A review of Liverpool’s summer spending, plus possible starting XI.
In: Mamadou Sakho (Paris St-Germain, £18m), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo, £9m), Simon Mignolet (Sunderland, £9m), Luis Alberto (Seville, £6.8m), Tiago Ilori (Sporting Lisbon, £7m), Kolo Touré (Manchester City, Free), Aly Cissokho (Valencia, Loan), Victor Moses (Chelsea, loan).
Out: Andy Carroll (West Ham, £15.5m), Stewart Downing (West Ham, £6m), Jonjo Shelvey (Swansea, £5m rising to £6m), Tyrell Belford (Swindon, Free), Peter Gulasci (Red Bull Salzburg, Free), Jamie Stephens (Newport, Free), Danny Wilson (Hearts, Free), Conor Coady (Sheffield United, Loan), Henoc Mukendi (Partick Thistle, Loan), Michael Ngoo (Yeovil, Loan), Pepe Reina (Napoli, Loan), Jack Robinson (Blackpool, Loan), Suso (Almeria, Loan), Jay Spearing (Bolton, £2m), Oussame Assaidi (Stoke, Loan), Fabio Borini (Sunderland, Loan).
Retired: Jamie Carragher.
Since Brendan Rodgers arrived at Anfield last year, in just three transfer windows, the Northern-Irishman has totally revamped his playing staff – and this summer was his busiest yet.
Spending nearly £50m, the Reds have brought in eight players, who have undeniably improved the squad. Unlike many other big spending clubs, Liverpool have focussed their spending on defensive areas. French star Mamadou Sakho is widely regarded as a fantastic signing. Following Jamie Carragher’s retirement, fans were crying out for a proven centre-back to come in and play alongside Daniel Agger, and the 23-year-old has all the attributes needed to develop into one of the best defenders in the Premier League.
Tiago Ilori is a great prospect for the future, and free transfer Kolo Toure will provide some much needed experience as Sakho and Ilori develop. Aly Cissokho, another French international, provides solid cover at left-back, and Simon Mignolet replaces the outgoing Pepe Reina in between the sticks. The 25-year-old Belgian has yet to concede a goal in the Premier League, and is looking like a fantastic addition.
Further up the field, Liverpool’s business is less impressive. Despite targeting Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Diego Costa and Willian, the Reds ended up with Iago Aspas, Luis Alberto and Victor Moses on loan.
Aspas is a hard worker, and will no doubt be effective in many matches this season, but lacks the match winning quality needed to properly challenge for the top four. Alberto is talented but unproven, and Moses provides a physical option on the right – but like Aspas, lacks the technical ability and creativity to turn Liverpool into a serious top four threat. Having said that, when Daniel Sturridge moved to Liverpool from Chelsea last January, few were expecting him to develop in the the brilliant striker he is now.
Perhaps their best bit of business was keeping hold of wantaway forward Luis Suarez…
The 26-year-old Uruguayan publicly stated his desire to leave Anfield to play Champions League football, but the Liverpool hierarchy were adamant he would not be sold, and especially not to a Premier League rival. Suarez bagged 30 goals in all competitions last season, and when he returns from suspension in two games’ time, will reform an impressive attacking triumvirate with Coutinho and Sturridge.
The Reds have also done well to move some dead wood out of the club for relatively sizeable transfer fees. Getting £15m for Carroll, (in spite of the £35m spent on him) is a good return for a player who was totally surplus to requirements, and receiving £12m for Stewart Downing and Jonjo Shelvey is probably good business also. The latter pair could have done a good job as squad players, but they wanted the first-team football Rodgers could not guarantee them, and were fairly allowed to leave.
Despite the multiple deals done, it could be argued that the only first-team position directly strengthened was at centre-back. Liverpool’s summer in the transfer window was impressive, but it could have been brilliant if they managed to bring in a marquee signing in the final third.