Liverpool: Adding to the eight first team players Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has signed in this transfer window, he has thus far signed 21 first team players for the club during his three-year spell. For which he has spent over 200 million. The obvious question is, has the manager has made the best use of the money?
Considering the way his players are performing currently, one has to conclude that Rodgers did not make the best choices. Starting from his first signing of Fabio Borini to his latest, that of Mario Balotelli, not much has worked out well for the Irish manager.
Fabio Borini fact-file:
During his time at Chelsea as a coach under Jose Mourinho, Rodgers oversaw Borini’s performances, who was then in the Chelsea youth setup. And later, he managed Borini at Swansea City in a loan spell. Despite knowing the player well, Rodgers was unable to get the best out of him. To attest to this is the fact that in his time at Liverpool, Borini has managed to played only 26 times due to an injury-hit start to his Liverpool career. The most worrying thing is that he has managed to score only two goals in all competitions for the Merseyside outfit during this period. However, during his loan spell at Sunderland last season, Borini scored an impressive 10 goals. This raises another question: Was Borini simply not good enough for a team like Liverpool, or did Rodgers fail to get the best out of him?
Ioga Aspas fact-file:
Likewise, Ioga Aspas, another striker signed by Rodgers during the 2013 summer window, featured only 14 times for Liverpool in the league last season, of which nine were substitute appearances. In those matches, he could not even once find the back of the net. Subsequently, he was allowed to join Sevilla on loan this season. Surely not many fans will be against that move.
Oussama Assaidi fact-file:
And to quote yet another case in point, Oussama Assaidi, who was brought during Rodgers’ first season, managed to play for Liverpool only 12 times (six of which were substitute appearances) in all competitions in his first season for Liverpool. During which he failed to score a single goal. After which, he was loaned out to Stoke City for two successive campaigns. The loan signings of Victor Moses and Aly Cissokho in the summer of 2013 did not help Rodgers’ cause either, as the manager understandably did not give much importance to making the temporary loan signings permanent. To add to it, the disappointing, error-prone performances from last summer’s signings, defenders Kolo Toure, Mamadou Sakho and the goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, made the case against Rodgers even stronger.
It was not just the players he signed, but the players which Brendan sold irked the fans. Selling players such as Alberto Aquilani, Charlie Adams, Stewart Downing, Pepe Reina and Dirk Kuyt (who was a crowd favourite for his willingness to give hundred percent week in week out wherever he was asked to play), did not please the fans. Neither did he please the fans for selling Daniel Agger, one of his best defenders this summer for a mere three million. Not to mention the summer debacle in his first transfer window in 2012-13, when despite seeing his entire strike force (except Suarez) injured, Rodgers let the tall Andy Carroll move on loan to West Ham united without buying a replacement for him. He was absolutely convinced that Dempsey, who was playing for Fulham at the time, would sign for him. Much to his annoyance, Dempsey signed for Spurs and left Liverpool’s front line completely exposed, which was one of the reasons for Liverpool’s poor start to that season.
In terms of bringing up the youth players to the first team, with the exception of Raheem Steerling, Rodgers has not had great success. A lot was expected from defender Martin Kelly and many thought he would cement the right defensive side of the first team. However, Rodgers was unable to get the best out of him and sold him to Crystal Palace this summer. The same can be said of Jonjo Shelvey, who was sold to Swansea City last summer; and promising academy striker Adam Morgan, who too was released.
Balotelli complete the woes:
And for what may have been the final nail in the coffin, Rodgers bought Balotelli for 16 million to replace the irreplaceable Suarez this summer. Many thought it was a bargain for the 24 year-old; however, given that his boyhood club Milan (who bought Balotelli for around 20 million from Manchester City) was so happy to let him go for a cut-price deal, should have made Rodgers think twice before signing him. After missing out on ambitious targets such as Falcao to Manchester United and Cavani (who decided to stay at PSG), Rodgers was convinced that Balotelli was the man for him. However, his statistics in England do not make for good reading. The Italian striker has managed to find the back of the net only once in his last 24 league appearances (eight appearances for Liverpool, and the remaining during his previous spell with Manchester City); and this makes one question his efficacy at a new club, especially given his reportedly ‘wild’ temperament.
Of the many signings, Sturridge and Coutinho have only helped the manager to a certain extent. But the latest capture of Balotelli certainly highlights Rodgers major weakness in the transfer window. If Liverpool are really to improve, the manager has got to make better use of the coming windows.