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Pep Lijnders has his say on FSG – “No good manager without good ownership”

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Liverpool’s owners, FSG, usually receive a mixed reception from fans, but the Reds’ assistant coach, Pep Lijnders, has been full of praise for them.

You could debate the positives and negatives of Fenway Sports Group until the cows come home, and now Lijnders has had his say on their most recent transfer dealings, speaking highly of his bosses.

Talking to press, including the Times, the Dutchman said: “There is not a good manager without good ownership. The ownership invested in the squad where we needed to invest and that’s already a really good sign.”

He continued by explaining how the owners have put money in when required. “We knew we could invest and knew in the summer we would invest.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 30, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (L) and first-team development coach Pepijn Lijnders during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Cody (Gakpo) was a summer signing we brought forward to January (2023). We could do that early and it was great. If you look at the number of players we have brought in, that is really great.”

Lijnders reinforced his message during his pre-Fulham press conference, saying: “We spent a lot of money in the summer, we really invested in the squad. The ownership really brought in the right players.”

This isn’t an article to debate the nuanced good and bad points on FSG’s ownership, but it is worth laying out some of the facts to give Lijnders’ comments context.

Last summer saw the Reds sign Alexis Mac Allister for £35 million, Dominik Szoboszlai for £60m, Ryan Gravenberch for £35m and Wataru Endo for £16m. In the previous window, Gakpo cost Liverpool £37m.

With Fabinho and Jordan Henderson garnering fees upon their departures, Liverpool finished the summer with a net spend of around £94m.

However, this doesn’t take into account the significant wage bill decrease, due to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner, Roberto Firmino and Naby Keita all departing, too.

In comparison to the Reds’ net spend, which was their highest since 2018, Man City paid out more on signings in the the summer of 2023, as did rivals Chelsea, Man United, Arsenal and Tottenham.

Amid an injury crisis of sorts, compounded by Mo Salah and Endo leaving for international duty, Liverpool are being forced to play youngsters – which isn’t necessarily as disastrous as some make out.

Lijnders added: “Everybody searches for new targets or young players have to step up, like Curtis (Jones), Trent (Alexander-Arnold) and Ibou (Konate).

“When young players feel they have to do more, they feel more and more that it becomes their team.”