JOHN W Henry took control of Liverpool last winter and instantly injected cash into the club in the January transfer window with the signings of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez. Since then, he has signed five more players including British trio Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson- all of whom played last weekend against Sunderland. But of those three who will prove to be Liverpool’s best British summer signing?

Stewart Downing joined the rejuvenated Merseyside club from Aston Villa for £20m. He is versatile and can play on either wing, his crosses are excellent, he is a good finisher and has great pace and skill but does lack defensive qualities and has a record of long-lasting injuries. As an out-an-out winger Downing will not only get chalk on his boots, he will also put crosses on the head of Andy Carroll. His statistics over the last few seasons suggest he is a great acquisition. Since 2004, only four players in the Premier League have created more chances than Downing (Frank Lampard, Cesc Fabregas, Steven Gerrard and Ryan Giggs) and he has also completed more crosses in open play than any other player over the last three seasons. He fits Fenway Sports Groups philosophy of signing “young and preferably British talent” and above all else solves Liverpool’s left-wing problem.

Several players were scouted as the answer to the problem. Wigan’s Charles N’Zogbia had attracted a lot of attention from Anfield and was thought to cost £10m, half of the fee Liverpool paid Aston Villa for Downing, but has limited European experience and has now moved to Villa. Valencia’s Juan Mata was reportedly keen on a move to Merseyside. However, FSG indicated that they want players who are fluent in English and have Premier League experience instead of paying big bucks for a player to take time to settle in. Other players linked with a move to Liverpool were Adam Johnson and Shaun Wright-Phillips of Manchester City, Tottenham’s Aaron Lennon and Ashley Young of Villa, before he moved to Manchester United, but none of those player’s statistics are as good as Downing’s.

Jordan Henderson was the first of Dalglish’s summer signings, he arrived from Sunderland for £16m. A good first year with the Black Cats saw him win his first England cap against France in November and he has gone on to become an exciting English prospect. His energy, determination and creativity remind many Liverpool fans of a young Steven Gerrard, with Gerrard himself saying Henderson could succeed him in time as “the driving force in the Reds midfield”. He is also a tough tackler and will provide the steel in midfield that Liverpool have missed since Javier Mascherano and Dietmar Hamann left. Last year Henderson created 82 goalscoring opportunities for his fellow team-mates, the fifth highest in the league, while completing 78% of his attempted passes. He played the majority of the season in the centre of midfield but can also play on the right, as he was asked to do on Saturday against Sunderland. Henderson had a good first season with the Black Cats despite his dip in form mid-season. He is seen as one of England’s hottest prospects with his former manager Steve Bruce saying: “We’ve got the brightest young prospect in the British game in Jordan. He’s certainly the biggest, the best young British footballer there is. At 20 years old he’s got the world at his feet. He’s a fantastic footballer.” Henderson provides a bit of British grit and steel in central midfield, but will probably not feature too heavily in the first eleven this year. However, he has all the assets to suggest he will be an Anfield regular in years to come.

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Who will prove to be Liverpool’s best British summer signing?

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5 responses to “Who will prove to be Liverpool’s best British summer signing?”

  1. Bill Shankly says:

    Really & truly in this day & age you should be jailed for publishing an article with that title Ron !
    Imagine the uproar if a site published an article asking Who out of all Chelsea’s African Refugees would perform the best this season !!!!?
    That sword cuts both ways Ron !
    At best an impartial article can only ask how much , regardless of where they are from , do our new signings improve us ?
    As for the detail within the snide ANTI LFC article ?
    His assessment & description of Jordan Henderson couldn’t be any wider from the target if Torres struck it !
    Henderson is no more comparable in game play to Steven Gerrard than Luis Suarez is !
    If you are going to compare Hendo’s game play to what we already have then you have to look at Joe Cole ,Alberto Aquilani & Raul Meireles .
    Henderson at his very young age is an excellent creative attacking midfielder , yes he is big & strog enough to handle the physical demands that role demands in England ,something he proved over 2.5 seasons in Sunderlands first team & therefore something he is ahead of both Meireles , Cole & Aquilani on merit in terms of First team selection .
    The boy is big & strong , has good feet to match his good brain & he is already linking brilliantly , consistently & simply with very clever highly experienced internationals like Suarez , Adam , Downing & Kuyt who not only deliver consistently quality pass’s but they do so at such a speed of thought it is almost impossible for even an experienced Premier League player like Frank Lampard to keep up with them or read their game .
    Henderson is no determined plodder , tha boy is lightening quick in the brains department & he has the feet to match , watch & see once he starts getting into positions in games to get on the end of things the goals will flow outa him , maybe even at the rate Gerrard has delivered but he & very few in Europe are anywhere near as complete as the physically outstanding , mentally as hard as hell , technically superb , Tactically commanding & all around frighteningly imposing Gerrard .
    If we see another player as Complete as Gerrard from anywhere in the world inside the next 30 years then we will be truly blessed .
    I rate Gerrard higher than Zidane , hes truly one of the best I have seen in my lifetime & I seen some good ones like Scifo-Belgium , Sammer-Both Germanys , Souness – Scotland , Paulo Sosa – Portugal , Brady – Ireland , Petit – France , Robson – England , Albertini – Italy , Michel – Spain , Whelan – Ireland , Platini – France , Matthaus – Germany , Platt – England , Muhren – Holland …
    I could go on but they are the names of great midfielders that instantly spring to mind from my time watching the game & none of them match Gerrards technique at the highest pressure moments either in the tackle defensively or attacking composure in front of goal & like the song says “Hes big & he’s fuckin Hard !” along with it , you lads dont kno how lucky you are to live to see him play at the level he has achieved .
    Yea so Henderson is well on his way to being a great player but hes nothin like Gerrard in Style you would need to mix the best of Bryan Robson with the Best of Graeme Souness to get anywhere near to Gerrard .
    As for Adams Stats ?
    Very unimpressive !
    Heres what we signed in Charlie Adam …
    We signed a bad ass second generation Professional Payer with the lust for legend in his blood just like our most recent 2’nd generation pro in Midfield , Xavi Alonso .
    Also like Alonso he has the ability to dictate a game with his arrary of passing & also like Alonso he gets stuck in & knows how to land a punch on the blind side of the referee when needs be .
    Charlie cut his footballing teeth in one of the toughest playgrounds in Britain , Glasgow Rangers .
    From Scotland he took the soft option & moved to England for tha money !
    Adam is never say die in midfield & like all gritty Scots he never shys away from a battle & the more the odds are against him the more he loves the battle .
    He has the game in his blood , he is a natural born player with the brains & feet to link with Gerrard , Suarez , Downing & Kuyt from the get go in their razor sharp pass n Move get togethers .
    He is by no means overly physical but nobody has an easy time against him in Midfield & its his ability to dominate a game from midfield with his commanding leadership & intelligent creativity that is his greatest asset .
    He was the Best Midfielder in England last season bar none & showed genuinely great leadership at Blackpool not just by his outstanding performances but by his impressive appearance record .
    His stats probably back up what I have said but I’m not a computer or a prick that needs numbers to tell my own eyes & love of the game what they are seeing .
    As for Harry Kewell not being a winger ?
    AHAHAHAHAHA !!!!!!
    Thats the only position he played for Leeds which is where & why we bought him from !!!
    Kewell didnt enjoy life not being a big fish at a small pond & struggled to reproduce his wing displays for us where he was just another talented player among a pool of talented players .
    Downing unlike Kewell has proved a lot in his career before he arrived to us .
    He broke onto the Premier League Scene as a 16 or 17 year old & he was impressive from day one .
    Middlesbrough were his home town club & he came through their youth system & he handled the pressure of being under the microscope there at such a young age & was consistently turning in performances season upon season for them making it hard to believe his young age .
    He only left them after they got relegated .
    H joined Villa while Injured & once he came back from that there were a lotta eyes upon him to see how he would play at Villa , not just to justify his fee , not just to prove his fitness & not just to prove he could reproduce his best form away from home in a new city but to justify his reputation as one of the best players in England .
    He done all of that during his 2 seasons at Villa .
    This is the pinnacle of Downings Career & he is in his playing prime , His time is now , we have been watching him for a long time & he knows it .
    As a character on & off the pitch he has shown both maturity & leadership quality’s since his debut , off the pitch regularly donating his time to charitable causes & on the pitch captaining both Middlesbrough & Villa . I personally seen him play 4 different Midfield positions for O’Neil at Villa , His more common Left wing , the right wing , He played as an attacking midfielder behind the striker & he played as a holding central midfielder on the left side of a central pairing beside Reo Coker & he was Captain & performed as a Captain , I’m very impressed with Downing as a Footballer & to compare him to Barnes is a thankless task but with his ability to lead his team in all positions across the Midfield was something the magnificent Barnes couldnt even do , he was a great winger & later a great creative central midfielder .
    I expect Downing to hit unseen Levels with us when he is playing & training alongside the quality we have around him the least of all being Cole , Aquilani & Meireles .
    Downing has made a believer out of me this past 10 years & I expect him to grab this opportunity with both hands & express his game to fulfill his potential , if he does he will be rivaling Arjen Robben as the finest Winger in Europe , something we will hopefully see proven during next seasons Champion League .
    So to answer the only fair question that can be asked of them which is …
    Do our new signings make us a stronger Squad ?
    The answer is a very definite

  2. Digger Barnes says:

    I’m liking the cut of your jib Shanks.

    Could you imagine an article called “Who will be the best black summer signing” You’d probably be arrested on grounds of inciting racial hatred!

    You’re spot on about Hendo, Adam and Downing.

    Hendo is obviously a proven prem performer who has also been bought with one eye on the future. He’s not gonna be the next Gerrard, but he could turn into a similar box to box attacking midfielder. He’s new at the club, still bedding in, but I think he’s gonna be great.

    Adam and Downing are class. In my humble and biased opinion they’re gonna be the new Molby and Barnes!

  3. Bill Shankly says:

    I left 2 good comments on this one too Digger …

    Young Hnderson hasnt misplaced a single pass since he got here .
    He is everything we both have said but he isnt getting carried away by the occasion , he is cleverly playing his way into form & into the club & into the side .

    Adam like Molby ?

    I say hes a more British physical style Alonso , early days yet for him too but its only a matter of time before he finds his passing groove & is dictating games from midfield .

    I like Downing .
    Hes gonna hit one & then all of a sudden everything will fall into place for him like it did for Torres when he was with us .
    People are gonna be sayin he is an overnight success & shit like that .
    Downing has all the tools to do the job over 5 years , easily .

  4. fsg+lfc=epl says:

    great replies fellas ,firstly i gotta say that although he (downing) was a decent player and we all knew it i kinda baulked at the price thinking we were paying 5 , 6 or even 7 million too much but i gotta say even after 2 leagua games and whatever he played in pre season he is alreay looking to be the main man , hes pure fokkin class and i love it when the mancs try to big ashley young up cos now i just piss on their chips everytime the smelly twats , sorry im ranting . as for henderson , i dont think there was anybody anywhere who didnt raise the eyebrow and say either who or how much but i think this is a case of fsg/comolli/kk doing their homework especially as he gone straight into team where lesser managers would have taken the easy option of meireles and bought henderson in gradually
    adam , well i maybe thinkng along the lines of big fish in a bigger pond and although i never doubted his talent i only ever viewed him as maybe 1st choice off the bench but there you go what do i know
    so in answer to the question i would say all three are fookin excellent and can provide us with a brighter future and hopefully many trophies but i think id have to choose downing for his impact play