The 2014 summer transfer window saw Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers instigate a major upheaval to a side which narrowly missed out on the 2013/14 Premier League title – finishing just two points behind Manchester City.
Inevitably, such chaotic transfer activity led to comparisons being drawn to Tottenham’s summer spending last season, where ex-manager André Villas-Boas and current technical director, Franco Baldini, oversaw a transformation that cost over £110 million, after selling their star player, Gareth Bale, for a world record £86 million fee.
To quote Garth Crooks: ‘’They sold Elvis and bought the Beatles’’. The meaning of this is that the idea of replacing their crown jewel with several, yet high-quality jewels is theoretically sound. However though, the success of this transfer policy solely depends on the replacements. In Tottenham’s case, they failed to replace a genuinely world-class talent, despite the influx of talent.
Thus far, it looks like Liverpool have made the same mistake, selling Luis Suarez to Barcelona for £75 million, contrary to Rodgers saying how they would not make the same mistake as Tottenham. Judging by Liverpool’s recent performances and current league standing, it seems that most of their new signings have not made as much impact as hoped.
Therefore, we will analyse each new signing and judge whether they have been a hit or a bust.
Lambert, a boyhood Liverpool fan, was reportedly signed for £4 million after having a prolific season for Southampton – notching 13 league goals and 10 assists. Going by his form and his love for Liverpool, this was seen as a very clever signing by Rodgers.
But, uninspiring performances for his new club have only raised doubts whether he is actually good enough for them, although it is clear that Lambert was bought as a back-up option.
In spite of racking up just five appearances so far, the 32-year-old has not done enough to suggest that he deserves a spot in the starting eleven whenever given the chance, and that he should be considered for future games.
Yet another acquisition from Southampton, the skilful playmaker was bought for an eye-watering £25 million. Having gone up through League 1, the Championship and into the Premier League with the south coast club, Lallana has become known as a very creative attacking midfielder who is two-footed, and blessed with vision, tricks, and an eye for goal.
After all the surrounding hype, injury has prevented him from playing in most of Liverpool’s early games and contending for a spot in the team.
Nevertheless, a collection of match-winning performances for his former club and impressive showings in the 2014 World Cup highlight his quality and delightful style of play. As a result, Liverpool fans still recognise what a good player the Englishman is.
The third and final signing for Southampton FC (sorry, I meant Liverpool FC, honest) from Ronald Koeman’s side, the 25-year-old arrived at Anfield for £20 million – making him Liverpool’s most expensive defender ever.
After being one of the standout central defenders of the 2013/14 Premier League campaign, the 6ft 2 Croatian international looked like a player who was worthy of such a hefty price tag.
However, he has looked a shadow of his former self for Liverpool so far, but perhaps that is down to getting used to his defensive partners. A series of shaky performances have not helped Rodgers fix his leaky defence – which conceded 50 goals in the league last season.
Furthermore, if Rodgers manages to get the best out of the powerful defender again, just as Mauricio Pochettino did, then Lovren could become their main man in the heart of the defence. On the other hand, if he does not, then this may prove to be a very expensive mistake that could cost his side a Champions League place.
Acquired from Bayer Leverkusen for £9.75 million, Can is aged just 20, and looks to have a very bright future.
Armed with a hulking physique, two great feet and an ability to both attack and defend, the Germany youth international looks to be a signing of the future… and a good one too.
Yet, Can is not what Liverpool currently need, as he will surely be starved of game time in the pursuit for success. Maybe Rodgers would have been better off signing an established central midfielder who would take the team a step further to filling that Suarez-shaped gap.
Another highly promising talent, Marković is a product of the infamous Partizan Belgrade academy – which has produced the likes of Stevan Jovetić, Stefan Savić and Adem Ljajić – and is regarded amongst many as a future superstar.
Marković, 20, joined the Merseyside club from Benfica for a reported £19.8 million, which is relatively cheap in today’s football market. Despite his undoubted ability and potential, the Serbian star has yet to showcase what he is capable of, and is struggling to displace Sterling and Coutinho.
He also adds quality in depth, and is a signing for the future, so the rapid winger should rack up more game time than Emre Can due to his experience as well as his ability. Therefore, although he may need time to acclimatise to his new surroundings and a new league, he looks like a player who will light up Anfield in the near future.
Only 19 years of age, the Belgian striker scored his way to worldwide recognition after coming off the bench to score his first senior international goal at the 2014 World Cup. This, as well as his performances for Lille, prompted Rodgers to snap him up for a £10 million fee.
But, as part of the deal to Liverpool, it was agreed that Origi should go back to Lille for the current season so that he can continue his development.
Since their star striker was sold, Rodgers desperately needed extra firepower to help maintain Liverpool’s push for domestic glory. So, this means that Rodgers should have prioritised a top-class goalscorer over yet another bright prospect. Origi was simply the wrong signing at the wrong time.
Having made his first-team debut for his hometown club, Sevilla, only 18 months ago, it has been a remarkable rise for the diminutive Spanish left-back – moving to Anfield for £12 million, which is a significant fee for a relatively unproven talent.
However, unlike many of his fellow signings, the athletic youngster has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water. He has already scored his first Premier League goal, in the 3-0 win against Tottenham.
If he continues putting in impressive performances and progressing at such a rate, then Liverpool may have found one of the best left-backs in Europe.
Affectionately known as ‘Super Mario’, the Italian maverick returned to England for a sum of £16 million. Infamous for the wrong reasons – a bad attitude, inconsistent performances and acts of lunacy both on and off the pitch – the 24-year-old will have his work cut out if he wants to fulfil his world-class potential.
As a man with undeniable talent, coupled with pure footballing ability, Rodgers may have found someone who is capable of truly replacing Suarez – they are both gifted with a touch of magic.
But Balotelli has been trying to fend off his demons for his entire professional career, and he still is now. At Inter Milan, José Mourinho even described him as ‘’unmanagable’’, and Mourinho is not exactly a soft touch, is he?
Consequently, Rodgers is going to have to do something very special indeed if he is to succeed in forging this Italian madman into one of the world’s finest strikers.
Javier Manquillo (loan)
Manquillo, 20, is a right-back who is on a two-year loan deal from Atlético Madrid.
He has already made five appearances for Liverpool, which highlights how highly Rodgers rates him. So far, he has impressed – his attacking runs down the flank and competence at the other end of the pitch have shown what an exciting and talented young player Liverpool have.
Also, if the Spain youth international turns out to be a poor signing after all, Liverpool would not have wasted money on a transfer fee. Therefore, this has proved to be an inspired signing.