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FSG new regime won't allow transfer mistake Liverpool have been guilty of in the past

Liverpool's new head coach Arne Slot
-Credit: (Image: Massimo Insabato/Archivio Massimo Insabato/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)


It's one of the oldest transfer traps into which almost every club has fallen. And Liverpool will be mindful of avoiding tumbling after them this summer.

The warning? Never be persuaded to buy a player on the strength of a good showing in an international tournament.

With the European Championships kicking off on Friday in Germany and the Copa America beginning later this month in the United States, there is once again scope for Liverpool and other Premier League clubs to be seduced by performances on the big stage.

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The Reds will already have done their due diligence regarding potential transfer targets. But even allowing for that homework, there will be some players who, for whatever reason, haven't before been properly tested in such an exalted and high-pressure arena as a major international competition, and whose potential could be overstated by the artificial nature of simply having to show good form over three or four weeks rather than a longer, sustained period.

That's where mistakes can be made in the market, particularly when the clamour for certain signings grows among supporters. But while Liverpool head coach Arne Slot remains a relative newcomer to the transfer market, he will be working alongside seasoned campaigners Michael Edwards, Fenway Sports Group's chief executive of football, and Reds sporting director Richard Hughes.

The duo should ensure that, regardless of the obvious temptation, Liverpool avoid making the kind of missteps that have hampered almost every club in past years, including the Anfield side themselves.

Chief evidence of that can be seen with centre-backs Torben Piechnik and Phil Babb, who were bought after the 1992 European Championship and 1994 World Cup respectively but neither proved as successful at Anfield as they did in those tournaments.

However, the majority of players brought in after international competitions have either proven a success or were in any case long on Liverpool's radar. An early example was Patrik Berger, who scored for the Czech Republic in their Euro 1996 final defeat to Germany and, a few months later, began a long and successful Liverpool career.

Players don't necessarily have to have overly impressed at a finals to make their move to Anfield shortly afterwards. Vegard Heggem was unused with Norway at the 1998 World Cup while Xabi Alonso (Euro 2004) and Dirk Kuyt (2006 World Cup) were not regulars.

In 2010 Milan Jovanovic had already agreed a move to Liverpool before scoring a winner for Serbia against Germany in that year's World Cup while Raul Meireles, who signed shortly before deadline day that summer, was a regular in the tournament for Portugal. And more recently, Alisson Becker and Xherdan Shaqiri were on Liverpool's radar long before the 2018 World Cup after which they arrived, the same with Cody Gakpo following the 2022 World Cup.

And it's easy to forget that, for the 2002 World Cup, Liverpool agreed a deal for El-Hadji Diouf before the finals while a transfer was negotiated in principle during the tournament itself for Senegal team-mate Salif Diao. Neither were bought for what they achieved in the finals in Japan and South Korea.

Liverpool will keep an eagle eye on events in Germany and the USA over the next month. But they won't let the finals spark any rash transfer judgements.