Liverpool 2014/15 transfer review
Liverpool’s transfer business last summer was centred on Luis Suarez’s departure and the club’s attempts to evolve while remaining competitive. Similar to Tottenham when they lost Gareth Bale, Liverpool decided to strengthen the squad in different areas rather than replace the Uruguayan with one or two marquee signings.
Key players out
Liverpool received £65m for Suarez but they lost the best player in the Premier League. Suarez scored 31 goals while assisting 12 more in only 33 league games the previous season.
The Uruguayan’s pace and sharp movement forced defenders to drop at least 10 yards back to protect themselves thereby affording Liverpool territorial advantage without kicking a ball.
Teams like Tottenham and Arsenal, who tried to keep high defensive lines against Liverpool, were punished with heavy defeats. Without Suarez’s pace and ability to lead a high pressing game, a lot had to change for Liverpool.
Daniel Agger was also an important player who left. The Dane is a fine reader of the game, comfortable on the ball and blessed with a ferocious shot but he was not very convincing during Rodgers’ time. The Reds boss accepted £3m for the 30-year-old defender in order to turn to the younger Dejan Lovren.
Key players signed
Alexis Sanchez’s style of play is similar to Suarez’s but Arsenal won the race to sign the Chilean, so the Reds were forced to settle for £16m man Mario Balotelli and also spent £4m on Rickie Lambert to provide competition for Daniel Sturridge and Fabio Borini.
Both players clearly have the talent. Lambert is excellent on set-pieces, provides target for crosses, plus the former Southampton striker is better than most forwards at link-up play. Indeed, he played in midfield earlier in his career.
Balotelli is a top class finisher, is good with both feet and decent in the air. Signing the 24-year-old was a huge risk though because he has problems with his discipline plus he contributes very little defensively.
In order to strengthen other areas, the Reds turned to a couple of mostly young talented player with a lot of potential. Adam Lallana (£25m) was the only mature midfielder to sign for Liverpool.
Lazar Markovic, aged 21, joined for £20m, 22 year-old Alberto Moreno signed for £12m to provide competition at left-back, while the versatile 21 year-old Emre Can bolstered the midfield options.
A lot was expected from £20m signing Lovren. In his 12 months at Southampton, Lovren was a commanding and powerful defender with leadership skills which fitted the profile of the defender Liverpool were looking for.
Liverpool’s failure to sign Sanchez was decisive because Balotelli only managed a single goal in 16 appearances. He tried to work harder without the ball, but the Italian lacks the intensity Liverpool need.
Lambert has not been convincing either, which compelled Rodgers to eventually turn to Raheem Sterling as his centre forward.
A lot of Liverpool’s recent signings are very young so they should offer more next season but at the moment only Can has justified his signing. Lovren has surprised everyone because he was one of the best defenders in the league during his year at Southampton.
Overall, Liverpool’s £117m recruits have largely disappointed.