REPORT: Jurgen Klopp has already explained why Liverpool won’t repeat £100m Chelsea transfer mistake

The list of the most expensive football transfers of all time is littered with unsuccessful signings and billions of pounds of money wasted. If it’s going far too far to label Neymar and Kylian Mbappe as flops, it’s fair to say Paris Saint-Germain didn’t make them the top two costliest players of all time merely to win Ligue 1 most seasons.

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The three Barcelona players in the top eight (Philippe Coutinho, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele) have all underwhelmed in Catalonia to varying degrees, while Joao Felix and Jack Grealish have yet to make themselves truly indispensable to their current teams. alhough there’s still time.

In amongst these questionable deals is another trade which looks to have gone wrong in the space of just 10 months. Ahead of 2021/22, Chelsea re-signed Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan for a cool £97.5million, yet it is now being reported that he has requested to return to the Italian side on loan.

With the Belgian’s apparent failure at Stamford Bridge despite a big money move, Liverpool supporters might be looking at Darwin Nunez and wondering if he is destined to succeed with their club. He has had one spectacular season in Portugal, but Lukaku had a much longer track record of high performance, signing off in Italy with 24 goals and 11 assists in Inter’s Serie A-winning campaign.

However, there is one key difference between the former Everton striker’s time under Antonio Conte and Thomas Tuchel. The former played to Lukaku’s strengths where the latter has not.

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At Inter, Lukaku formed a stunning partnership with Lautaro Martinez at the front end of Conte’s favoured 3-5-2 formation. They directly linked up to create eight league goals – for context, Liverpool’s best combination of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah fashioned six in all competitions this season.

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Klopp has flirted with a 4-2-3-1 formation in the past and has already seen of what Nunez is capable with those tactics, too. Nelson Veríssimo sent his Benfica side out in that system at Anfield in April, with the now-Liverpool forward scoring the final goal of a 3-3 draw. The Reds could play in similar fashion next season, with Nunez up top and Carvalho in the centre of the attacking trio behind him.


But whatever Klopp’s plan turns out to be – and pre-season will provide an indication of that – he will have a scheme in mind for how to get the best out of Nunez. As the Liverpool manager said with reference to his new forward once the deal had been completed: “He is as excited by us as we are by him, which makes for a great relationship, when you appreciate each other’s strengths.”

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From day one, this has not appeared to be the case for Lukaku and Tuchel. Liverpool might not be able to spend quite as much on individual players as certain other clubs, but they have a much more efficient strategy for maximising the talent of their big money signings. Nunez should be the latest beneficiary of their process.



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