I’ll be clear before we start: this is essentially two short blog posts bolted together. But not just for the sake of it; both things I’ll talk about here have been floating around my mind for a couple of weeks, and I realised that I have a similar message to preach for both things.
The first thing that has been bothering me is Liverpool’s perceived lack of transfer activity. “Arsenal are signing Higuain, Spurs have Paulinho, and who have we got? Not Mkhitaryan” scream the Twitterati.
By the time Kolo Toure completed the formalities of his transfer on 2nd July, four incoming signings had pitched up at Melwood this summer. In the previous four seasons, just three players in total had arrived by the same date (Glen Johnson in 2009, Jonjo Shelvey in 2010, and Jordan Henderson in 2011).
The club is clearly being as pro-active as they possibly can, and with greater urgency than has been seen previously (in public at least; it’s equally possible that deals were being done behind closed doors at similar points in previous years. We’ll never know).
The signings appear to be very good too, with the obvious caveat that a competitive ball has yet to be kicked. Liverpool have improved their goalkeeper (based on their respective form during the previous three years), replaced a retiring legend with a high-quality, experienced veteran, and added two highly rated forward players for reasonable prices from Spain.
This should hopefully quell the continual criticism that has echoed around cyberspace since 2011 regarding Liverpool’s transfer activity, namely that ‘buying British is bad'; it isn’t automatically, even if quality bargains are difficult to come by.
The Reds have also shipped out Andy Carroll and Jonjo Shelvey for a combined £21m; hands up who thought the Reds would bank as much as that for those two players? If you’ve now got your hand up, please explain why in the comments below!
I think Liverpool have done incredibly well to get that amount of money for a striker who the manager shipped out on loan as soon as was humanly possible, and a raw midfielder who completed just five league games for the Reds last season, and none since Boxing Day.
In my opinion, Liverpool have potentially done a lot of shrewd business this summer, and deserve credit for that.
I’ve also seen some fans saying that the club, and particularly Ian Ayre, were to blame for Henrikh Mkhitaryan moving to Dortmund rather than Liverpool. Again, this is another idea that baffles me; I suspect 99% of players would choose the Champions League finalists who are coached by one of Europe’s most highly rated managers, over a team that finished seventh with a promising, but largely unproven, gaffer in charge.
With around seven weeks of potential trading still to go, fans need to hold their nerve and not get in a flap over any morsel of transfer speculation that the tabloids gleefully offer up. No doubt the transfer committee are working hard to unearth more gems like Coutinho.
That’s the ‘now’ covered, what about the ‘next season’?
Brendan Rodgers has claimed he wants his team to bag an extra twenty goals next season. Whilst he can be admired for no lack of ambition, in order to achieve this the Reds will surely be even more open at the back than they were this season, as they will need to commit men forward to create and score enough chances.
Which got me to thinking; maybe Brendan is happy to sacrifice a few draws in the pursuit of the more valuable wins.
In other words, when a game is tight towards the end, don’t be surprised if Liverpool throw men forward in pursuit of a victory, and equally don’t be shocked if the net result is a loss instead of a point.
The Reds won sixteen league matches and drew thirteen last season; an improvement on the preceding league campaign, but still probably five or six wins short of the number required for a top four finish. Which means that they will need to do something in order to make up the shortfall, and risking losing some games against teams they should probably beat in order to do so.
Once again though, this will require the fanbase to hold their nerve, and not fly off the handle online with every disappointing result. Some defeats will of course be merited, but with Rodgers looking to beat Liverpool’s record Premier League goal tally by fourteen, don’t be surprised if the scenario I’ve envisaged above occurs from time-to-time.
I guess the thread linking these two ideas together is that of patience; don’t throw a paddy because Liverpool haven’t signed any superstars yet, and don’t type #rodgersout the second a result goes against the Reds. There’s a very long way to go yet.
Related posts you might like:
Kolo Toure: Liverpool’s New First Choice? – Comments from the club and Kolo’s stats suggest this could be a possibility.
Iago Aspas: Shots and Creatvity – Aspas’ figures from 2012/13 compare favourably with the Premier League elite.
British Transfer Premium, Anyone? – A look at Luis Alberto’s stats, compared with Tom Ince and Wilfred Zaha.
Is Mignolet The Man To Replace Reina? – A comparison of the two keepers’ form for the past three seasons.