How Have FSG Been Able To Take Liverpool Back To The Pinnacle Of Football?
Since Fenway Sports Group purchased Liverpool Football Club back in October 2010 from Tom Hicks and George Gillett, the American sports company have long sought to bring the glory days back to Merseyside. Impressively, they have managed to do so over the last few years. However, their approach to doing so has been somewhat revolutionary within football. So, let’s consider how FSG have been able to take Liverpool back to the pinnacle of football.
Adopting a Baseball-Orientated Approach to Recruitment
Unlike other modern-day powerhouses in the football world, such as Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, the Reds owners haven’t placed purchasing established, high-profile names at the forefront of their recruitment strategy. In turn, it has resulted in the six-times champions of Europe enjoying a steady ascent back to the top of the sport.
Throughout the last decade, the club’s principal owner, John W. Henry, has seen a style of recruitment that first came to fruition in baseball take his football club to major titles. Much like Henry’s Boston Red Sox, Liverpool have embraced the Moneyball strategy. Fundamentally, the approach itself adopts a more statistically-driven method of generating player values. As a result, this theoretically enables teams with less financial flexibility to recruit players based on their on-field return, as opposed to their past successes or reputation.
Although this didn’t necessarily work in FSG’s early years with Liverpool, the strategy was evident for all to see. This became apparent when the Reds sought to purchase players, such as Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson, and Stewart Downing, who could deliver crosses into the area for Andy Carroll back in 2011, as the stats supported the idea that the £35-million forward needed pinpoint service to thrive.
Sensible Spending and Long-Term Planning
Despite mixed success upon trying to implement Moneyball in the first few years of their ownership, FSG and Henry eventually seemed to reach a point where the approach was yielding some success. Impressively, Liverpool’s numbers-based approach to securing their transfer targets has seen them capture talents who are now widely considered to be some of the best in the Premier League. This includes Mohamed Salah, who, as of June 5th, is currently 11/2 to claim his third top-flight golden boot come the end of the season with Space Casino football betting, along with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.
Moreover, the Reds’ transfer style, combined with FSG and Jurgen Klopp’s long-term thinking, has enabled the club to acquire a handful of young players for bargain prices. This is most evident with Andy Robertson and Joe Gomez, who, combined, cost the Merseyside club approximately £13.5 million.
Crucially, this low-risk spending has also become intertwined with the arrival of high-profile additions. However, such expensive additions have been made following the club’s ability to generate significant revenue, typically through player sales. For example, Philippe Coutinho’s potential £142 million move to Barcelona paved the way for Klopp to bring in both Alisson Becker and Virgil van Dijk. According to reports, the combined total for the now world-class defensive additions cost the same amount that the Reds were receiving for Coutinho, minimising the prospect of a significant net loss.
A Sustainable Strategy
Despite the fact that, over the years, FSG’s approach to the transfer market hasn’t also pleased the club’s loyal fanbase, their recent success cannot be ignored. Unlike other clubs in England’s top-flight, Liverpool don’t’ view high-risk spending as the solution to their on-field problems. Instead, the club place value-for-money additions, as well as internal coaching, at the forefront of their long-term plans. Ultimately, thus far, few can argue with the results.