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Watching rivals splash cash could prove uneasy viewing; THIS SUMMER MAY BE biggest TEST YET OF REDS' TRANSFER POLICY BLOOD RED.


MIGHT as well pack it in," chimed the WhatsApp message as news started to emerge of the Premier League's potential latest seismic transfer.

And the sentiment wasn't alone.

"If City get Kane as well, I think Liverpool should just sit the season out," came another message.

Clearly, the growing realisation Manchester City are willing to splash out PS100m on taking Jack Grealish from Aston Villa has caused a stir among some disheartened Reds followers.

It was the same on social media, where precious little of the response was anything other than comprehensively downbeat.

Hot on the heels of City's continued interest in the similarlyvalued Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane, it amounts to a serious statement of intent from the

Premier League champions.

Sure, some of the funds will be raised by the sale of players. But it makes a mockery of Pep Guardiola's claim in April that his club "cannot afford" a huge fee for a forward to replace the departed Sergio Aguero.

Where there is a will with City, there is usually a way. Not least when it comes to splashing the cash, such is the backing of their Abu Dhabi owners that already amounts to a net spend of more than PS530m since Guardiola was named manager in 2016.

But there's one person who will no doubt be greeting City's potential double swoop with a shrug of the shoulders before rolling up his sleeves and cracking on.

After all, Jurgen Klopp knows all about having to compete with the financial might of the Champions League runners-up.

It has never just been about City, though.

Manchester United nudging ever nearer the capture of Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund - an offer of PS80m may well seal the deal - was a reminder Liverpool face a challenge competing with further riches from down the other end of the East Lancs Road.

Fenway Sports Group have never been about brute spending. Indeed, their net transfer spend in the last five years ahead of this summer was around PS120m - almost a quarter that of City.

And while FSG critics want the American owners to have left yesterday, that isn't going to be happening any time soon.

Certainly not this transfer window.

Liverpool, then, will have to carry on the way they have been and continue to wheel and deal and be creative in the market.

There's an argument the more trophies City win, the more they flex their financial muscle, the more remarkable Liverpool's period of domination in 2019/20 becomes.

But they cannot and will not rest on those hard-earned laurels. FSG have shown with the proposed Anfield Road End development that they are looking to the future, and Klopp and his recruitment team are continuing to do so also.

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Where City, United and Liverpool are all similar this summer is in spending big to address their most obvious shortcomings.

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For City, that's a forward to replace Aguero. United have long required a rightsided attacker. And Klopp's need for a new centre-back was painfully obvious last term.

Liverpool can at least take solace in having wasted no time in fixing their issue with the PS36m signing of Ibrahima Konate last month.

What happens next, though, will be of intrigue.

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Shipping out players such as Marko Grujic, a target for several clubs including Porto, and Harry Wilson, wanted by Benfica, West Brom and Brentford, will bolster the coffers. Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri the ECHO - www. and Neco Williams will also attract significant interest.

But whether a new forward or a fresh midfielder are brought in - the former seems the more pressing need - remains uncertain.

Watching their main rivals splashing the cash could make for uncomfortable viewing for Liverpool supporters once the transfer window begins to spark into life as Euro 2020 and the Copa America reach their closing stages.

The Reds, though, are now beginning the process of ensuring their incomings aren't done this summer.

Liverpool have more than justified the faith in their transfer methods in recent years. This window, though, could be their biggest test yet.

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Manchester City under Pep Guardiola could sign both Jack Grealish and Harry Kane
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 26, 2021
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