36 Changes later: The Final Word – In Depth Transfer Window Review

By @lewisbower_

After 3 months of being linked with every player from the Maltese Premier league to the junior leagues of Southampton, Liverpool’s transfer window slams shut. Well, it was hardly a slam, as there appeared to be no last minute drama from The Reds. Nevertheless, Ian Ayre and co had been out in force this Summer with most of his Harley Davidson mileage being clocked up during the earlier stages of the window while the latter stage we seemed to stock up on youngsters to fill out the academy. Of course, we also attempted to offload some of our Mario Kart playing misfits. It might be surprising to some there have been a staggering 36 changes in personnel at the club this Summer. Some are evidently more significant than others, so just how successful was Liverpool’s transfer window?

Ins

James Milner

Starting in chronological order, we were practically gifted James Milner from Manchester City. After a disappointing season sat on the star studded bench of his last club, Milner swapped the blue side of Manchester for the red of Merseyside on free transfer. Having offers on the table from both Arsenal and Man City, Milner has gone on to establish himself as a constant first team feature and surprisingly to some, has gone on to become vice captain. Whether you like this or not, he does have all the qualities needed for the role; experience, work rate and is one of the biggest model professionals in the modern era. You get the feeling that Milner would run through walls just to play football. He has the mental attributes of Luis Suarez, without his abundance of quality. Saying that, Milner himself is capable of producing a bit of magic now and then, you only have to look at his goal against Bayern a few years back in the Champions League. I also remember him coming on against ourselves during that infamous 3-2 win and completely changing the game. He also fills a gaping void of experience left by Gerrard’s exit, which is much needed in a side as youthful as ours. Finally, Milner is a winner. Simple as that. He’s been there and done that with Man City, and this is important, in particularly in the dressing room or when things get tough. You know, like a 3-0 loss to West Ham four games in to the season. Those times. Unfortunately, I see one problem with the signing and that’s his team mate and captain. Milner is extremely similar to Henderson and this could be detrimental to the team. At time this season, as shown in the early stages, we will play with no DM with these two the deepest midfielders. Now they both excel at tenacious pressing. They are the basic definition of work horse. Of course they are both capable of quality moments, but this is their primary role. With no DM in the team, one or both is restricted to sitting deeper now when they should be pressing higher up the pitch. They are shackled if you will, which is criminal considering how big an asset they could be too the side. A DM would provide them with freedom. However, furthermore it’s clear they are not the most flamboyant players ever. They aren’t Coutinho in other words, which puts a lot of pressure on him to create. Its intriguing to see how this will pan out, we just seem to have so many players we can’t all fit in to one matchday squad.          Final Transfer Rating – 7/10

Danny Ings

Next came Danny Ings. Liverpool eventually had to pay a tribunal fee for his services. To be fair, you can’t complain as we all know the excessive price of young English talent these days. It’s too often that a club MASSIVELY over pays for a young player who has an evidently TERRIBLE attitude just because he’s English… note that this may come up later. Anyways, back to Ings. He’s a player who I really like. He outscored every single one of our attacking options last season with a team that got relegated and we signed him for a nominal fee. He seems keen to achieve while also willing to wait for his chance. His all round game is fairly good with no glaring weakness; he scores all types of goals. To be quite simple with it, he just scores. I’m extremely happy with Ings as a third choice striker and to be perfectly honest with you I believe Ings is probably as good as third choice strikers come compared to that of other teams. He’s more clinical than Welbeck, and is evidently better than Wilson and Iheanacho. The only club that has someone to rival him is probably Remy with Chelsea. Do Spurs even have a third choice striker? I do have slight problems with his mentality. During Burnley’s season he backed out of taking a penalty which was eventually missed…in case he missed. We need strikers with confidence, it’s absolutely pivotal in football and with fans as quick to jump on your back as ours, he could struggle. With no disrespect to Danny, he’s exactly the type of player we need for the Europa League. It’s going to be a very long season where a big squad is needed. Not to mention he’s still in his early 20’s with most definitely having the potential to go on to be good enough to start week in week out. Good business.   Final Transfer rating – 8/10

Adam Bogdan

This is going to be short and brief. It is what it is. While he is definitely an upgrade on Jones, he isn’t going to have a major impact on the squad. He may perhaps play in the early stages of the domestic cups, I can’t really see him pushing Mignolet for the coveted number one spot. He’s probably as good as back up keepers come. Oh, and on a free.                                                   Final Transfer rating – 5/10

Joe Gomez

This was a transfer I was originally sceptical about but I am extremely pleased that I’m being made to eat my words. Being just a few months younger than myself, I was fearful of Joe being sent on the usual merry-go-round of loans our youngsters suffer. But nope, ever since starting, out of position in pre-season, impressively his positione hasn’t and still doesn’t looke threatened at all. This is more in testament to Gomez than to our lack of quality as Moreno, for all his faults, is by no means terrible and could still become a good player for us. Having earned a call up to England under 21’s for the first time I expect his stock to rise massively and the £3.5m he signed for proving a bargain. Without getting to ahead of ourselves I think he might just be better than Roberto Carlos. In all seriousness though I eventually somewhere along the line expect him to move to RCB due to how one footed he is. This was heavily exposed against West Ham, as he was attacked all game in his only blip so far. This has the potentially to be one of our best transfers of the 21st century is you take in to account value for money. He’s already having an impact. Great work by our scouting network. Final Transfer Rating – 9/10

Roberto Firmino

How exciting. This is the first big money overseas import since Luis Suarez. And a good one at that. This is a transfer that actually makes our opponents take notice. For those of you educated European football fans, you’ll know that Firmino is a really big name. Outside of England he has really big pedigree. And it’s well warranted. The best way I can describe him is he’s a more clinical, but slightly less skilful Coutinho. I emphasise slightly. Having being rated the fourth best player in Europe by WhoScored, he was pretty much linked with every club, in particular, Manchester United. The boy clearly has sense as he eventually came to us for around £30m and he’s probably worth every penny. He earned rave reviews from Brazilian fans after only recently earning his first call up for his work rate. Perfect for us. Work rate, skill, clinical finishing.. remind you of anyone? Obviously we can’t put too much pressure on him, but he definitely has similar traits to Suarez. I’d say he’s arguably better than Coutinho when played in a system that is built for him. The only problems that I can see are potentially adaptation difficulty, to both the league and the culture. He has often seen to be fairly weak which can obviously be worked on. The pace of a league itself can be a shock to him, as it is to many. There’s a fair few Brazilians at the club though who should help him settle fine. We all know how much of a great lad Lucas is. It was a genuine shock that we actually signed a player of such quality. Ahead of our biggest rivals. Ha. Final Transfer Rating – 9/10

Nathaniel Clyne

It was the shock of the Summer. Liverpool sign Southampton player. No one could have seen this coming. Clyne, the fourth Southampton player to sign for us in two years, replaces Glen Johnson. Replaces Glen Johnson. How good does that sound? In terms of an upgrade you could say that Clyne is the best transfer of the Summer as we’ve effectively gone from playing with ten men to having an actual physically able right back. In my opinion, one of the best in the league at that. This was all for a considerable price of £12.5m. We must of activated our by one free get 30% off at Southampton voucher. Initially I was under the impression that Clyne was a typical modern day full back who lacked in defensive nous but good with the ball going forward. I’m pleasantly surprised that he’s proven me wrong and appears to be a very solid all round player and has probably been our most consistent player this season so far, albeit it being early the early stages. Clyne is looking a really solid addition, with again, the other nicety that United were interested who ended up with the slightly inferior Darmian. Its just a shame for Clyne that he’s spending a season next to two players who have a brain cell between them. Final Transfer Rating – 8.5

Christian Benteke

Eventually, after flirtation with Rondon and Bacca, Christian Benteke ended up becoming marginally our most expensive signing of the Summer and our second most expensive signing ever. He has quality, there’s no doubt about that at all. He literally wins EVERY aerial ball and is a constant nuisance for defenders. He has more to his all round game than I thought and has started of really well. Him and Sturridge could be a truly terrifying partnership, well, if Sturridge can stay fit. The problem is that fitting both him and Sturridge in the same starting 11 could be detrimental to the team overall. Who do you take out? The DM we evidently need? But then would you really leave one of Coutinho or Firmino on the bench? Milner hasn’t come to sit on the bench and Henderson is our captain. Furthermore, Benteke’s greated threat clearly comes earlier and so far we are far from adhering to that. Up to now we have put the least amount of crosses in to the box and are mystified as to why we have only scored two goals. If we play to his strength then he could definitely be a twenty, twenty five goal a season striker. In my eyes he just isn’t the type of players who’s going to latch on to a Coutinho through ball. He is a technical battering ram for defenders. I really cant decide how this is going to turn out, I’m filled with both excitement and dread. Two things are for certain though: Firstly, we’ll get an extra 6 points against Villa as he ALWAYS scored against us. Secondly, no defender really fancies playing against him. For this transfer rating I’ll just see how things pan out, I wouldn’t like to say.

Taiwo Awoniyi & Bobby Adekanye

Both these players are academy prospects, with Awoniyi an 18 year old Nigerian stiker and Adekanye arriving from the prestigious La Masia training camp having spent time last season on loan at PSV at the age of 15 (now 16). Adekanye is also Nigerian however is eligible for the Dutch national team. It’s good to see the club constantly looking towards the future and obtaining some of the most sought after talent in Europe. The question is will they ever get a chance? On the basis of current events… no. Final Transfer Rating – 5

 

Outs

Raheem Sterling

The £49m departure of Raheem Sterling was our only significant loss of the summer. As one of the biggest football clubs in the world it saddens me to see us lose one of our best players to someone that we consider to be a rival. This is not the sign of a top club. That is what your Evertons, Spurs, and Arsenals of the world do. You never see a player go directly from Manchester United to Chelsea or Man City – or any variation of the three. What made matters worse was the way Sterling went about it, with both greed and petulance shown in abundance as he was pushed along in his pram by Aidy Ward. After seeing Berahino’s actions today it is worryingly clear that Ward is poison to the game having once been under his guidance. I’d like to see the FA do more about the modern day agent. Anyways, back to Sterling. Without lying to make us feel better about it, Sterling is clearly a very talented player evident through winning the golden boy award which really is no easy task. Some of the world’s greats have laid claim to that accolade including Messi himself. Once he refines his end product it’s scary how good he will be. Nevertheless, we got an amazing price at £49m, breaking the record transfer for a British player, breaking the record of our very own Liverpool legend Andy Carrol. Sterling is clearly not worth this amount, but he is very well likely to meet that valuation exceed it. Players will always just be transient employees of the club and will always come and go. I will say that the loss of Sterling is no were near as close to the loss of Suarez and Torres. Final Transfer rating 4/10

Deadwood

Sadly, we will never see an Aspas corner again as he completed a £4.4m move to Seville and strangely then immediately moved to former club Celta Vigo. He will be joined in Spain by Rafa Paez who joins Alcoron and momentarily Manquillo who’s loan was terminated and then saw himself shipped to Marseille. Further moves were completed for strikers Borini and and Lambert who we got a combined fee of a £11m for from Sunderland and WBA respectively. It was just never going to work out with 4 strikers ahead of them both in the pecking order, it was within their best interests, well perhaps not Borini’s but moving on. Finally Coates joined Sunderland for £2m. Good ol’ Seb. These players were all signed for what I believe to be their actual valuation, nothing more or nothing less all though it is a shame for that it didn’t work out for some. But that’s football. Final Transfer rating 8/10

Loans

A total of 17 outgoing loans were completed by LFC this summer but there are only a fewthat I want to speak about specifically. Firstly, Mario Balotelli rejoined Milan for the

season with a loan fee of £1m being paid and 50% of his wages being paid by the Italian outfit. To be fair to the club the initial transfer was a risk which didn’t pay off. It happens. This was our last option and nothing more could be done. I understand Ian don’t worry. Next we have Lazar Markovic who joined Fenerbahce and again, unlike most I agree with this transfer. I couldn’t see him starting much for us this season and his potential is genuinely massive, around the same as Sterling. This would seriously stunt if he was to be left on the bench all season. Or even worse… at wingback. Fenerbahce are no small time team either, he’ll get the chance to play with some quality player such as Van Persie. There’s also European Experience to be gained. The fact there’s no option to by gives me hope the club recognise his ability. On the complete other hand, what the hell is going on? What sort of parallel universe is Rodgers living on? Why did we even sign Tiago Ilori? After spending a seasons on loan at Bordeux and a disastrous season from Lovren you’d put two and two together and give the kid, who you spent all summer signing, just once chance. But nope, Rodgers puts two and two together and gets Lovren. Every. Time. We are getting rid of an extremely talented player, shipping him out to Villa who DO have an option to buy. Its ridiculous. He could go on to be one of the best in Europe; he’s just had an outstanding u21’s tournament with Portugal. With this one… I really don’t understand the logic.

The rest of the academy players were sent out on loan to lower league football clubs to game experience, with the exception of Danny Ward who has done fantastically well having a 100% start to the season and Ward earning his first Wales call up. This is an example of a good loan. There’s also Wisdom who gains further Premier League experience, which is a bit of a conundrum but I don’t believe he has a great potential with us, so his value to mid table clubs will rise and get us a decent fee. And lastly Luis Alberto is at Deportivo La Coruna and I think the less said about this… the better.

THE FINAL WORD

If you look at the window without the context of the system we play, with the ins and outs of the club you have to say that we have improved the overall squad. But there are a LOT of new faces. I’m always weary with this, as with this amount of players trying to adapt it could be another year of transition. Again. If things don’t click early we could be in trouble. I believe this is going to be an unpredictable season. Our season really relies on Firmino and Benteke fitting in and doing well and sadly I see the odds stacked against Benteke. I would love to be proven wrong. We HAVE strengthed some areas, we have vast striking options with Origi, ings, Benteke and Sturridge if.. You know. Our full backs are moresound defensively by a long way. But we really could have done with a DM. This could be our downfall this season as the squad seems to be heavily unbalanced being extremely top heavy. On the other hand, Liverpool have gotten rid of literally all of the unneeded players apart from one. The Mario Kart ping-pong king himself Jose Enrique. He will almost certainly leave next summer though as he is out of contract.

I hope you’re all strapped in because this is going to be a long roller coaster ride of a season.

OVERALL RATING – 7/10

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