Liverpool justified £150million of spending last night - Gary Gillespie

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018 12:10pm

By James Gray @jamestingray

Liverpool's transfer policy was vindicated last night as they completed qualification for the Champions League knockout stages, according to one former player.

The Reds welcomed Napoli to Anfield knowing only a win would see them through to the last 16 of Europe's premier club competition.

Mo Salah scored before half-time to settle some nerves but Liverpool missed a host of chances that would have given them a comfortable lead.

It almost came back to haunt them in the dying minutes of the game when Arkadiusz Milik controlled the ball just six yards out, only for goalkeeper Alisson to spread himself and block the ensuing shot from point-blank range.

The Brazilian cost, at the time he signed for Liverpool this summer, a world-record fee for a goalkeeper but ex-Liverpool defender Gary Gillespie reckons he is already worth every penny.

"When you look at [Liverpool], they're not quite as exciting going forward but they're very pragmatic and very souund and solid at the back," Gillespie told Ian Stone's Comedy Breakfast (weekdays 6.30am-10.30am). 

"Everybody questions you when you spend big money. They questioned the £75m for Van Dijk and they certainly questioned the £75m for Alisson.

"But you look at these two players and I don't think Liverpool would be in the position they find themselves in at this moment in time had they not signed these two players.

"The goalkeeper doesn't make that save as he wouldn't have made a number of saves in the recent games and they would be in the Europa League themselves.

"Big money gets big players and they've made very, very good use of the transfer window and the success they've had with the recruitment has been very, very evident."

Liverpool will now await the outcome of Friday's Champions League draw to learn their opponent in the first knockout round.

Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid could all be drawn against Klopp's men because they finished second in the group, but Gillespie is convinced they warranted a place in the latter stages.

"I thought they'd played well on the night. It was a bit hairy but that was just the situation they found themselves in," Gillespie added.

"I think they deserved overall to go through.

"You've got to feel a bit for Napoli because they're a decent side and they'll be strong favourites to do well in the Europa League.

"All told, it was a great night at Anfield. The crowd got behind the team and they deserved to win on the night."

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