Preparing for a long campaign

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There is no doubting that Liverpool have started the season brightly as Brendan Rodgers continues his Anfield revolution. 1-0 wins away at Aston Villa and at home to Stoke and now to Manchester United leave Liverpool at the top of the table with nine points before the International break.

Liverpool’s more positive approach is in part due to their active transfer window. The Red’s have been guilty of some high profile signings over the past few season’s which have failed in a big way. Who, after all, can forget Andy Carroll and Stuart Downing? After a season in charge, Rodgers seems to have put his stamp on the club and has brought back a sense of stability. The modern football fan has high standards; none more so than the Anfield faithful. When you buy Liverpool tickets there is an expectation that the players in the shirt will live up to the badge upon it.

So gone are the big money transfers and in it’s place are some shrewd pieces of business. This summer’s ‘big’ transfer has been the arrival of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet from Premier League rivals Sunderland for a fee of around £10 million

Rodgers has made just five buys so far this window: Iago Aspas from Celta Vigo, £9m, Simon Mignolet from Sunderland, £9m, Luis Alberto from Seville, £6.8m, Kolo Touré from Manchester City on a free and Aly Cissokho from Valencia who has arrived in loan.

Kolo Toure is bound to bolster the Liverpool back four. However, Toure picked up a groin injury in the 4-2 League Cup victory over Notts County, in which extra time was needed to see off their League One opponents. The former Manchester City man will miss the Anfield showdown with Manchester United and could face a lengthy period on the sidelines.

The list of players that are no longer on Liverpool’s books however makes for equally interesting reading; Andy Carroll went to West Ham for a knock down price of £15m. What might be worth considering here is just how much this player has hurt the Merseyside club financially. When Carroll was bought from Newcastle United it was in what you could only describe as an aggressive manner. One cannot believe that Newcastle accepted anything less than the full fee up front. Whereas it is highly likely that West Ham will have only been able to offer a payment structure of installments.

The rest of the outgoing moves asre: Stewart Downing (West Ham, £6m), Jonjo Shelvey (Swansea, £5m rising to £6m), Tyrell Belford (Swindon, Free), Peter Gulasci (Red Bull Salzburg, Free), Jamie Stephens (Newport, Free), Danny Wilson (Hearts, Free), Conor Coady (Sheffield United, Loan), Henoc Mukendi (Partick Thistle, Loan), Michael Ngoo (Yeovil, Loan), Pepe Reina (Napoli, Loan), Jack Robinson (Blackpool, Loan), Suso (Almeria, Loan), Jay Spearing (Bolton, £2m) and Oussame Assaidi (Stoke, Loan).

The Express report that this has prompted Rodger’s to revive his interest in Sporting Lisbon defender Tiago Ilori of whom they saw a £3 million bid rejected earlier in the summer.

A Portuguese under 20 international, Ilori enjoyed a decent season in Lisbon during the last campaign following his promotion from Sporting’s ‘B’ side. Born in London, Ilori is fast gathering a reputation as one of Europe’s up and coming defender’s and has also seen himself linked with Chelsea and Spanish side Valencia.

Sporting value their man at around £6 million and, with a defensive crisis threatening to overshadow a good start to the season, Liverpool could be tempted to double their original offer and convince the Portuguese giants to come to the negotiating table. At only 20 years old, Ilori is surely not yet ready for the vigour of the Premier League on a regular basis, but is certainly one for the future. Throwing the youngster in at the deep end in order to ease Liverpool’s defensive trouble’s could be the break that he is waiting for, and would certainly show us what he is made of.

Ilori has a bright future, for sure, and Liverpool could potentially be picking up a gem. Good enough for Anfield? Time will tell…

This season looks to be a promising one, and under Rodgers’ rule, his refreshed and enhanced group  of players ought to do the fans proud. Liverpool is a football city and one that will be buzzing. The bars, streets, venues old and modern will be hosting their usual excellent array of live events throughout the autumn months, culminating with the German Christmas market in the city centre in December.

Christmas is the time where all the Premier League sides pause to assess their progress. Rodgers is, relatively speaking an old hand now, and a he will know that the January transfer market is never the greatest. His activity this summer will have, at that point, stood him in good stead.