The Highs and Lows of Liverpool’s January Transfer History

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:

The Highs

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.

The Lows

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.

The Middle

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.

Evra & Suarez: Let’s Move On

So here’s a bit of work I did today, covering the Manchester United vs Liverpool game for UK TV channel Sports Tonight Live.

But the reason I’m writing this post, especially now is that it’ll be impossible to comment on this with any fairness or impartiality by the end of the weekend, if not before. I’m not here, speaking as both a Liverpool fan who is incredibly unbiased and a sports journalist, to cast any aspersions on the characters involved. The actions of all parties will be commented upon, remonstrated, demonised and made examples of.

Firstly, neither Evra or Suarez are in the wrong with their reactions towards each other. Regardless of thoughts towards the professionalism of the game, it is understandable that they both hate each other for what ever reason they have. Secondly Dalglish and Ferguson are not wrong in their remarks in their post match interviews. It is both their beliefs that are being asked and questioned and therefore formed in their replies. Thirdly, both teams are fully aware and respectful of the rivalry they share and the implications such actions will bear upon their football clubs.

Let’s pretend and postulate that all three of these situations are presented in a Primary School classroom, at least one that I attended in any case. In each respect both parties (Evra & Suarez, Dalglish & Ferguson, Manchester United & Liverpool) would be brought in together to see the teacher. Not a damn in the world would be given as to what occurred and the repercussions or who started it or why. It would be made very clear that behaviour like this is unacceptable. It would be then that they would be forced to make up, fully understanding what they did wrong. Yes there would be dodgy looks and a long period of silence between the parties but it would eventually clear.

The clubs will survive this recent development without too much tarnish upon their characters, that is for certain. The managers themselves will be equally untarnished. In fact, I’ll be surprised if cult elements of the football community don’t put Dalglish in a frame for his response to Sky’s Geoff Shreeves. The players, however, will be vilified beyond recognition. They already have been. Suarez is wrong for not shaking hands after being proved guilty and not making this water under the bridge. The man believes himself to be innocent, who are we to dictate what he should believe and how he acts that out? He’s an adult human being. Evra jumped about post match and flaunted the win for his team at his home ground. Something unbecoming of the defender as far as I am aware. Not until he crossed paths with Suarez (who to his credit completely ignored his machinations) was this then a problem and an obvious retort against the current scandal. Some would consider this the action of a relieved man who’s overcome an archaic adversity. Others would say he’s baited the player and acted like an impudent child. Who are we to dictate what he should believe and how he acts that out? He’s an adult human being.

It may be a cliche that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. But in the world of sport, cliches are almost literal. I must point out that while people will take sides, it’s not always correct. I cannot condone the actions of an individual who has been proven to have been racist (and admittedly has a dubious track record). Regardless of whether he believes he is or not, he has been proven guilty of the offence. Neither can I condone the actions of a man who has proven himself to wear his heart on his sleeve and yet show no decorum or professionalism in the global media spotlight, in order to selfishly celebrate a victory of vendetta (I don’t recall Evra using this as a platform to help oust racism from the sport). What I can condone is that these people really dislike each other, and that if the media spotlight focuses on this mutual disliking between two peoples then it becomes no better than a soap opera or a professional wrestling storyline. The news here isn’t that Suarez refused to shake hands or that Fergie is giving Liverpool transfer advice. It’s that two people dislike each other. Our wall to wall over embellishment of the coverage and a subject that, outside of revulsion and a moral point to prove that intolerance and racism is wrong, has no bearing on either sports or reality within most of the real thinking UK.

Put simply, something happened, people have been punished and its time to move on. Let the players and the clubs get on with it. If there is continued problems pertaining to the original offence then of course we should be mindful and utterly resolute in our approach. That is completely right if that is the case. Speaking as a fan of a club who never expected this scandal to ever be discussed in this country ever again however, not a shit is given this day if two people dislike each other. Let the sport do the talking.