Jürgen Klopp has claimed Liverpool cannot compete financially with Manchester City because Gulf state-owned clubs “can do what they want” despite financial fair play rules.
The Liverpool manager is satisfied his team can match City on the pitch but off it, he insists, is an entirely different matter demonstrated by Sunday’s opponents adding Erling Haaland to a squad that won the Premier League for the fourth time in five seasons in May.
The prolific striker cost City £51.2m in the summer while Liverpool agreed a potential club-record £85m deal for Darwin Núñez. The overall package for Haaland, however, who is reported to earn £375,000 a week plus bonuses that more than double his salary, put him beyond Liverpool’s reach.
Klopp believes City, Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle are not bound by the same financial constraints as most clubs and cast doubt on the effectiveness of FFP. Asked how Liverpool could keep pace with Pep Guardiola’s team, who are 13 points clear of their recent title rivals, Klopp replied: “Oh, you won’t like the answer. You will not like the answer, and you all have the answer already. Nobody can compete with City in that.
“You have the best team in the world and you put in the best striker on the market. No matter what it costs, you just do it. I know City will not like it, nobody will like it, you’ve asked the question but you know the answer. What does Liverpool do? We cannot act like them. It is not possible. Not possible. It is just clear and again you know the answer.
“There are three clubs in world football who can do what they want financially. It’s legal and everything, fine, but they can do what they want. They will say: ‘Yeah but we have …’ but it’s exactly the fact. We have to look at it [and say]: ‘We need that and we need that and we have to look here and make it younger, and here a prospect and here a talent’ and that is what you have to do. And you compete with them.”
Liverpool are unbeaten in their past four meetings with City and have won the past two – last season’s FA Cup semi-final and the Community Shield in July. Klopp accepts the financial situation at Anfield but believes it is not his responsibility to highlight the disparities within football.
“It is not a problem at all for me, it’s like it is,” he said. “Don’t ask me that question because you always open this discussion and it’s me telling you. But you all know it, you should know. I heard now that at Newcastle somebody [sporting director Dan Ashworth] said: ‘There is no ceiling for this club.’ Yes, he is right. He is absolutely right. There is no ceiling for Newcastle. Congratulations, but some other clubs have ceilings.”
Ashworth said in an interview this week there was no ceiling to what Newcastle “can achieve” as a club. He added that Newcastle, who have spent £210m on players in 2022 under majority Saudi ownership, would have to work within FFP rules and that this year’s outlay “is not sustainable” on an annual basis.