The path from Southampton to Liverpool is now a well-trodden one.
A total of five players have made the journey from the south coast to the north west since 2014, with the so called ‘bigger sides’ raiding the Saints for their standout stars after years of over achieving in the Premier League.
Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne and Sadio Mane have all joined the Reds for over £100m between them.
But how did Southampton replace them? And where they an upgrade on the player who left the club?
Rickie Lambert v Graziano Pelle (July 2014)
Lambert epitomised Southampton’s rise up the divisions and had a brilliant first season that was rewarded with an England cap and a dream move to his beloved Liverpool.
It didn’t really work out for him, operating more as an impact sub behind Daniel Sturridge – when he was fit – and Mario Balotelli.
Lambert was replaced by Pelle at St Mary’s for £9.35m and the smooth Italian was an instant hit.
Pelle scored 23 times in two seasons in the Premier League under Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman before his lucrative move to China last summer.
Adam Lallana v Dusan Tadic (July 2014)
A tough one.
Lallana captained Southampton to the Premier League and was then named in the PFA Team of the Year after an incredible season in 2013/14.
But Tadic, as a replacement, was exceptional in his first campaign in England, emerging as one of the best creative forces in the league.
He supplied eight assists in 2014/14 as Saints mounted a genuine Champions League push until Spring came, also scoring a memorable winner at Old Trafford.
Lallana, meanwhile, struggled for form and fitness immensely at Liverpool initially but has been arguably their player of the year this season.
Tadic’s powers have faded a little this season, which means we’re going to give it to Lallana. Just.
Dejan Lovren v Toby Alderweireld (July 2014)
Lovren was picked out by Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher as one of the standout performers in 2013/14, which convinced Liverpool to splash the cash on a Saints player for a third time that summer.
They may wish they hadn’t, as the Croat had a calamitous first season after his £20m move and, despite improving, has remained a liability at times.
Contrast that with his replacement in Aldeweireld, who has since established himself as arguably the finest centre-back in the Premier League after a move to Tottenham in 2015.
His loan spell at Southampton from Atletico Madrid was a roaring success, developing a partnership with club captain Jose Fonte in a miserly Southampton defence.
Saints felt massively aggrieved when Spurs poached Alderweireld on a permanent deal at their expense.
Nathaniel Clyne v Cedric Soares (July 2015)
Clyne is a consistent 7/10 performer and has been an ever-present for Liverpool since his move nearly two years ago.
Soares is of similar ilk and you will struggle to find anyone who can really criticise him for what he’s done for Southampton as Clyne’s replacement.
The Portuguese right-back was also a crucial member of his country’s Euro 2016 winning side last summer.
But at club level we reckon Saints may miss Clyne’s pace as an outlet down the right, so he just edges this one.
Sadio Mane v Nathan Redmond (July 2016)
Mane will go down in Saints folklore after scoring the fastest hat-trick in Premier League history against Aston Villa last season.
They received a lot of money for him in £34m last summer but it has been worth every penny after a stunning campaign with the Reds.
Redmond was brought in from Norwich and has been one of Saints’ most consistent performers, scoring against Liverpool in the League Cup semi-finals.
But Mane’s raw piece and lethal ability in front of goal has been sorely missed as Claude Puel’s side have struggled to find the net on a regular basis.