This summer has been a very interesting one for Liverpool fans. Who could have predicted at the end of last season that our owners would be prepared to splash the cash, for a second successive summer, on a series of new faces?
It really is an incredible turnaround in the space of just a couple of months – from the situation we were in following the heavy defeat by Stoke City on the final day of the Premier League season, to the renewed sense of optimism currently sweeping around Merseyside.
Our much maligned transfer committee certainly deserve plenty of credit. They’ve learnt their lessons from previous seasons. Last summer there were too many panic buys and too many gambles on young, unproven talent. This year, we’ve bought experience and proven quality that should hopefully compliment what we’ve already got.
What has been particularly refreshing, is the speed with which these deals have been done. The areas in which we needed to improved were quickly highlighted and we’d already signed six new players before we’d played our first pre-season friendly, giving those players the time they desperately needed to bed in and become accustomed with their new surroundings and new teammates.
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Let’s be honest, at the end of last season, we needed improving all over the pitch – a goalkeeper to replace Brad Jones and offer competition for Simon Mignolet, full-backs to replace the likes of Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique, an experienced midfielder to replace Steven Gerrard, an attacking talent capable of matching or surpassing Raheem Sterling, and strikers – two or three of them in fact – to come in and provide the goals we’re missing.
Considering that we’ve been working without the lure of Champions League football and in a highly competitive market devoid of big names for realistic prices, we couldn’t have done a great deal better than we have done.
The fact that our first four deals – for James Milner, Danny Ings, Adam Bogdan and Joe Gomez – were done so cheaply, gave us plenty of breathing room and meant that we could afford to splash the cash on Roberto Firmino, Nathaniel Clyne and Christian Benteke without breaking the bank.
Four of those players should improve the first-team from where it was last season – Clyne replacing Johnson, Milner replacing Gerrard, Firmino replacing Sterling and Benteke coming in up front. Ings, along with Divock Origi, will provide much tougher competition for place up front, while Gomez has looked a real bargain thus far.
So with everything going so well, why should we not be pushing on and trying to do more?
The most obvious reason is that there are very few players available who could actually improve us. We’ve been linked with full-backs, such as PSG’s Lucas Digne (via Liverpool Echo), Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illarramendi (via the Metro) and Borussia Dortmund forward Marco Reus (via Daily Express), but it’s hard to imagine where they’d fit in unless someone else made way.
Furthermore, it’s important to give those that are already here a chance. The likes of Andre Wisdom, fresh off the back of a new contract, Joe Gomez and Tiago Ilori all deserve their opportunity at the back. Emre Can, Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva are already competing over the final midfield spot alongside Jordan Henderson and James Milner. While what of Lazar Markovic and Jordon Ibe if another attacking player comes in?
More new arrivals would undo the good work we’ve already done. The squad still have two weeks to train and play together and prepare for start of the new season and our rematch against Stoke at the Britannia Stadium. New players will only disrupt those preparations and give Rodgers and co more to think about.
Wait until January, see who does well and who doesn’t, and then take another look at where the squad might be improved. Rodgers could well have concerns over his central defenders, who didn’t bathe themselves in glory in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, but bringing another new player in to the mix will only make it harder for working relationships and understandings to be built up between teammates.
It will be dull for the tabloids, should Liverpool’s business prove to be completed in mid-July, but we firmly believe that this will be in the best interest of the team moving forward. Let this squad prove themselves and take the Premier League by surprise next season!