There is no doubt that, in many ways, the current transfer window can be deemed a success for Liverpool, despite the failure to hold on to Raheem Sterling, one of the club’s brightest talents in recent years. With the conclusion of Christian Benteke’s transfer from Aston Villa, the Reds have added yet another talented player of quality. Given some of the previous purchases such as James Milner and Roberto Firmino for example, Liverpool have certainly improved the overall competitiveness of the squad. However, in some ways, this summer feels somewhat similar to last summer, when the club replaced an outgoing superstar, Luis Suarez, with a number of decent players. As we now know, that project failed and the Reds did not manage to replicate the form that took them agonisingly close to winning the title.
After the season before last, the only major player to leave the club was the above mentioned Uruguayan superstar Luis Suarez, who ended up joining Spanish giants Barcelona and treated Liverpool to an extraordinary money shower. With Suarez, the Reds had just concluded their best season in years, missing out on the Premier League title by a painfully small margin. Consequently, one would have thought that minor changes to the squad would have been sufficient to compete at the very top again. Instead, the club’s management invested in a host of players, ultimately triggering a major overhaul when it was arguably not needed. Without a doubt, a lot of quality was added, with the likes of Emre Can and Adam Lallana joining the club, but the type of player that Luis Suarez represents was certainly not recruited.
Nevertheless, there is a silver-lining for the Liverpool faithful. Some of last summer’s purchases, such as talented winger Lazar Markovic, failed to live up to the expectations and have been deemed a mistake by many. However, these players arguably had a year to get used to English conditions and the expectations of the club. As such, Markovic in particular, might be one of those players who hit the ground running in their second year. In addition to this, the likes of Can and Lallana had promising first campaigns at Anfield and are likely to get even better. Of course, there are also the likes of Mario Balotelli who does not look too intriguing with regards to his second season.
In addition to this, Liverpool’s most recent purchases can be viewed somewhat differently. Benteke, Clyne, Ings and Milner for example, are proven Premier League material and were arguably amongst the best domestic players last season or in recent years. They will not need to get used to this league, nor to a new language or culture. Another recent purchase, Roberto Firmino, is a rising star for Brazil. The player may come with an arguably hefty price-tag, but the switch from Germany’s top division to its English equivalent might not be the biggest step. Firmino will equally be able to benefit from compatriot Coutinho’s presence in the squad. Looking at these five players in particular, signals a rather different direction from that of last summer. Although many might regard Liverpool’s recruitment as an attempt to overhaul a squad, it is actually nothing but a collection of needed tweaks.
In this respect, Liverpool will continue to build on the talents and presence of players such as Jordan Henderson, Simon Mignolet and Philippe Coutinho. It is obviously fairly dangerous to add too many players and to make too many changes in one transfer window, but Southampton’s success from last season is enough reason to have faith. As things stand, Liverpool certainly have a better squad than last season and might ultimately benefit from the presence of superior quality, despite losing club legend Steven Gerrard. If the players fail to click however, the transfers will be first in line for criticism.