Liverpool’s return to the top end of the table after spending years treading water and enduring the despair of mid-table obscurity has been remarkable.
The transition started by Brendan Rodgers and finished by Jurgen Klopp has seen the Reds claim their maiden Premier League trophy and their sixth European Cup triumph, as well as producing a string of magnificent displays.
However, it’s arguably the club’s work off the field which has really propelled them back to the big time.
While the Liverpool chiefs were splashing out huge sums on countless flops such as Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam in the early 2010s, the Anfield outfit stood no chance of returning to their former glories.
However, the arrival of Michael Edwards as director of football back in 2016 sparked a new chapter in the club’s illustrious history.
Several astute acquisitions such as Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker have transformed Liverpool’s fortunes in recent years, and all without the owners financing a ridiculous spending spree.
That’s because Edwards has managed to acquire some quite astonishing sums for unwanted fringe players who failed to make the cut under Klopp on Merseyside.
The likes of Danny Ward, Christian Benteke and Mamadou Sakho have been offloaded for healthy sums, but perhaps none were as satisfying as Dominic Solanke’s move to Bournemouth.
The England international rose through the ranks at boyhood club Chelsea and was tipped for greatness by his previous manager Jose Mourinho. After playing in the Champions League against Maribor, the Portuguese once said: “For sure, he’s going to play many Champions League matches, because he will be a good player.”
Mourinho also explained that if Solanke – as well as Lewis Baker and Izzy Brown – fail to play for the senior side and England in the future, the 58-year-old would only have himself to blame.
“My conscience tells me that if, for example, Baker, Brown, and Solanke are not national team players in a few years, I should blame myself,” the now-AS Roma manager said (as relayed by Give Me Sport).
Things didn’t go to plan for Solanke at Stamford Bridge, though, and after he failed to make another appearance for the Blues after his debut against Maribor, he moved to Liverpool on a free transfer in the summer of 2017.
Unfortunately, the striker’s fresh start on Merseyside was also unable to spark a run of goalscoring form, with the now 24-year-old bagging just one goal in 27 outings for Klopp’s charges.
Solanke’s struggles didn’t dissuade Bournemouth from splashing out a whopping £19m on his services just 18 months into his Liverpool career, but they may have come to instantly regret that decision.
The former England under-21 international was unable to prevent the Cherries from suffering relegation in his first full season at the Vitality Stadium after finding the back of the net on just three occasions in 32 Premier League appearances, all of those goals coming in the final two weeks of the campaign.
Therefore, Edwards’ ability to sell Solanke for almost £20m now seems like a masterclass, and his potential departure from the Liverpool boardroom could have lasting damage.