They currently trail fourth placed Tottenham Hotspur by 12 points and it is generally accepted that the midweek defeat at QPR was the final nail in the coffin of any lingering hopes that Liverpool would make a late surge for Champions League qualification. If these fears are indeed realised at the culmination of the 2011/12 campaign, Liverpool will lose out on a £20 million windfall in which progression to UEFA’s top competition ensures.
Failing the Carling Cup victory papering over many of the cracks evident at Anfield, such as a distinct lack of goals and a top-heavy burden and reliance on Steven Gerrard for inspiration, Kenny Dalglish has steadied the ship somewhat and forged more of a feel good factor partly because of his godlike identity at the Merseyside club. But at the back of every Reds fans mind is a fountain of frustration, and an impatience at the clubs inabilities to truly kick on. The manner of the defeat at Loftus Road again serves to gratify the arguments that Liverpool remain incredibly inconsistent.
With Europa League qualification already secured via successfully lifting the Carling Cup, a much smaller £6 million dividend represents the profit Liverpool will make from reaching the group stages. However, summer transfer targets will now have to be reviewed and names such as Eden Hazard, Seydou Keita and Javi Martinez as highlighted by technical director Damien Comolli may need to be altered in terms of modern players’ attraction to teams in Champions League contention.
Liverpool ponderously continue to use their history and prestige to lure Europe’s top talents such as Luis Suarez as opposed to their current league success and it is increasingly difficult for the club to compete in the transfer market with the clubs directly above them in the current standings.
It is well documented just how much money Liverpool have spent over recent years and spending big hasn’t always reaped the rewards at Anfield. In Rafael Benitez’ six year reign, the Spaniard spent a staggering £229 million on talent with the likes of Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, Fernando Torres, Pepe Reina, Dirk Kuyt, Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel representing some of the more successful imports. Reds fans will shudder at some of the less accomplished flops during the same period with Ryan Babel, Alberto Aquilani, Robbie Keane, Andy Carroll and arguably Stewart Downing highlighting where spending hasn’t always been carried out with the utmost consideration.
Perhaps, Liverpool’s transfer ‘Plan B’ in sourcing lesser targets due to their league failings isn’t such a bad thing after all. The most recent signings of Downing and Carroll serve to suggest an instant impact isn’t always the conclusion to an enthralling big money move. The owners Fenway Sports Group are likely to provide Kenny Dalglish with another £50 million war chest this summer but Liverpool and John W. Henry would be best advised to spend this cash more shrewdly than ever before.
Liverpool would be foolish not to employ a policy of wiser spending much like the resume at Newcastle this summer whereby the influx of the less fashionable Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba, Davide Santon and Gabriel Obertan has successfully led to foundations a more respectable Premier League campaign can be placed upon. Far too often, Liverpool have reached for the chequebook to fleetingly gloss their eyes over a player in good form, and pay big bucks as opposed to employing a more rigorous assessment of just how a player will fit in with the Liverpool dynamic.
The clubs American owners are certainly not as brash and bold as Roman Abramovich and Sheikh Mansour and understand that Liverpool’s long-term self-sufficiency must remain paramount in the minds of both the fans and the club hierarchy. Perhaps this is why Kenny Dalglish recently came out and boldly stated that the new Warrior Sports sponsorship deal can be equally deemed as successful as winning silverware.
A big summer awaits Liverpool and an undoubted influx of quality and flair is needed to push the club closer to top spot where they came ever so close to doing so in the 2008/9 season. The club just might need to look harder and closer than ever before in their sourcing of the next potential star.
Liverpool have wasted thousands of pounds in the past on ineffective signings? Who should they realistically target this summer? Follow me @ http://twitter.com/Taylor_Will1989
Watch the latest episode of the ‘Football Coffee Break’
[ffcvideo file=”tfcb8″ type=”mp4″ image_type=”jpg”]