The ex-Reds midfielder has refuted any suggestion that Jurgen Klopp bought for the sake of it, with “top-level” signings not available in January
Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak were not panic buys by Liverpool says Jason McAteer, who says Jurgen Klopp recruited shrewdly with “top-level” centre-half options such as Dayot Upamecano and Kalidou Koulibaly “out of range”.
The Reds were in desperate need of defensive additions as another winter deadline approached, with untimely injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Fabinho leaving them short on options.
Klopp dipped into the Championship ranks to prise Davies away from Preston, before turning to his native Germany for Turkey international Kabak – who has been taken on an initial loan from Schalke.
It has been suggested that stopgap additions have been made at Anfield, with the reigning Premier League champions expected to rekindle interest in Upamecano and Koulibaly at some stage.
They were not available in January, and McAteer believes Klopp did a fine job with the options available to him.
The former Liverpool midfielder told FreeSuperTips: “The January transfer window is always a tricky period to sign players and clubs like to inflate the price. If a club is looking at signing players midway through the season, they’re doing it because they need them, which means there is a premium on the players’ fee.
“Liverpool were desperate for a centre back, which everyone knew about, so the top-level players they would be looking at, aren’t available right now at the price they would want to pay.
“You have Dayot Upamecano and Kalidou Koulibaly that everyone keeps talking about and they aren’t going to be let go for cheap money.
“RB Leipzig won’t want to sell Upamecano as they’re still in the Champions League, facing Liverpool, they want £50 million ($68m) for him, Koulibaly is reportedly up for £70m ($96m), which is out of range for most clubs right now.
“Everyone throws a few extra million onto a player’s price when they know a club is desperate.
“You can’t question Liverpool’s recruitment. Since Jurgen Klopp has been the manager, there’s only been one or two that haven’t worked out.
“Davies has always been on Liverpool’s radar, he’s 25 and has played a lot of football in his career. He’s been in the right place to learn his trade and there was talk about a couple of clubs that were interested in him, as well as Liverpool.
“For Liverpool, signing Davies is a long-term project. I can’t see him being thrown into the team straight away, especially with Nathaniel Phillips doing well currently. Jurgen Klopp won’t take him out of the team over Davies.
“With Kabak, he’s young and is coming with a lot of potential. We all know Jurgen Klopp has got a lot of friends in football who are advising him and are watching players around the world. He’s listened to his friend, David Wagner, who has sung Kabak’s praises and rates the defender highly.
“Kabak is a full Turkish international, having made seven appearances for the first team, he’s good in the air, good at set pieces, and Liverpool now gets the option to get a good look at him to see if they want to buy him in the summer.
“I wouldn’t say Liverpool have panic bought by bringing in two centre backs on deadline day, I believe it’s a good bit of business done by the club.”
Liverpool, who have used club captain Jordan Henderson as a makeshift centre-half over recent weeks, will be back in action on Sunday in a crunch clash with fellow title hopefuls Manchester City.