Last season, under the guidance of a Kop icon Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool struggled to equalling their worst Premier League position of 8th, which they had recorded in 1994, some 18 years ago. Former Swansea gaffer, Brendan Rodgers has injected some new blood into the squad in an attempt to provide the free-flowing and liquid football that his Swansea outfit endorsed last term.
Rodgers acted quick in bringing Swansea loanee Fabio Borini from Roma for a 10 million price tag, a signing which puzzled Kopites but Rodgers looked to a very familiar face in Welsh midfielder Joe Allen – a cornerstone in Swansea’s 11th place finish in their first Premier League season.
However, the window can be deemed as a failure as Rodgers failed to attract the big names the club is used to with just four names coming into Anfield with Nuri Sahin and Oussama Assaidi also being welcomed to the club, although Sahin’s is only on a season-long loan.
Rodgers hasn’t dispelled the big money signings that Dalglish had attempted to bring Champions League football back to Anfield for the first time since the 2009-10 season as finishes distributed between sixth and eighth place have become commonplace in Liverpool’s recent history since the title challenge of 2009.
The panic buys, most notably Andy Carroll along with the signings of Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson which hadn’t generated the expected success, instead, for a combined fee of some 40 million pounds, they had achieved 104 appearances and six goals in the midfield partnership.
Rodgers doesn’t look to quell throwing money at unproven players, Allen and Borini prime examples of this. Dalglish was Liverpool’s biggest culprit of overspending with flops in huge magnitude.
Whilst Luis Suarez has proven his natural ability up front for the Reds, he has created huge controversies in both of the Premier League clashes between his club and Manchester United for his part in the race scandal with United full-back Patrice Evra which warranted a hefty spell on the touchline.
However, the tumultuous past season did provide two cup finals which kept Liverpool in Europe with the Carling Cup penalty shootout victory over Cardiff City whilst bowing out of the FA Cup in the final to Chelsea.
This not only kept Liverpool in the silverware but maintained their reputation, which was rapidly falling and was stemmed by an unsuccessful Anthony Gerrard penalty for Cardiff in the Wembley final.
The question which needs to be answered is as follows; have Liverpool had their day?
I believe the question will only receive an answer following the conclusion of next season. Football fans have to be reminded that this isn’t Rodgers’ team yet. He’s brought in two names whilst attempting to flog some dead wood, most notably Andy Carroll whom he could only shift on a loan deal to Upton Park for the season.
When Rodgers can have the football – and, perhaps more importantly, the money – flowing at Anfield in the next eleven months then most people will gain a good understanding of Liverpool’s position in the English football standings.
Liverpool’s confidence will have been shot thanks to Manchester United overtaking the long-standing Premier League record of 18 league titles which United surpassed in 2011. If Rodgers can get Allen and Gerrard creating a decent partnership in the middle with Luis Suarez rattling in the goals then the amount of silverware and, hopefully, the league position will rise.
Suarez will always be a figure of controversy whilst the ageing of current Liverpool legends in Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard means that the backbone to the once title challenging squad has disappeared.
Lucas Leiva, the squad’s current playmaker and potentially a star in waiting, has been dogged by injuries ever since he has come to the forefront a couple of seasons ago and is currently on the treatment table.
Rodgers’ start at Liverpool has definitely replied in the positive to my aforementioned question as he has yet to record a league win as they scraped through to the Europa League group stages against Heart of Midlothian.
They suffered an embarrassing opening day thrashing at the Hawthorns before getting just a point in the key clashes against the big clubs in Manchester City and Arsenal at Anfield before Suarez rescued a point away at Sunderland this weekend.
In reality, the biggest success Liverpool have had this season was the ruling of the Hillsborough disaster which condemned the police on that fateful day whilst two wins over Belarusian opposition and an away win in Scotland remain the only happy days in the life of a Liverpool fan thus far this term.
Contrastingly, Rodgers must be given the time that Roy Hodgson didn’t to inject the belief he made famous up and down stadia in England and Wales last season with Swansea.
That will be Liverpool’s biggest and most successful transfer in years.