The Liver Bird  

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Manninger, Alisson, Philippe sold: A tale of the Liverpool transfer window.


Beautiful South anyone? 

The Yorkshire band may have a point in the lyrics of Song for Whoever... "I forget your name." That phrase could easily be applied to several mind-boggling Liverpool transfers of the recent past, but not this year!

Gone are the days where the Reds would offer a short-term contract to an ageing Austrian goalkeeper (Manninger). In are the days where Liverpool break the world record transfer fee for a goalkeeper (Alisson) and in are the days where L4 completes shrewd business allowing star players to leave but for a considerable profit (Philippe Coutinho).

It wasn't that long ago when Kopites up and down the country were sat in front of the blinding Sky Sports yellow ticker tape, reading the breaking news that the Reds had spent £35 million on Andy Carroll.

In recent years, transfer windows for Liverpool fans have been something to fear, not look forward to. A sense of panic would always arise leading to inflated prices, the purchase of players in positions we don't need to strengthen and countless commentary from Rafael Benitez arguing for more in his kitty from previous American owners Hicks and Gillett. Horror filled times. 

Reds fans should fear no more though, the promotion of Michael Edwards to Sporting Director has brought with it some stunning signings and some key contract extensions. The likes of Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino have both recently put pen to paper to reinstate their commitment to the club and Edwards has also overseen big-ticket moves such as the £75 million signing of Virgin van Dijk and securing Naby Keita.

The price tags may well be rising, the Reds have just purchased the most expensive goalkeeper football has ever seen but that's what you need to do to compete. In seasons gone by Alisson would not even be on Liverpool's radar. Not only would the Reds struggle to entice such a name due to the lack of funds, they were also out of the Champions League and lacking in other star names to help convince any targets to come to the club.

Liverpool is a huge draw for many footballers but the history of the club can only act as an incentive to a certain extent. For many, no Champions League football and no top-drawer players pushing the team towards silverware means no deal.

For years, all we had as Reds was Steven Gerrard. The amount of stories you read about Steve's influence in signing players, his autobiography stresses several times where Brendan Rodgers would ask him to call up prospective players to try and convince them to come to the club.

Now we have Mo Salah dropping Alisson a cheeky text. 

I completed a quiz earlier this week where you had to name Liverpool's top 50 most expensive signings (I didn't get all the 50 let's put it that way). At the end of the quiz when all of the answers were populated I found myself both in shock at some of the signings but also pleasantly surprised with others.

Liverpool could argue that despite some poor transfer windows recently, they have also nabbed some absolute bargains. Fernando Torres cost the club £26.5 million, Luis Suarez cost just £22.8 million. Henderson £16 million, Philippe Coutinho just £8.5 million, some cracking deals I am sure you will agree.

On the other hand, the Reds have also wasted stacks of cash on underperformers; Christian Benteke cost £32.5 million, Alberto Aquilani (remember him?!) cost us £20 million and we paid £10.5 million for Fabio Borini.

We've come a long way from some of the terrible overpriced decisions but vitally, we need to make this count. The Reds have purchased some big names this window and while the pressure is on for these signings, they should be able to slot into Jurgen Klopp's side with ease. 

Klopp's teams press and attack relentlessly, adding the likes of Fabinho, Shaqiri and Keita into the mix is extremely interesting. On top of this, a young and hungry goalkeeper, eager to impress should add some much-needed balance at the back and I still believe that the introduction of VVD has massively aided Dejan Lovren's all-around performance. It's an exciting time to be a Liverpool fan.

Talk of Fekir and questions raised about purchasing another defender could possibly still be answered during this window but whatever happens, I don't think anybody can query the intent this year.

The ambition of the club is clear for all to see and I am just praying that this year, it could be ours.

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