Liverpool are no strangers to January transfers and in their current situation they’ll save enough money in goal bonuses to spend during the New Year window. Such names as Scott Carson, Muricio Pellegrino and Jan Kromkamp have come via January transfers. Even God himself, Robbie Fowler, came back at the end of the window in 2006. But Liverpool has had some great signings and bad signings during this window and as we enter the “striker-less” era at Liverpool, this doesn’t bode well for buying. Here are some of the high, and lowlights of Liverpool’s history during January:
Daniel Agger – With the exception of Jamie Carragher, he is Liverpool’s longest serving defender. Although he has been blighted by injury during the early stage of his Liverpool career his dedication to the club has cemented him in folklore. Liverpool remembers great defenders. Which is why they still love Riise. But Agger moved from Brøndby for a mere £6m in January 2006 and hasn’t looked back. Much like Riise, he destructive left foot as rattled a few nets.
Martin Škrtel – A year later, in a deal worth £6.5million, Liverpool acquired “The Terminator’s” services from Zenit Saint Petersburg. Again there was injury worries during the first couple of seasons. But since then, Škrtel has been a fixture in the Liverpool side. What he has brought is goals, unexpectedly. A force in the box for set pieces, his head always makes me check his odds for first goal scorer. All in all, the two defenders are two of the shrewdest buys Benietz made at the club. How many clubs can boast that they only paid £12m for two world-class centre backs? Not many.
Maxi Rodriguez – Liverpool seemed to like raiding Athletico Madrid in the last decade and Maxi was seen and used as a great back up player in a squad continually blighted by injury. As a winger he scored 15 goals in 57 competitive games, but that doesn’t show his movement and work rate when he was on the pitch. The best thing about this was that he was a free transfer. He perfectly filled a hole, like January transfers should. All in all it was good business.
Fernando Morientes – The year Liverpool won the Champions League, their strike force consisted mainly of Steven Gerrard. Actually it was Milan Baros, but the fact that you only remember the goals Gerrard scored shows how much Baros contributed. So Morientes was brought in to shore up a league campaign (as he was cup-tied). Problem, at 28 after a great spell at Real Madrid, his form dropped. Dramatically. 12 goals in 61 appearances over a year and a half. Brought for €9.3million and sold for £3m. A loss, for everyone – fan, player and club alike. To see Morientes struggle in a team that should have been prefect for him was hard but like others before and after him, it just wasn’t right.
Andy Carroll – What do I need to say about a last minute £35m “oh no we just sold our star striker what do we do” purchase? Is Carroll’s failure to deliver due to lack of games? Is it due to injury? Is it due to the fact that Liverpool have yet again tried to shoehorn a good player into an unsure and failing tactical system? (I point to Robbie Keane as testament to this). Who knows? But 8 months into his career as a record signing, Carroll is on loan, injured and has scored only 6 goals. I think everyone can agree that this will only end bad financially for Liverpool. So far then, bad buy.
Some of you are probably wondering why I’ve omitted Luis Suarez. Well, he is worth his weight in footballing gold when it comes to creating chances, ghosting defenders and getting goals. No one has ever denied that. But Suarez came with more than £22.6m worth of football. He came with baggage. Much popularised even before Liverpool brought him and then heavily in the spotlight for racism last year with a hefty ban. The problem is that we are unable to tell if he is more trouble than he’s worth yet. Generally he’s despised by almost everyone in England except Liverpool (as the booing at the Olympics showed). If he can deliver this season in a squad light on finishing quality, then he’ll be a high. If he doesn’t and gets frustrated, he could be a rather large headache for Liverpool’s now overworked PR department.
So when January approaches and Liverpool dip their toes in the cold winter market pool (they’re already looking), what can we expect to see? The money is not there for Rodgers. That much is certain. Also their Europa League results will determine if being cup-tied is an obstacle or not for potential buys or loan moves. One thing is for sure; Liverpool will be gagging for goals and will be taken advantage of for their desperation.