International Sports

Boston's baseball blueprint has brought soccer silverware back to Liverpool

Key Points
  • Liverpool won its sixth European Cup by beating Tottenham 2-0 in Saturday's final.
  • Club owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) want to ensure manager Jurgen Klopp "stays for as long as he likes."
  • In February 2019, Liverpool announced record profits after tax of $134 million and saw its annual turnover increase by $113 million to $575 million.
Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool celebrates with the Champions League Trophy after winning the UEFA Champions League Final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on June 01, 2019 in Madrid, Spain.
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Liverpool has put itself back at the head of European soccer's top table after securing a sixth Champions League success and the team's American owners believe they're just getting started.

Speaking immediately before the victory in the final against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, Liverpool's Chairman Tom Werner said: "We have always said that our desire is to win silverware."

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo newspaper, Werner went on to say, "We have no intention of selling. We have reached a position where I think the club is in the best shape it's been for a very long time."

Werner is a key figure within Liverpool's Fenway Sports Group (FSG) ownership structure and has been since its majority shareholder John W. Henry purchased Liverpool in 2010 for £300 million (379 million). FSG — which also owns Major League Baseball world champions the Boston Red Sox — has since seen its investment in the English Premier League soccer team increase to be worth an estimated $2 billion.

Through a series of shrewd acquisitions and appointments both at the board and playing level, in nine years FSG has transformed Liverpool from the brink of administration to a commercial force that is now the envy of many others.

Most notably in January 2018 when the decision was taken to sell Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for $179 million, making the club a sizable profit as he was bought for just £8.5 million ($10.7 million) in 2013. That money was then reinvested in a $95 million world record fee for a defender on Virgil van Dijk and $84 million on goalkeeper Alisson Becker, both key players in Liverpool's European success.

Liverpool wins sixth UEFA Champions League title
Liverpool wins sixth UEFA Champions League title

In February this year it announced record profits after tax of $134 million and saw its annual turnover increase by $113 million to $575 million.

Following the Champions League victory in the Madrid final, talk has turned to securing the future of Liverpool's charismatic and instrumental manager Jurgen Klopp past his current contract, which currently runs until 2022.

When the German arrived at the club in October 2015, he promised the owners and fans that he would "turn doubters into believers." While he was unable to catch Premier League champions Manchester City's tally of 98 points this season, Klopp has now delivered Liverpool's first major trophy for seven years.

"It's been a period of constant progress and it's been a real pleasure to watch the continual improvement of the team," said Werner. "All I can say is that it's obviously important that he stays for as long as he likes. We believe that he's committed to Liverpool."

It will be three years in September since Liverpool's home of Anfield first unveiled a new main stand thanks to a $139 million loan from FSG. However, with every home game sold out, a capacity of just over 54,000 is already being seen as not big enough to satisfy demand.

The redevelopment of the stadium's Anfield Road End to lift the capacity up around the 60,000-mark is potentially appealing for FSG. "We are continuing to study the feasibility of it," Werner revealed.

"We have outline planning permission to proceed if we do move forward and that outline permission is good until September. We're continuing to examine potential options and we will probably look at it again in the weeks after the final," he added to the Liverpool Echo.

Liverpool is in the final year of its current kit manufacturing deal with U.S. brand Warrior Sports and its offshoot of Boston-based label New Balance. Warrior also is the principle sponsor of the Boston Red Sox, to enhance FSG's interest.

The Warrior deal was reportedly worth $189 million over six years, but such is the reemergence of Liverpool's growing commercial clout, it is now looking at options including a tie-up with Nike.

That could see the club come close to Manchester City's new "long-term" deal with Puma, signed last season for a reported $860 million.

Last year, Liverpool also announced an extension to the club's arrangement with Standard Chartered bank as its main shirt sponsor until the end of the 2022/23 season.