Liverpool’s Wasted Wages

I learned today from a fellow statto Red Dan Kennett that Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard, Alberto Aquilani, Joe Cole, Maxi Rodriguez and Dirk Kuyt account for a whopping 25% of Liverpool’s total wage bill.

That’s a hell of a large investment considering the following facts about the season just ended:

  • Aquilani and Cole spent the entire season on loan in Europe;
  • Gerrard suffered from multiple injuries;
  • Carragher is now the third choice centre-back behind Agger and Skrtel;
  • Kuyt only completed ninety minutes on ten occasions in the league;
  • Maxi played less minutes than sixteen of the club’s outfield players.

So how much time did this costly sextet actually spend on the pitch in the Premier League during 2011/12?

  • Kuyt: 2104 minutes (58.5% of the available time);
  • Carragher: 1822 minutes (50.6%);
  • Gerrard: 1292 minutes (35.9%);
  • Maxi: 813 minutes (22.6%);
  • Aquilani & Cole: 0 minutes.

Therefore, Liverpool only got 6031 minutes (or essentially sixty-seven 90 minute appearances, just 29% of what those six players could’ve played) from 25% of the wage bill.

Some of those low appearance figures (especially in the case of Maxi) will be down to Kenny’s selection choices, but the club got very little benefit from a quarter of it’s wage expenditure. The money that this group was paid should be reflected in results on the pitch, but it clearly wasn’t this season.

That Liverpool’s Champions League-level expenditure on these six players only produced eleven goals and four assists in the Premier League in 2011/12 is a damning indictment of the financial mismanagement that plagued Anfield prior to the arrival of the Fenway Sports Group, and that’s before you get to them having to write off £35m on an unbuilt stadium.

Whilst I was disappointed to see Dirk Kuyt leave from a footballing point of view, his wages could probably pay for two younger players to boost the squad, so it made a lot of sense financially. The same goes for Maxi, who is expected to leave, but whose footballing nous would’ve aided a struggling Reds side on more than one occasion last season, and for all the question marks surrounding them, Aquilani and Cole would surely have provided alternatives worth trying when the team needed a boost.

One thing is clear; John W Henry and co. are not going to greenlight such expenditure in the future whilst Liverpool remain outside the Champions League, so however many of the remaining five of these six players line up for the Reds next season, they need to deliver far more than they have done in 2011/12.

Statistics sourced from EPLIndex. Please take a look at my other articles, a list of which can be found here. You can follow me on Twitter here.
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13 thoughts on “Liverpool’s Wasted Wages

  1. These are top players who have all played Champions League football. If we dont play champions league wages we wont have champions league players, if we dont have champions league players we wont play in the champions league. if we dont play in champions league we cant afford champions league wages. The self perpetuating spiral of decline

    • I take your point, but with where the club found itself when FSG came in (within touching distance of administration), I think they have had little choice but to cut back on wages. Cheers for reading mate.

  2. The other way of looking at it, of course, is that those players might be worth their pay (6 players on 25% of the total isn’t as bad, when you think it would translate to 24 players accounting for 100%) but that KD mis-managed badly, and played lesser players on lesser wages, while shipping out Aquilani and Cole and neglecting Maxi and Kuyt.

    Had he played those four consistently in place of Downing, Adam, Henderson and Carroll, or not even bought them, it would all look a lot more financially sound.

    • Yep, that’s a fair point mate. I think personally that the season just gone contains a lot of what-ifs! I genuinely don’t think we were as far from the top four as it seemed (certainly up until March), and I think Rodgers has a great chance to get us thereabouts next season.

      • I’m inclined to agree. The squad was better than it performed, and I think that’s at least part down to Kenny’s ‘gung-ho’ attacking approach which for me lacked organisation and strategy. That won’t be an issue under Rodgers, so we can expect him to get more out of what he already has.

        His preference for developing young players over big-named older ones means wage-bill should fall naturally.

        Fourth will be tough with Man U, Man City, Arsenal and newly reinforced Chelsea to contend with – not to mention Tottenham and Newcastle – so if he pulls it off it would be a great achievement, and even fifth would be good if we did it playing in style.

  3. Cutting Dirk and Maxi, and playing Sterling/Suso/Eccleston/Coady/Pelosi in the same role would save wages galore! If they are only going to see a limited amount of time as DK and MR did, makes more sense than keeping them both at high wages. Joe Cole should be a goner and so should Aquaman if he doesnt buy in, though I really hope he does! The above reserve players will benefit from Europa league games and a few 1st team appearances would be great if they can get it. And I’m hoping they will!
    The above should make little sense as I am drunk btw

  4. Interesting stat Andrew and one I think is the result of 3 managers in 3 seasons. When we review next season the picture could be just as bad as we have our 4th manager in 4 seasons.

    • Yeah the ’4 managers in 4 years’ issue was one of the reasons I wanted Kenny to stay (plus he did pretty well too though of course!). I guess if Maxi, Aquilani and (maybe) Cole leave, then the wage bill will decrease as we’ll bring younger players in on lower money. Cheers for reading Tony.

  5. Why did you include Aquilani in your analysis? Weren’t his wages being paid my Milan or was there a Joe Cole style wage split with Aqua as well? Also, in case of Joe Cole, I believe LFC was paying only a chunk, admittedly a substantial one, of his wages. When you were counting the 25%, did you mean just the sum of their wages or the wages that LFC actually ended paying over the season?

    • As far as I know, Liverpool were paying ‘some’ (I don’t know how much) of Aquilani’s wages, as he was on far more with the Reds than he could get in Italy.

      Re the 25%, I dont have any further info unfortunately – Dan said that those six players accounted for 25% of the wage bill, so I just looked at what they gave to the team last season and found it was very little, so wrote the piece around his statement.

      Thanks for reading mate.

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