According to reports, the country is now on the road to financial recovery. Despite this we all still need to keep an eye on the purse strings and Liverpool Football Club are no different. Let’s be honest, never mind blaming the Mrs., we’re all guilty of a retail excess now and again. A little shirt here, £50. A nice jacket there, £200 and, in the case of Liverpool, a centre back or two, £20m. It all adds up. I’ve been doing some digging and Liverpool have no fewer than 13 players out on loan this season. That’s virtually another team, barring a few subs.
It’s common knowledge that Brendan Rodgers needs to strengthen the defence, not only in preparation for potential Champions League football, but also to spare the blushes from some more than ropey defending we’ve seen in recent months. Well, he need look no further than the loan list where the team almost has an embarrassment of riches available and ready to save the club more than just a few quid on new players.
To avoid boring everyone to tears, here’s my pick of the bunch that will help Chief Financial Officer Andy Hughes sleep that little bit sounder with the prospect of signing off some rather hefty cheques over the summer months to come. After all, as they say, look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.
Of the five defenders, Andre Wisdom must be in with a shout of pushing for a first team place next season. And the updates from Derby are very encouraging indeed. The lad is good. Strong, fast and, judging from what we’ve seen of Glen Johnson’s ageing legged performances this term, Wisdom would be worth a run in the side. We have Jon Flanagan at right back now, but he’s also been used effectively on the left. Wisdom has been impressive whenever he’s played and you could argue that the first team exposure will bring him on leaps and bounds as it has done for Flanagan. That’s surely a saving of six or seven million at today’s rates.
In midfield, I’d like to see Oussama Assaidi come back. From what I’ve seen he’s had a decent spell at Stoke City. He scored an absolute screamer against Chelsea in December to give the Potters a deserved victory. He would make a decent replacement in the event of injury, and alternative to any of Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho or Iago Aspas. Where Aspas is concerned, I think his massive league goal tally this season of, er… two, should make him a contender to be sent out on loan himself if Rodgers still rates him. Or out to graze if I were to rate him. There’s also Jordan Ibe who most definitely has something to offer. Not as a starter, but again, bums on seats. Even if those seats take the form of the bench, he should get more playing time in the cup games and cover for the inevitable injuries. That’s another five or six million quid there. More if you add the two bob they’d get for Aspas if he was sold on.
The loan market has already helped Liverpool to save a fair packet. I’m sure Mr. Hughes is glad they’ve taken some players on to the books with only the wage liability and not a burdensome multi-million pound transfer fee to add to the balance sheet as well. Enter Aly Cissokho. He was mooted as a £12m must have purchase a year or two ago. The 26 year-old on loan from Valencia has been a tad disappointing in my eyes and I’m grateful that the club didn’t part with a large fee for him. Thank The Lord! They’ve only just turned the corner of financial recovery like the rest of us and he’d have been the footballing equivalent of a pair of loafers too far. The ones that looked nice in the shop, but now they always squeak and hurt your feet when you wear them.
Liverpool have a good thing right now. Not only are they second in the league and improving mentally, tactically and technically physically with each game, but the future prospects for the team look very bright in terms of the younger players at hand. It’s vitally important that the likes of Ibe, Conor Coady, Jack Robinson and the rest are developed into the players that they have the undoubted potential to be. My only concern with them playing at clubs like Notts County and Sheffield United is that they do not get the kind of challenge in the lower divisions that they’ll get in the Premiership and the club should strive to find top quality clubs for these players whenever possible.
In summary, let’s try to have a win win situation here. The home-grown players mean the team can grow from within and build a stronger base. LFC must not rely on the transfer market where prices and quality are both overinflated. Money makes a good servant, but an awful master.
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