When a club has a great history, it is important that they continue to achieve and improve as there is only so long that they can live off past success as a measure of being a big club.
Now I have a lot of respect for Liverpool FC, their fans, and what they have achieved in the game however I feel they are no longer fulfilling their ambition and their transfer dealings in recent seasons are a huge factor why.
If we look at it in the sense that they are currently a top four challenger rather than a title contender, are they even signing players on a par with Tottenham who currently sit fourth?
The big difference for me is the lack of value for money in Liverpool’s transfers. It is understandable that not being involved in the Champions League in recent years has made it difficult for the club to attract the leading names in the game, however splashing out ludicrous amounts of money on the likes of Jordan Henderson, Andy Carroll, and Stewart Downing isn’t acceptable, and the fans have a right to moan. The money spent would suggest Liverpool’s ambitions remain high and that they should really be making an assault on the title, but the harsh reality is that they are a long way off.
If you look at Spurs’ transfer dealings over the course of this season, they come across as quite schrewd bits of business. The acquisitions of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele, and Hugo Lloris for a collective amount in the region of £45million. This to me is wise spending and still fits into Liverpool’s action plan of signing players for the future with the latter 3 listed already looking like they will have big parts to play in the clubs future, while it could be argued Sigurdsson still has the potential to as well.
Since finishing second in the league in the 2008/09 season, four points behind Manchester United, Liverpool have collectively spent over £50million more than the Red Devils have on players, so it has to be questioned as to why they are languishing 22 points behind them in the current table.
Last season Dalglish brought in Henderson, Adam, Downing, and Enrique for a combined total of around £50million. Enrique is the only one out of those who can be regarded as a success so far and if you add on the £35million wasted on Carroll in the January window the season before, this is money that if spent wisely, I believe could have seen Liverpool making a serious assault on breaking the top 3 at least.
Dalglish is a Kop legend and rightly so for what he did in his playing days, as well as his first stint managing the team. However, he along with former director of football Damien Comolli need to shoulder a fair share of the blame for the clubs current situation. Admittedly former managers, Hodgson, Benitez , and even current boss Rodgers have wasted money themselves but not to the extent of spending over £100million where only one or two out of that money invested can be regarded as a success.
Comolli was recently quoted by the Daily Mail as defending the deals which he made with Dalglish, saying “We did 26 deals and to think we wouldn’t make any mistakes in such a huge number of deals in and out would be totally unrealistic.”
It can be argued that the likes of Henderson who has improved in recent weeks, is one for the future, but will he ever be good enough to take Liverpool and their fans to what they want to achieve? I think it’s questionable and will probably prove a gamble that doesn’t pay off.
It has left Rodgers in a position where he is having to cover for the mistakes that have been made, and has turned to the clubs youth products, with the likes of Raheem Sterling and Andre Wisdom being blooded into the first team this season. Luckily for Liverpool, Rodgers is renowned for his work with bringing through young prospects so they are in safe hands as far as this goes. He has also spent though, bringing in the likes of Fabio Borini, Joe Allen, and Daniel Sturridge in for 10, 15, and £12million respectively. These all still need to prove themselves, although Sturridge has started well.
One which has worked for the Reds from the Dalglish reign is the capture of Luis Suarez, and this is the bit of business that may make his failed signings slightly easier to forgive. The Uruguayan has built up his reputation as one of the most lethal strikers in the game, albeit a controversial one. Unlike Balotelli at Manchester City though, who often finds himself in the headlines for the wrong reasons himself, Suarez is producing on the pitch, which makes the negatives easier to look past.
It is vital that they hold onto him and build the team around him now, something which Champions League qualification will only help. The best players want to be performing on Europe’s biggest stage, and there is only so long Suarez is likely to accept playing for an under achieving side.
While the philosophy of signing young players for the future has to be commended, Liverpool need to wise up with their transfer dealings in terms of how much they deem a player is worth if they are to get back to the status they want and avoid making a loss on players who are signed for too much, but fail to produce the goods.