Liverpool's 2015-16 summer signings rated

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Brendan Rodgers has had a busy summer transfer window once again.

After spending over £100 million on new recruits last year, with many largely failing to live up to their astronomical price-tags, the Northern Irishman has repeated his actions.

Dejan Lovren, Mario Balotelli and Lazar Markovic cost Liverpool a combined £56 million; however, their maiden season's at Anfield were far from inspiring. Adam Lallana cost £25 million from Southampton and, given his injuries he suffered last term, the jury is still out on whether he was worth the money.

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Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group will be keeping a watchful eye over Rodgers in the early stages of the upcoming season. It was a surprise they were so willing to give the Northern Irishman another wealthy sum of cash.

A large amount of Rodgers' summer transfer fund was forged by the £49 million sale of Raheem Sterling to Manchester City. Nonetheless, Liverpool have still spent over £70 million in recent months and that tally could well saturate in the next coming weeks.

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You can never truly tell what will come out of pre-season. Kopites have seen the likes of Andriy Voronin and Iago Aspas have a healthy run of friendly games but well and truly failed when they played competitive football.

However, based on initial prices paid and previous performances at former clubs and pre-season matches (albeit taken with a pinch of salt), immediate impressions are able to be made on new recruits.

Adam Bogdan

Liverpool decided not to renew Brad Jones' contract and were in dire need to find a replacement for the Australian goalkeeper.

Rodgers immediately snapped up Adam Bogdan from Bolton Wanderers on a free transfer who looks to play deputy to Simon Mignolet.

Bogdan arrives at Anfield as a shot-stopper who has been capped 19 times for Hungary, as well as winning Player of the Year for his country in 2012. He made over 100 appearances for the Trotters and does have a decent amount of experience under his belt.

Nonetheless, the transfer oozes nothing but mediocrity. 

He lost his place as Bolton number one to last campaign to Andy Lonergan, who was also released from the Greater Manchester club. That speaks volumes about what Bolton thought about Bogdan.

Mignolet's first two season's at Liverpool haven't always been plain-sailing - far from it, in fact. He lost his place on December 3 against Manchester United last term after a string of poor performances and only won his place back when Jones was forced off injured on Boxing Day against Burnley at Turfmoor.

Albeit, the Belgium international was much improved after he realised what life was like on the bench and made some inspirational saves in the second-half of the season.

However, what made Mignolet's form slide was the lack of competition around him. He was in a comfortable position and complacency got to him. His main struggle is his decision making, particularly coming off his line during set-pieces and was guilty of that during Liverpool's pre-season friendly against HJK Helsinki last Saturday.

With Bogdan arriving, it again put Mignolet in a bold position. The goalkeeping spot is his and, no matter if he does not perform to his very best, he will likely keep his place even if his form slides.

To challenge for a top-four finish there needs to be players competing for their place both in training and on the pitch. It forces people to be at their best all the time as they look to impress their manager. Thibaut Courtois was so impressive at Chelsea last season because he had Petr Cech lurking in the wings and knew if he under-performed, Jose Mourinho had a very suitable replacement.

Unfortunately, one gets the impression Bogdan has joined the Reds for an easy life and a very healthy pay packet.

Rating - 3/10

Christian Benteke

Finally, Rodgers got his man.

After chasing him all summer, trying to negotiate a deal with Aston Villa (which failed), Christian Benteke eventually put pen to paper with Liverpool. Rodgers was reluctant to pay his £32.5 million buy-out clause but, with Villa standing firm, it was eventually met.

There's no doubt it was a statement of intent from the five-time European Cup winners. They did not suitably replace Luis Suarez last summer when he left for Barcelona and ultimately paid the price. Liverpool scored just 52 Premier League goals last campaign, a tally far too low for a side who had top-four aspirations.

With Balotelli and Rickie Lambert - who has now moved to West Bromwich Albion - failing to fire, a striker was Rodgers' priority this summer.

Benteke arrives at Anfield with a stellar reputation. He netted 42 Premier League goals in 89 appearances for a Villa side who were fighting relegation for the three season's he spent there. The Reds know all about the talents of the Belgium international; from six appearances against Liverpool, Benteke scored five goals - if you can't beat them, buy them is seemingly what Rodgers has said.

In a better team, the Belgium international is bound to improve. He wasn't playing with the greatest of talent at the Birmingham outfit and will line-up alongside a host of internationals at his new club.

If Benteke's time at Liverpool is to match his debut, fans are in for a treat. Playing his first match in a friendly against Swindon Town last Sunday with the Liver bird on his chest, Benteke fired a stunning 20 yard volley into the top corner after taking it down on his chest.

There's no doubt he has talent but the one burning issue many have with his transfer; the price-tag.

Chelsea paid a similar price to gain the services of Diego Costa from Athletico Madrid last summer, likewise Alexis Sanchez's move from Barcelona to Arsenal. Both of those players are considered amongst the world's best, both are La Liga winners and both can single handily win matches

What has Benteke exactly achieved in his career thus far? Reaching an FA Cup final last season is the pinnacle and his side were felt the wrath of Sanchez and were beaten 4-0 by Arsenal earlier this year. Benteke was none-existent that day and failed to inspire underdogs Villa to victory.

Another crippling doubt is whether Benteke will suit the style of football play. Rodgers encourages fast-paced, attacking football and movement is key to success. 

Benteke has been dubbed as a 'big target-man' all of his career. Villa boss Tim Sherwood said the former Genk man will not fit into Liverpool's style already. The 24-year-old was at his best when Sherwood took charge at Villa Park in February and whipped crosses towards him which was highly successful.

We could be in for a sense of deja vu. Rodgers had Andy Carroll at Liverpool when he first took over from Kenny Dalglish. There aren't many strikers who fit the 'target-man' description as him; however, Rodgers immediately dismissed that the former Newcastle United striker would fit the bill.

Likewise, Balotelli and Lambert also offered a similar repertoire - just look how the Liverpool careers turned out.

Benteke must know he has to adjust his style to succeed at Anfield. However, there's a difference between knowing and successfully transferring his skills. What if he is unable to adapt?

If will not be his fault if he fails at Liverpool. If he is unable to adapt - which some are predicting will happen - it will once again be poor judgement from Rodgers.

Kopites are desperate to see Benteke thrive; however, given the past, we have to be sceptical of how he will settle at the Reds. I pray to the divine that I am wrong.

Rating - 5/10

Danny Ings

Much like Benteke, Danny Ings adds yet another dimension to the Liverpool attacking line.

Ings, however, cost a fair few shillings less than Benteke. After rejecting a new contract at Burnley, the England Under 21s international became a free agent this summer and was chased by a host of club's.

Tottenham Hotspur expressed their interest as did David Moyes' Real Sociedad with Ings reportedly flying to Spain earlier this year for a chat with the Basque side.

Nonetheless, Liverpool are his new employers and, on a free transfer, he does look a bargain. There's still a tribunal fee to settle with Burnley as the striker is under 24 but that fee will cost the Reds around £6 million reportedly.

Similar to Benteke, Ings spent last season helping his team fight for survival. Newcomers Burnley were always going to struggle and it came as no surprise when they were relegated from the Premier League.

However, Ings did not go down without a fight. He thrust himself into the shop window and was one of the top flight's most impressive young players. The former Bournemouth man netted 11 goals in the league; for a club who had their backs against the wall, that was a total more than respectable.

What is so impressive about Ings is hit movement. He always looks to penetrate gaps and drag defenders with him which creates space for his team-mates. If he can do this, there's no doubt the on-going runs of Philippe Coutinho, Jordan Ibe and Firmino will become much more clinical. 

Ings said he's happy not to have the ball at his feet and instead play the lieutenant to his team-mates and allow them to have the glory. This is an attitude that has to be admired. Strikers are renowned for their selfishness in front of goal but, with him willing to allow others to make the headlines, speaks volumes. 

It is a contrasting mindset from Balotelli who likes the ball into feet and so often shot from 35 yards out and failed to trouble the goalkeeper last season.

One thing Ings must improve is his finishing. He is not the most composed in front of goal and often allows glorious chances to go begging. His miss for England U21s against Italy at the U21s European Championship this summer highlighted that he can crack under pressure.

It's likely Ings will come off the bench for most of the season, especially when Daniel Sturridge returns from injury. Nonetheless, he will create problems for tired defenders in the closing stages of games and could win Liverpool some vital points. For the fee paid, the Reds will likely get their money back in a couple of years if things don't work out. Overall, it's not a bad bit of business

Rating - 6/10

Roberto Firmino

Roberto who?

That was the reaction of most fans when Liverpool inked a deal with Firmino earlier this summer. 

Club chief executive Ian Ayre personally flew to Chile to quickly tie-up a deal with Firmino when he was representing Brazil at the Copa America. 

When the transfer was announced, people searched through Youtube to watch highlight videos of the 23-year-old. Impressive take-ons, passes and goals were the answer, mostly for Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim who he joined Liverpool from for £29.5 million.

Kopites immediately tuned in to watch him play for Brazil in the Copa America. Just days earlier, he'd netted against Venezuela after taking over as his country's main striker following Neymar's suspension.

One of Firmino's greatest attributes is his versatility. Whereas he is strongest playing behind the striker, feeding elegant through balls into the path of the front-man, he can too play out wide. He is a pacey individual and he has excellent balance and ball control to drag more than one defender around him and create space for his team-mates. His ability to change momentum and direction in a split second will no doubt cause opposition's a wealth of problems.

The main negative surrounding Firmino is his physicality. He is not the biggest, nor the strongest and is set to play in the most physical league in the world.

Firmino made his debut against Swindon and within the opening two minutes he was clattered by Lawrence Viguroux, who's on loan from Liverpool. Welcome to the English game, Mr. Firmino, and there's plenty more of that to come.

The Reds meet Stoke City in their first Premier League game - you couldn't ask for a team who love to get more stuck in than the Potters.

If Firmino can overcome the hefty challenges he'll face and display the ability he did at Hoffenheim then he should be a success. 

Rating 7/10

Joe Gomez

Much like the signing of Firmino, not many football fans were aware of Joe Gomez when he moved to Liverpool for £3.5 million from Charlton Athletic.

However, there was a positive reaction when the deal was announced. The Reds beat Arsenal and Borrusia Dortmund to his signature and a generic bit of Google searching found that he has been a regular at England youth level since U16 level.

Gomez made 24 appearances for Charlton last term and he was highly impressive throughout. It was just his maiden campaign playing at senior level but he settled in quickly and reflected a well-rounded professional.

What has been so impressive about Gomez during pre-season has been his coolness on the ball and has searing pace to match that. He is a unique physical specimen towering at 6'2" and his imposing stature makes it extremely difficult for attackers to take him on.

The Catford-native's preferred position is centre-back and modelled himself on Rio Ferdinand growing up. However, he's flexible where he plays and can appear anywhere along the back-line. 

For Charlton last term he mainly featured at right-back and during pre-season he's been playing left-back.

Gomez is only going to get better is seems. Rodgers has insisted he will not be going out on loan and he could well start against Stoke on Sunday at left-back. He looks a solid buy who has a great future.

Rating 8/10

James Milner

With Steven Gerrard leaving the club for Los Angeles Galaxy, the number experienced players in Rodgers' squad is limited.

Just Kolo Toure and Martin Skrtel are above the age of 30 and the former is likely to feature minimally this season.

Jordan Henderson was took under the wing of Gerrard last season as he prepared to take over the captaincy and will look to emulate the Huyton-native for the upcoming season.

However, at just 25, Henderson is still on a learning curve himself. He's been at Liverpool for four years and is the club's second longest serving player bar Skrtel but the former Sunderland man still has plenty of improvements to make.

It's not often players turn down a lucrative £165,000-a-week contract, Champions League football and challenge for league titles. However, that is what James Milner has chose to do. 

Manchester City were desperate to keep Milner and would have made him one of the club's highest paid players. Instead, the England international opted for guaranteed football in the centre-of-midfield and arrives at the Merseyside outfit hungry for game-time.

The former Leeds United, Newcastle United and Aston Villa man will be a key member of Rodgers squad this season.

At 29 and having won the Premier League twice he joins Liverpool with a wealth of maturity and proven ability to play at the top-level.

He'll be a regular in the centre of the park with Henderson this year and the pair will offer a relentless engine between them and constantly pressurise the opposition off the ball.

What's been so admiral about Milner in the past is his obedience. Manuel Pelegrinni said jump at Manchester City and Milner replied 'how high?' The 29-year-old played in a large number of positions at the Ethihad including left-wing and striker and his versatility ironically was his downfall. 

Milner, however, will be in his favoured position and will look to score plenty of goals. He has an eye for goal and relishes the chance of thrusting into the box to latch onto a cross.

He's no spring chicken but he could prove one of the buy's of the summer.

Rating - 8.5/10

Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne is certainly a name that Liverpool fans recognises.

He netted a superb goal against the Reds on the opening day of last season at Anfield as well as highlighting his defensive attributes.

Over the past two campaigns, Clyne has been one of, if not the best right-back in the Premier League. He faces tough competition from Branislav Ivanovic for that title but there are certainly strong arguments for either.

After Rodgers raided Southampton last summer buying Lovren, Lallana and Lambert, he stole yet another St. Mary's stand-out. With one year left on his contract, Southampton had no choice but to sell Clyne for £12.5 million - that fee could prove a bargain.

In the 2014/15 Premier League season Clyne made 115 tackles with Nemanja Matic only making more. Defending has been Liverpool's achilles heel over the past two terms and he will bring much more stability alongside Martin Skrtel and co.

As seen last season at Anfield, the 24-year-old too is relentless going forward. Full-backs are so important to how Rodgers plays and Clyne will certainly tick every one of his manager's boxes. He's got plenty of pace and relishes the chance to bomb towards the oppositions goal as well as having a serious engine to track back the opposition if to counter-attack

Considering Liverpool paid £17 million for Glen Johnson six years ago, Clyne looks a bargain. Johnson was one dimensional and struggled defending. At the end of last term Emre Can occupied the role of right-back and he showed his unnaturalness in the position. The Reds have been exposed on the right flank over the years and ultimately paid the price.

However, Liverpool finally have a specialist right-back to fulfil the role and goals should stop leaking on that side.

Rating - 9/10

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Nathanial Clyne
Christian Benteke
Premier League
James Milner
Danny Ings

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