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Klopp had a blank cheque - McAteer.

JASON MCATEER says that Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group showed their ambition by giving manager Jurgen Klopp "virtually an open cheque book" last summer - but money wasn't spent in the right areas.

The former Reds midfielder believes the failure to address the club's defensive frailties in the transfer window has cost them dear during a disappointing start to the season.

However, McAteer insists the issue wasn't a lack of funds but Klopp opting not to pursue an alternative centreback when Southampton refused to sell them Virgil van Dijk.

"When we didn't get Van Dijk or a new keeper I always felt it would be a feast or famine season in terms of results - we'd either win 4-0 or get beaten 4-1," McAteer said.

"There's no lack of ambition from the owners. They have given the manager virtually an open cheque book. He had over PS150million to spend.

"If Van Dijk had come for PS70million and (Naby) Keita for PS60million, having bought (Mo) Salah, you're looking at over PS160million they were willing to outlay.

"The problem for me is he didn't have a Plan B. If you can't get Van Dijk and you know you need a centre half then surely there must be someone else. He didn't go and buy someone else and now we're seeing the downside."

McAteer also believes Philippe Coutinho is destined to leave Liverpool for Barcelona next summer.

"To be completely honest, I think Coutinho will go in the summer," he said. "I think it was another Luis Suarez situation.

"Coutinho may have worried whether Barcelona would come back in for him but he was never a Neymar replacement.

"Coutinho is a (Andres) Iniesta replacement. That's what it's for."

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 27, 2017
Words:283
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