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Man City and Chelsea have handed Liverpool and FSG a summer blueprint – Liverpool Echo

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https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/man-city-chelsea-handed-liverpool-20545092

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Those searching for the silver lining on a grey season for Liverpool probably won’t be looking towards the Champions League final.

After all, on the shortlist of the Reds’ enemies, Manchester City and Chelsea are likely to rank only behind Everton and Manchester United in 2021.

So events on May 29 will be a tough watch for those of a red faith as the two Premier League sides contest the biggest fixture in world football.

Even more so when you factor in the venue and what the city of Istanbul has become synonymous with for Liverpool supporters since a certain night on May 25, 2005.

But while picking a side for the 2021 European Cup final is akin to Sophie’s Choice, the very fact that it is City v Chelsea perhaps offers some hope for Liverpool going forward.

Their arrivals at the biggest stage in club football is proof of how quickly fortunes can change at the elite level.

City finished a miserable 18 points behind the champions last season before they faced a humbling in Europe at the hands of an unfancied Lyon side in Lisbon.

Chelsea were even further back, a whopping 30 points off Liverpool and were humiliated 7-1 over two legs by eventual winners of the Champions League, Bayern Munich, in the last 16.

That both are now set to do battle in the European showpiece so soon after disappointing campaigns is a morsel of comfort for Jurgen Klopp as he casts an optimistic gaze towards the start of next season.

Even if it may not necessarily feel like it right now.

Of course, after finishing so far off the pace both home and abroad, City and Chelsea were able to refocus and regroup with the aid of significant investment that following summer.

And in Chelsea’s case, their output has been raised several levels since they swapped a relative novice in Frank Lampard for a manager who had already earned his stripes with Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain in Thomas Tuchel.

Liverpool, though, for all their issues, are not in need of fresh blood inside the Anfield technical area.

Opinions on the size of the rebuilding job vary from fan to fan, but there is no-one who genuinely believes Klopp is not the right man to put right the many wrongs of this miserable campaign.

The common denominator for both City and Chelsea’s respective revivals this season is their efforts in recruitment last year.

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Boiling it down to the amount of money spent in the transfer market is too simplistic, especially when there so many factors at play during an unprecedented season that Liverpool will hope is never repeated.

But a cursory glance at the Premier League standings when the final whistle blew in July will surely have emboldened both to go big in the market.

Even more so with the knowledge that their rivals were unable to do the same because of the near six-month absence of paying supporters and a lack of televised action between March and June.

Over £120million exited the City coffers last summer with the arrival of Ruben Dias, at around £60m, finally making a £200m defence look like exactly that at the Etihad.

Even more was forked out in west London for the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech to help them to a first Champions League final since 2012.

So, is the challenge for Liverpool now to spend as much as possible in the summer market?

That would be wishful thinking to an extent, but there is a growing feeling that the club and the owners are approaching a critical point.

The Reds have never been able to spend as freely as either Chelsea or City and Europa League finalists Manchester United will also have more financial muscle when the market re-opens on June 9.

But if Klopp is to get the Reds back to the level of the last two full seasons, then he will need to be backed.

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Liverpool will need more than the re-emergence of supporters and an easing injury list to go toe-to-toe for the game’s biggest prizes once more.

Structural issues brought on by a defensive crisis have undercut the Reds since Christmas and fresh impetus will be needed ahead of August, regardless of how a lack of Champions League income affects the balance sheets.

Liverpool’s recent financial results were troubling, but while the eye-opening loss of £120m created a slew of headlines, the numbers were nothing new for those inside the club.

Fenway Sports Group’s recent cash injection, to the tune of over £530m, from RedBird Capital will certainly help on that front.

And with John W Henry’s recent apology over the Super League farce still ringing in the ears of fans, coupled with the addition of RedBird to the FSG stable, perhaps the iron is beginning to heat up?

It will take more than a sizable outlay in a transfer window for supporters – genuine followers, those nauseatingly referred to as ‘legacy fans’ by those Super League splitters – to forgive and forget simply because of the arrival of shiny new players.

But as a first step towards atonement goes for FSG later this summer, it will be a forward facing one if Klopp is given exactly what he needs.

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