Over the last two seasons, Liverpool have attempted to rebuild the club by signing young, British players. Both Kenny Dalglish and Brendan Rodgers have focused on buying home-grown talent, in an effort to rebuild the club back to its successful roots. Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing and Joe Allen are just a host of British players brought in to restore Liverpool’s former glory.
And after a successful first season in charge, Brendan Rodgers is set to use the transfer window once again to strengthen his squad. But it seems that the Northern Irishman is still interested in bringing in more home-grown talent to Anfield. Danny Rose has been the latest youngster from the British Isles to be linked with the club, which has raised questions from some Kopites.
Rose has been a rare positive for Sunderland, after completing his season on loan from parent club Tottenham. The 22-year-old has impressed for both club and country this season, featuring for the England Under-21 side and Great Britain Olympic team. And with doubts over Jose Enrique’s future at the Merseyside club, it seems Rose could be receiving a bid from the 5 times European cup winners.
But with the club’s amount of British players into the double figures, plus a whole host of youngsters in the academy from the UK as well, should the Reds be looking elsewhere now? January signing Philippe Coutinho has been an incredible purchase for Liverpool, scoring 3 goals and assisting 5 in his 13 appearances in a red shirt. His vision and passing has been admired by fans, who have enjoyed the Brazilian’s flair and trickery.
The speed, vision and dribbling ability shown by South American duo Suarez and Coutinho has lit up the Anfield turf for the second half of this season, helping the Reds score the 4th highest amount of goals this campaign. So Reds fans will want more players like them, who add the flair and skill that is rarely seen from English players. The Futsal skills displayed are rarely learnt by British footballers, and it shows. It seems that for every good English player, there is a better foreign one.
However, should Liverpool really be criticised for trying to be more British? Especially when players such as Henderson and Downing, who struggled so much in their first season at Anfield, have shown such an improvement under Rodgers. Defenders Glen Johnson and Jamie Carragher have been reliable as ever this season, whilst youngsters Jonjo Shelvey and Raheem Sterling have shown their potential too. And although Joe Allen has proved to be a huge flop since his move from Swansea, every club has a signing that doesn’t fit in.
Although Liverpool’s British talent have been strong this season, only one Red got into the PFA Premier League Team of the Year. Uruguayan Luis Suarez. Henderson and Downing were a long way off from getting into the Team of the Year, which had 4 British players in, highlighting the ability of players being produced across Europe and the rest of the world. And if you asked any Liverpool fan if they would rather have Juan Mata or Stewart Downing play in a Liverpool shirt, you would be looking at a 100% vote for the Spaniard.
The Reds have enough players to meet the Premier League’s home-grown rules, many of whom are showing promise to become big players in the club’s future. But with Champions League ambitions, the club need to be signing some of the best players in world football. Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea will all be trying to sign prolific strikers and unbeatable defenders in the summer, irrespective of what nationality they are. Liverpool need to do the same if they are serious about qualifying for Europe’s elite.
Danny Rose is a promising left-back, and may well work wonders at Anfield. However, Liverpool need to look for players who are one of the best in their position, and then find out his nationality. If the Reds only look at British players, then they can’t be surprised when they discover that they aren’t in the top 4 next season. With England the 7th best team in the world in the FIFA rankings, Rodgers will struggle to find English players available that have the quality needed to fight in the Champions League. The Reds’ transfer policy needs to be about looking at talent before nationality, otherwise they will continue to watch the Champions League on TV instead of featuring in it themselves.