During the summer 2014 transfer window, Liverpool sold Luis Suarez, spent £117m and had Mario Balotelli competing with Rickie Lambert up top come the start of the season.
It was judged nightmarish and the results backed this up. From within inches of Premier League title glory in 2013/14, Liverpool flopped to 6th a season later – which effectively cost Brendan Rodgers his job.
We signed nine players during those fabled months, but it’s only now we’re perhaps seeing the fruits of that laboured window…
Here, one by one – we’ll show that in the long-run those nine players have mostly proven a success and will play an important part of Jurgen Klopp’s squad going forward.
Rickie Lambert – Forward – Southampton – £4m
Liverpool signed Lambert as a backup, but pressure was piled on the veteran when we didn’t acquire an adequate no.9. He played more than Rodgers had anticipated and wasn’t up to scratch, but we cut our losses on him last summer.
Emre Can – Midfielder – Bayer Leverkusen – £10m
What’s the German worth now? We’d suggest if a side actually wanted to buy him they’d have to pay treble what we did in 2014. Can’s only 22-years-old but is a regular in his country’s international squad and one of the first names on Jurgen Klopp’s team-sheet. Yes, there’s still room to improve, but Can has the drive and ability to fulfil his otherworldly potential. A future captain in the making.
Verdict: Roaring Hit
Adam Lallana – Midfielder – Southampton – £25m
Fresh off the back of the Premier League Player of the Month award for March, Lallana is finally putting in the performances worthy of his price-tag. It wasn’t his fault we spent £25m on him, but the fee – and injuries – weighed on his shoulders during his debut season, and for the beginning of this one too. Now though, he’s visibly so much more confident. He can genuinely play anywhere in midfield, and his defensive contribution and unrivalled touch has made him a Jurgen Klopp favourite. Lallana’s beginning to add goals and assists to his game now and he’ll need consistent end product to keep himself in the side following this upcoming summer. But no fans can suggest he’s not a very talented footballer and a valuable member of the squad.
Verdit: Hit (eventually)
Lazar Markovic – Forward – Benfica – £20m
We’d be able to judge Markovic properly if he hadn’t been needlessly sent on loan to Turkey for a season. When fit he’s done well for Fenerbahce but injuries have derailed his progress. Klopp wanted him back at Anfield when he took over from Rodgers but the contract we agreed with Fener didn’t allow it. Seeing his £20m price-tag, you’d have to say this was a very poor piece of business as of yet, but if the Serbian settles next term it could look a bargain – and he’s still only 22-years-old. The jury is still out. Markovic is a very talented, technical winger, the kind Klopp doesn’t currently have at his disposal.
Verdict: Miss (for now)
Dejan Lovren – Defender – Southampton – £20m
As dreadful as Lovren was under Rodgers, he’s been almost equally as good under Klopp. What a difference confidence makes. The Croat has leapfrogged Martin Skrtel in the centre-back pecking order and many would prefer him to Mamadou Sakho in our first-choice XI as well. Still only 26, Lovren could become a valuable servant if he continues the form he’s shown in 2016. He’s composed on the ball, tall, strong and communicates well in the back-four. It’s a testament of his extreme improvement that were labelling Lovren a Liverpool transfer hit.
Verdict: Hit (eventually)
Divock Origi – Forward – Lille – £10m
What’s not to like? Young, rapid, hard-working and with bags of potential, Origi is one of the most exciting young strikers in Europe. And we snared him for £10m, pittance compared to his potential value. This term the 20-year-old Belgian has bagged a hat-trick and climbed above £32.5m Christian Benteke in the forward pecking order. Klopp loves Origi and will continue to improve him. Already a hit, Origi’s ceiling is even higher.
Javier Manquillo – Right-back – Atletico Madrid – Loan
No harm done, really. Not a bad fullback at all, but struggled to adapt to English football at such a young age and had his loan spell cut short. Not a success, but his departure meant we signed Nathaniel Clyne instead. One of those things.
Verdict: Harmless Miss
Alberto Moreno – Left-back – Sevilla – £12m
Probably the Liverpool player who divides most opinion. Moreno has the potential to be a brilliant, bombarding, dynamic attacking fullback, but his defensive lapses leave Reds pulling out hair. It’s likely left-back competition will be signed in the summer, but at 23, Moreno can still prove himself. A full pre-season under Klopp will help, as the Spaniard won’t be at the Euros. If we do choose to sell, we’d be able to make back most of what we spent on him.
Verdict: Jury’s out
Mario Balotelli – Forward – AC Milan – £16m
There’s no arguing this one, Balotelli is one of the biggest flops in Liverpool history. Not just because of the price-tag, but because of his overall damage to our club. He’ll be shipped out this summer. Unbelievably, we could make our money back if a Chinese club takes the bait.
Verdict: Absolute Stinker
*** Overall Verdict ***
So Can, Lovren, Lallana and Origi are hits, Lambert, Balotelli, Markovic and Manquillo are misses – and we’re not quite sure on Moreno yet…
Lambert and Manquillo cost hardly anything though, while we’ll fortunately make money back on Balotelli. Finally, Markovic could prove to be a Klopp hit eventually.
For the worst transfer window in Liverpool history, this is no longer looking so bad.