Why didn’t we copy Newcastle? (Transfer comparison)

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This weekend we play Newcastle in a game that seems like the perfect opportunity to compare our front sixes as 6th meets 7th.

I’ve looked over the midfielder’s and attackers from both teams and the attitude in which they were bought is abundantly similar, they were risks. Liverpool went with their fair share of unproven but promising talent, and Newcastle, well they went for some players that would have been deemed ‘injury prone’ by knee jerk fans at first glance. Alan Pardew and his team of scouts went with quality players with something to prove, they possessed injury records that could put off many other clubs but injury records that would keep them ‘cheap’. So what about Kenny Dalglish and Damien Comolli? Well they bought bold and British, all of the players they bought had to step up very quickly or risk being hung out to dry.

So lets see how the two clubs transfers compare.

Liverpool: (I’ve gone with 6 that have been regulars to form a 4-4-2 formation)

Henderson – 16 million

Gerrard – (academy product)

Adam – 5 million

Downing – 20 million

Suarez – 23 million

Carroll – 35 million

TOTAL: 99 million

[sidenote: I understand we brought money in from deals such as Fernando Torres, but I’m focusing on what we spent and where we spent it, and just because you have the money that doesn’t mean you should spend it straight away]


Ben Arfa – 6 million

Cabaye – 4.5 million

Tiote – 3.5 million

Jonas – 5 million

Cisse – 9 million

Demba Ba – Free

TOTAL: 28 million

So we’ve spent 71 million pounds more on our acquisitions noted and we’re going into Sundays game 8 points behind them, with 8 games left. Of course you can place a few arguments of “but we had to spend big to achieve a top four finish”, I’m not sure when that became a rule, obviously it helps, but if you spend your money in the right places then there’s no doubt you’ll benefit, spend it in the wrong places, and well you become a laughing stock. You can also argue it’s a matter of budget, “It’s ok because we had 100 million to spend” It doesn’t seem like great business by FSG to spend all the money you have in the first year of purchase unless you can guarantee return. We saw in January when we quite evidently needed a striker that either a player wasn’t available, we thought it wasn’t an issue or it’s quite possible that John Henry and crew didn’t trust Dalglish and Comolli to spend again, just a theory. Newcastle went out and bought Papa Demba Cisse and he already has the same amount of goals that Andy Carroll and Dirk Kuyt have produced all season. Worrying.

Just because I’ve named players in my article it does NOT mean I am blaming them for their price tags, their respective clubs set the limits, and rather than assessing our options and looking abroad, we bit their hands off. 5 of the 6 players Liverpool bought were British, none of the 6 Newcastle bought were. If you’re qualifying for European competition the amount of British players you have at your disposal is important, but that implies we’re going to qualify for Europe every year and if it wasn’t for Liverpool’s Carling Cup win, I reckon we’d be panicking a lot more than we are right now. 2 points off a chasing pack that includes Sunderland and Everton. Worrying.

In summary, it goes without saying that I’m behind the management and the players 100% every game, the problem is we’ve planned for seasons ahead when what really matters is the right here, right now. Liverpool Football Club can’t really afford to be out of the Champions League, and the longer this transfer plan continues the chances of us getting back in it will look slimmer every year. We have to give Kenny another crack next season and then address the situation this time next year, fans calling for his head will be the same fans giving Chelsea abuse for their owner Roman Asackhimquick (yeah I’ve just made that up) doing exactly what his name suggests.

So I like to leave a question at the end of my articles to infuse debate rather than argument.

Question: Are you happy planning for the future with our long term project or would you rather see us find a quick fix for Champions League football and risk another 100 million? For me I’m split on it, but what about you?


Ben Carr

@DoctorBenjy on twitter, be sure to tweet me!

*Remember to look out for my April Fools article soon, you might remember last years


  1. You are basing this on the fact that we will def be successful in coming years because we are building now! Well truth is there is still no gurantee of future success no matter how careful, detailed and slow the building process is.
    With a “quick fix” as u put it, It is easier to build from the resulting success of that quick fix because you are already up there, already generating the income, already attracting the big names, sponsors, players etc.
    We can not afford a slow building process! Not in the EPL today where things turn around so quick. What dangers do u see now for Citeh that had a quick fix two seasons ago. – They made it to the champions league the following season and are now challenging for the EPL title a season later.

    I’m sorry but I think using this excuse of “it’s a slow building process” doesn’t work anymore. We have to call it as we see it at the moment and lay blame where blame is due. If not, we should then just accept that liverpool is no longer the mighty glorious club it once was and accept that we are now just a runners up team. I know it’s hard to swallow but that’s the evidence at the moment. We haven’t won the EPL title in 20years, we haven’t finished in the top4 for the last 3 seasons. Should we just accept our fate or demand answers as to where the club is headed. I’ll rather point the finger at the players and management as to why we are in the position we are now.

    Spending £100 million with not much to show for it is not really acceptable. Team formations, squad depth, not being risky.. i’ll say is the reason we are in the position we are now. The team are not being rotated efficiently enough – This is the reason that Lucas is injured at the moment – because he was made to play 3 games in less than a week. Considering his work rate, and the kind of player he is i.e diving into tackles to prevent the opposition building momentum which he did exceptionally well – he should have never been allowed to play that many games in such a short time. A prime example of bad management decision.

    Lots of other decisions like this are still being made when players are not given enough time on the pitch to build confidence or given way too much time on the pitch resulting to tired legs or injury. This no matter how u look at it is bad management.

    Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not calling for the sack of Dalglish, Comolli and co.. but what I’m saying is the whole management team need to step back and review what their goals are and how they actually want to achieve it – as it’s not making sense at the moment!

  2. I don’t think we should have gone out and bought the players we did, Henderson wasn’t a winger he is a centre mid but he is being played out wide where he offers nothing, Adam is over rated, lazy and cannot tackle he merely runs into people giving stupid free kicks he only looked good at blackpool because the rest of the squad was so poor, Enrique spends more time on his back side then on his feet and is making more and more silly mistakes, Suarez cannot strike a ball cleanly and I think that Carroll was never given a proper chance but when he is he fails to take it. Downing has never settled in, showed some promise but teams tend to make him out of the game because we have no width down the right. In answer to the question I agree we have to split priorities, we need a proper goal scoring striker and I think it was clear tot most we need to buy one in the summer, we need width down the right so until the window I’d play Johnson right wing because he is clearly not a defender with Kelly at right back who has shown ability when given a chance, kenny attempted to solve the left back problem with Enrique but I believe then when fit arellio is better, so it will be hard to attract the players we need, but I believe we will have to go on a spend spree again if we want champions league football next year, we need a goal scorer a right mid and a holding midfielder, I would clear out the Adam, send Carroll on lone to somewhere he will get football, give cole and aqullaini a second chance and strengthen the defence, it may not answer the question but I needed to have a bit of a rant over sub standard players

  3. and were do Liverpool get this extra £100 million from certainly not through sales or champions league, remember Leeds. plus for spending 200 million in a few years you would not be allowed to play in Europe for breaching the financial fairplay rules. just face it you’ve blew your money just like Newcastle did several years ago it would not be beneficial to splash the cash or risk the European ban with yet more outlays, it will take several years of sensible rebuilding, it is Liverpool’s only option. it only took a small amount of time for money spending Newcastle to get relegated when Shearer retired and Given was sold, how long has Gerard got and how long will Reina stay

  4. The worst thing is Comolli should have known those players from France. However, it’s fair to say that with much bigger pricetags and a bigger club with higher expectations like Liverpool, that those Newcastle players wouldn’t have done as well as they did.

    What is clear also, is that whoever gave the go ahead to buy Carroll, Henderson, Downing and Adam for nearly £80m needs to seriosuly improve their eye for talent. Because we will never progress with players of such average talent as those four.

  5. It’s sad really. Two yrs ago Newcastle were in the championship now they r 8points above us. And all that with less money spend. But everything should b fine cos we r being told by KD that the club has made progress. It’s also sad that lots of fans r buying that crap.

  6. The first thing to consider is the pressure on players. Liverpool have way more pressure on them than Newcastle have. Next season the toon wont be able to stay near us.

    1. What exactly do you base the fact that Newcastle won’t touch use next season on Jevon? Newcastle spent a quarter of what we spent and are comfortably 8 points clear, and that is playing with only two recognised center backs for the lions share of the season AND one of those is generally, rubbish.
      Who knows what will happen in the transfer market this summer, can King Kenny be trusted to blow another 100M? We need to spend a whole lot more

  7. Interesting article. Although I am fairly sure your’re going to get a significant amount of pointless trolling.

    I have to say that your basis for our “cheaper” players is inaccurate and flippant. Of those players, only Ba came with any previous injury worries. The rest were simply competently scouted players at a ripe age, playing for a big club in a smaller league. Its a flawless strategy.

    Further, I must strongly disagree with your perspective for the investment aspect of your 6 players. They will only be future assets if they carry on down a road of progressive increase in performances. Sorry but I just do not see that, I believe the three players Carroll, Henderson, Charlie Adam and Downing are middle table players at best and represent poorly considered gross investment. They will no doubt end up at the likes of Everton or Villa. They just do not stir the imagination, fairly average players at best. No offence but Downing couldnt tie Ben Arfas boot laces. Henderson isnt in the same league as Cabaye and Tiote. And Carroll, well you have seen him. Like Shearer these players require so much maintenance from the attacking midfielders and support players for them to be anywhere near their best. They require 25% from those around them to make their 100%. I prefer players who can be a threat on their own, that is why Ba and Cisse are so dangerous, because they do not have to “mix it” to get a chance. We have Jonas, Ben Arfa, Cabaye, Tiote, Ba and Cisse who can all cause you problems on their own, all with technique, pace and skill.

    Sorry lads, I have respect for Liverpool but I do not believe you are on the right path and found this article rather optimistic. Gerrard is now part of a bye gone era, ol glass legs. Suarez hasnt got the respect of the league, he will never become a great. Now, you tell me, is what I have said opinion or founded in fact?

    1. Well it’s opinion but it’s an opinion based on judgements rather than fact, if Suarez scores 20 goals for 4 seasons running, I’m sure he’ll be considered a great in many eyes. Look at Cantona. Cabaye has ankle injury history, Ben Arfa, injuries mentally of being a bit of a shit? Does that count. Cissa was hampered with niggles in his early career, didn’t finish many games, similar to Gerrard now I guess. Anyway thanks for reading and responding!

  8. Only Demba Ba out of those NUFC players had a rep for injury, the rest don’t. Ben Arfa had his leg broke by that thug from Citeh. The fact, we scouted, we found players who were less known but big on ability. Liverpool bought big names and seemed to decide there was no need to scout.

  9. As a Newcastle fan I’d just like to point out that we didn’t particularly sign players with injury records. Marveaux (not mentioned in the article) and Ba were the only two who had suffered bad injuries previously, although Ben Arfa’s deal was converted to permanent whilst injured (that bargain fee was agreed before the injury occured, which was a freak accident). Ba’s is well documented but I think the club thought it worth it, as there was no real fee and they have structured his salary as a basic with pay as you play top up. In fact, Ba has rarely missed a game, although I believe he sometimes sits out training to manage the issue.

    What I see at Liverpool is similar to what Dalglish did at Newcastle. Here he inherited some cracking players from Keegan and initially developed the squad by adding a dose of pragmatism. In the second season he attempted an overhaul and we were left with a load of plodding journeymen. We dropped from 2nd to 13th. Are you going to risk giving him the time?

    1. How can it be a big slice of luck that our players performed? It’s not ‘lucky’ at all, it’s down to scouting, coaching and motivation, something which for the first time in many-a-year NUFC have got down to a ‘t’.

      Likewise it’s not ‘unlucky’ that your players haven’t. It’s unacceptable, not unlucky.

  10. Three differences – i) a big element of luck to be fair that nearly all Newcastle’s signings have performed and nearly all Liverpool’s haven’t ii) pressure of expectations as Alan above mentioned, but also seems to be stronger team spirit at Newcastle than Liverpool this season which makes the individuals look better iii) people with money buy football clubs because they want to be loved and most fans, whatever they say, want their owners to splash cash in pursuit of short term success, very few owners would have the thick skin to pursue the strategy Ashley has in the face of the grief he’s had, FSG and Dalglish wouldn’t I think

  11. I have read this article with interest and there are a few comments that come across with rose tinted specs on. We are all passionate when it comes to our respective clubs but you have to look at facts. Liverpool have spent big on a lot (not all) average players. Downing was at Villa and not Man Utd or Chelsea for a reason. He has not lived up to the promise he had as a middlesbrough youngster. Adams was a crazy buy. The guy had one season in the premiership and i have lost count how many players have been one season wonders. The same goes for Henderson, a case of too much too young. One season as promising youngster followed by a 20m fee. Again, how many youngsters break on to the scene and dont progress. The one thing the ld has is time on his hands of course

  12. Oops. I was about to say is that the lad has time on his side of course. I dont get suarez. He has a lot of talent but no finish. Carroll simply does bnot sui Liverpools style and frankly i.dont think his heart is in it.

  13. Kenny made some appalling signings when managing Newcastle and I think many raised their eyebrows at the fees he paid for the likes of Carroll, Henderson and Downing – you got Enrique on the cheap. So in my opinion his record in the transfer market is not good and I honestly believe he won’t transform you into a title winning side. He will want to spend big again in the summer when really that shouldn’t be necessary considering what he’s already spent. I’m jealous though of your carling cup win and fa cup progress – whilst I wish that it was us, on the other hand I think Pardew will have more success long term.

  14. It’s interesting that you say ‘why didn’t we copy Newcastle’. The fact is Liverpool is a club (at the moment) in a long slow stage of decline. Newcastle was also a club that once upon a time had top 4 finishes (although I’m not saying the history of Liverpool) but we had years of poor management, big money spent, trophy signings, big names. Truth is, it turns out there is no substitute for proper scouting. Newcastle has had to learn the hard way, suffer relegation, make mistakes. But now we seem to have finally learned that it is not all about money. The biggest irony here is that it is the money from Livepool (actually Abramovic) that has boosted us into the position we current occupy. Good luck against Everton so we can get Europa, we deserve it after this season, bad luck for tomorrow.

  15. I have a huge respect for Liverpool football club and I always used to enjoy watching them play in the champions league, especially the Istanbul final. What is quite sad is that the team Liverpool won the champions league final with and won several trophies wasnt really that great. What I mean by that is that Dudek compared to Reina? Gerrard is arguably even better than he was then etc. Obviously the premier league has changed dramatically since the early 2000s with even the worst teams spending quite a bit and attracting global talent. I dont think Liverpool have really kept up with the likes of Man United because if you look at Man U they have pretty much the same core of the squad they have had for years and then they just add every now and again to the squad. With Liverpool it just seems that no real long term strategy has been envisioned. The amounts paid for players I consider highly over rated is almost sickening to me and I dont even support Liverpool lol Downing? can barely cross a ball for 20m, henderson is as slow as a tortoise, carroll was always over rated but arguably needs gerrard like service consistenly to perform, adam? wasnt good enough for rangers, says it all and other than a good free kick and corner from time to time what does he do? Winning the champions league was perhaps the worst thing to happen because I think it papered over a lot of cracks and Benitez didnt help. Alonso replaced with Aquilani a player you deem not even good enough for the bench but can go away on loan?

  16. Daglish took Newcastle back years, he`s hated on Tyneside.
    Give that Man anymore money and he will ruin you. He`s atrocious

  17. More like 6th meets 9th – Everton and Sunderland have moved up in the table. Season’s going from worse to shit.

  18. No point wasting more good money buying more players. The squad is good enough but the manager isn’t. Sack Daglish and get a better manager and management team.

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