Brendan Rodgers’ transfer record at Liverpool has come under fire in recent weeks and admittedly, the Ulsterman doesn’t have a great deal to show for the £210million spent since he took the Anfield helm back in 2012.
Nearly half that sum was spent this summer as the Reds attempted to compensate for the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona and the added demands of Champions League football, with the Merseysiders entering Europe’s coveted tournament for the first time since 2009.
So, could Rodgers have done better this summer? Perhaps this select Xi, combining Anfield stars with transfer targets linked to Liverpool during the offseason, can shed some light on the issue.
Would this line-up fare any better than the 12th-place Premier League this season?
Belgium international Simon Mignolet made more mistakes than any Premier League goalkeeper last season:
And resultantly, Liverpool were linked to a variety of replacement No.1s during the summer, including 27 year-old Keylor Navas:
Levante seek quick sale for Liverpool Arsenal target Keylor Navas (Tribal Football) http://t.co/7XBuxIbkGr
— Liverpool Live News (@lfclivenews) July 8, 2014
He excelled for Costa Rica at the World Cup, keeping two clean sheets and conceding only twice as the South American side reached the quarter-finals, and also made the most saves of any La Liga goalkeeper last term:
A seemingly obvious choice then, but Navas eventually joined European champions Real Madrid, who activated his more than reasonable €10million buy-out clause. Here’s a clip of the former Levante star in action:
The Reds also failed in their pursuit of now-QPR deputy Alex McCarthy.
Brendan Rodgers eventually snapped up Atletico Madrid youngster Javier Manquillo on a two-term loan to improve his options at right-back, but the Anfield outfit were also linked to Manchester City’s Micah Richards:
— It’s Man City (@itsmancity) July 19, 2014
Famed for his blend of pace, power and versatility, the 26 year-old had a lot to offer Liverpool’s backline. 179 Premier League appearances is nothing to be sniffed at either.
But the Reds and several other English sides were reportedly put off by Richards’ £7million price-tag, paving the way for a loan move to Fiorentina.
The England international hasn’t seen a plethora of action for the Serie A side but he’s produced some decent form, as shown below:
Argentina international Ezequiel Garay wasn’t openly linked with an Anfield switch during the summer but his services were undoubtedly there for the taking.
Aged 28, the towering centre-back is at the height of his career and has made it to back-to-back Europa League finals with Benfica, in addition to winning the Primeira Liga title last season. Here’s a clip of Garay in action:
Dominant in the air and renowned for his comfort in possession, Garay would have been the perfect signing for Liverpool.
Instead, the defender joined Zenit St. Petersburg for a more than reasonable €15million as his contract entered its final season, whilst Liverpool splashed out £20million on Southampton’s Dejan Lovren.
The Croatian international is still struggling to find his feet and Anfield and has been at the heart of defence for Liverpool’s three consecutive Premier League defeats, conceding six times in the process.
This summer has witnessed major changes to Liverpool’s backline but Brendan Rodgers was always going to make room for Martin Skrtel.
The Slovakian provides that all-important continuity and netted an incredible seven times last term whilst also producing some dogged displays at the other end. Here’s a look at some of the 29 year-old’s highlights last season:
Finding a left-back inkeeping with Liverpool’s progressive style was a major priority for Brendan Rodgers this summer and he eventually opted for Sevilla’s Alberto Moreno at a cost of £12million.
The Spain international’s produced some decent performances, particularly upon scoring his first goal for the Merseysiders against Tottenham:
Accordingly however, rumoured target Ricardo Rodriguez was surprisingly overlooked. The Wolfsburg starlet absolutely rocked the Bundesliga last season to find five goals and nine assists from left-back and brought his form to the World Cup, supplying twice for Switzerland.
Die Wolfe apparently value their prodigy full-back at around £20millio. Still just 22 years of age however, his potential is enormous and a move to a major club now seems inevitable. Here’s a clip of Rodriguez in action:
He’s started the current season in a similar vein, as shown below:
After his sensational form last season, the issue of Steven Gerrard’s eventual successor in central midfield was always going to be delayed for at least another summer.
Liverpool’s Captain Fantastic claimed an incredible 13 goals and 13 assists last season. Here are his highlights from 2013/14:
Perhaps a nostalgic and ill-thought pipe dream, but Liverpool were strongly linked with Xabi Alonso this summer – the midfielder who partnered Steven Gerrard during the Reds’ last Champions League title in 2005:
Jamie Carragher: Xabi Alonso could make Liverpool return: JAMIE CARRAGHER reckons there could be a chance of X… http://t.co/W1LPKQXQth
— Football Talk (@FootballTalk_) August 13, 2014
The 33 year-old may be a little over the hill but he’s still one of best in the business when it comes to ball retention – he’s made more successful passes than any player in Europe’s five leading top flights this season:
Alonso has since revealed that he was never given the chance to return to Anfield last summer, eventually signing for Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich instead. Ever the gent however, the Kop icon also rejected offers from Chelsea and Manchester United to protect his Liverpool legacy:
Liverpool legend Xabi Alonso reveals why he snubbed Chelsea and Man Utd for Bayern Munich (Daily Express) http://t.co/UvVZQJBNXt
— Liverpool Live News (@lfclivenews) August 29, 2014
Another Liverpool player whose starting Xi spot for the current campaign came with a guarantee, Raheem Sterling flourished for the Reds last term, bagging nine goals and five assists to earn a spot in England’s World Cup squad.
He’s continued in a similar vein this season, currently topping the Reds’ goals and assists charts in the Premier League:
Here’s a clip of the teenage attacker in action:
Filling in for the Reds in a less-favoured right wing role is now-Chelsea star Loic Remy, who came within a successful medical of joining the Anfield outfit back in July.
The 27 year-old bizarrely failed his examination, despite passing one for former club Newcastle during the previous summer, another upon being named in France’s World Cup squad just a month earlier and again when eventually signing for the Blues in August.
Liverpool have netted just 13 times this season and Remy’s firepower could be doing them a world of good right now. His Premier League record stands at an impressive 21 goals in 45 appearances – including 14 on loan to the Magpies last term. Here’s a clip of the former Marseille man in action:
Remy could have been Liverpool’s for a mere €8.5million, courtesy of a rather slender release clause.
Instead, the Reds launched a late swoop for Mario Balotelli, who is still yet to get off the mark for the Reds in the Premier League.
With Luis Suarez departing for Barcelona, Daniel Sturridge’s importance for Liverpool reached new heights during the summer. Unfortunately however, niggling injuries have ruled him out for the majority of the current campaign and the England international will be out for at least another six weeks.
Here’s a look at all 21 of the 25 year-old’s Premier League goals from last season:
The marquee signing Brendan Rodgers and Reds fans have persistently called out for since 2012, Alexis Sanchez had a straight-up choice of Liverpool or Arsenal upon being booted out of Barcelona this summer. It’s even claimed the Anfield outfit offered the Catalans £3million more for his services:
— IndyFootball (@IndyFootball) November 4, 2014
Brendan Rodgers has since claimed the Chilean attacker favoured London over Merseyside for family and social reasons, but that hardly softens the blow of the £35million signing going on to net eleven times in his first 17 outings for the Gunners.
Indeed, his Premier League form has been superb, as detailed below, even earning comparisons with a certain Luis Suarez:
He would have been the ideal successor to the talismanic Uruguayan, but Liverpool’s search for a marquee acquisition continues. Here’s a look at the 25 year-old in action for his new club: