Liverpool are struggling at the minute, but a glance across Stanley Park shows Everton in even more of a mess. There’s an FSG lesson in among all of this.
Whenever things seem bad for Liverpool, Everton seem to go that bit further. On Monday night, the Reds suffered a hefty loss at the hands of Brentford, losing 3-1, which took their goals conceded tally in the Premier League to 22.
At the time, it was more than the Blues had conceded despite their position near the foot of the table, and that remained the case for 24 hours, until Goodison Park hosted Brighton and Hove Albion. The Seagulls ran riot on Merseyside and delivered an impressive 4-1 win over Frank Lampard’s outfit, pushing Everton’s goals conceded total to 24.
After the clash, the Toffees supporters called for the board to resign, and not for the first time. Chants of ‘sack the board’ originated from the stands, with supporters of the club realising that rather than blaming the players or the manager after so long without success, the ownership are the source of the problem.
Indeed, Everton have been a shambles for the majority of the past decade. Since Farhad Moshiri’s takeover in particular, which happened in 2016, the Blues have proved to lack real expertise in a footballing sense, dedicating large transfer fees to players who simply haven’t delivered on the field.
Gylfi Sigurðsson, Michael Keane, Cenk Tosun, Davy Klaassen and Yannick Bolasie — to name but a few — signed for a grand total of around £150m ($181m/€170m). The Blues have picked up several starlets in the process, including Ademola Lookman, Moise Kean and Nikola Vlašić, but each of those struggled to perform before prospering elsewhere once sold or loaned out.
Everton have explored several different managers and playing styles in recent times, from Lampard to Rafa Benítez to Carlo Ancelotti to Marco Silva, with the direction from the top of the club unclear due to the lack of foresight showcased by Moshiri. At Goodison, there has been a scattergun approach to climbing the table and evolving on the pitch.
The chants made by the Blues supporters this week provide a timely remind for their Merseyside rivals, who are undergoing a period of uncertainty right now. For the past few months, Fenway Sports Group (FSG) have been exploring the prospect of a full or partial sale of the club they have owned since 2010.
Many Reds supporters were pleased with the news when it first emerged earlier in the season, largely due to the lack of spending showcased by FSG at Anfield in recent times, with Jürgen Klopp currently suffering from a lack of investment to his squad, particularly in midfield.
New owners have the power to strengthen the transfer budget, but based on the lessons from Everton, money doesn’t guarantee success or even improvement. Is it crucial for the people at the top to couple investment with expertise, which is why Liverpool must carefully navigate their future.
FSG have transformed the Reds into a footballing version of the Boston Red Sox over the past decade, and if they do decide to sell up some time soon, supporters should be weary of whoever takes control. Overall, Everton are evidence that the investors with the deepest pockets aren’t always the most capable. Liverpool should listen to the chant from Goodison.