m release clause at Stoke City, although the homework had already been done.
At the other end of the scale, when Liverpool were made aware the price for Alisson Becker had dropped somewhere near an accepted value, they wasted no time in agreeing a £65m deal with Roma.
The previous year, Andy Robertson was taken from relegated Hull City for less than £10m, while the Reds made the most of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s contract impasse at Arsenal with that deadline-day move.
And in 2016, more inside knowledge allowed them to snap up Joel Matip on a free transfer from Schalke.
Each transfer involved either a quick reaction or a clever piece of thinking from Liverpool. Splashing big money, though, was not a prerequisite.
Such logic could be applied to Thiago Alcantara’s situation at Bayern Munich. A quality player, just sitting and waiting to be recruited.
But as always for Liverpool in the transfer market, everything is weighed up before a move is made.
The Reds, so far, haven’t shown their hand. Anfield sources insist he is not somebody who is being actively pursued and, should Gini Wijnaldum or other midfield players remain under contract at Liverpool, that may not change.
Don’t forget, Thiago is free to sign a pre-contract agreement with any club of his choice in January and, with a reported price-tag of £27m, that won’t be lost on the Reds.
And while everyone is looking left, don’t be surprised if Liverpool go right.
It’s such thinking that has made Edwards and his team experts in the transfer market.
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