Revealed: Dalglish’s worst signing since returning back to the club

Secondly, the fact that Villa were reluctant to let go of both of Downing and Young in one summer. Ashley Young moved first to Man Utd for £17m and this indirectly inflated the Downing valuation. Villa were in a strong bargaining position, Liverpool, having just been beaten by Man Utd to Young, were not.

In 46 efforts on goal this season, Downing is yet to trouble the scorers. For a player that cost £20m, that is a quite frankly appalling return. The contrast down the left flank alone is enough to make the blood boil – the machine that is Jose Enrique is quicker with the ball than Downing is without it.

Pundits aplenty have decried Liverpool’s lack of cutting edge this term, Dalglish even admitted as much himself after the defeat to Man City this week after calling on his side to develop a more clinical edge in front of goal.

A decent barometer of the toothless nature of Downing et al comes courtesy of the fantastic Opta stats – Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea have all had 282 shots on goal in the Premier League this season, the top three for such a stat in the entire league. Man City have had 132 efforts on target and have 56 goals to show for it. Chelsea from the same number of efforts on goal have been on target with 126 shots and have scored 39 times. Liverpool, however, have been on target with only 114 shots on goal and have a quite miserable return of just 24 goals, less than both Bolton and Blackburn.

It’s also worth pointing out that this Liverpool side have scored the exact same number of goals as Roy Hogson’s team had by this point last season. The difference between performances of the two sides is clear for all to see, though. Whereas Hodgson’s Liverpool were devoid of anything even resembling creativity, it’s clear from the aforementioned stats that at least Dalglish’s side are creating chances. The problem lies in the personnel, though, and their inability to finish them off, with Downing a main culprit.
Jordan Henderson may go missing at times and may appear too eager to play the simple option rather than risk the wrath of the terraces for trying something different, but his purchase has to be seen as a long-term investment and he’ll come good eventually, with him showing signs in the past few games in a more familiar central midfield position.

Carroll has been a huge disappointment and the only thing currently stopping him going down as the Premier League’s biggest ever flop is the fact that Fernando Torres cost Chelsea the princely sum of £50m on the same day. However, while he may have a lot of facets to his game that need improving, Liverpool fans should reserve a smidgen of hope that he’ll come good also. He’s not a ready-made striker and will require a lot of patience, but there is at least potential.

Downing, though, at 27 years of age should surely be approaching the peak of his powers. If a manager investing £20m in you and challenging you to help spearhead the rebuilding of a great club like Liverpool isn’t enough to give you confidence, I don’t know what is.

It looked a risky purchase at the time but it’s of no coincidence that the fates of Liverpool’s two biggest transfer mishaps in recent times are intertwined and their underperformance interlinked. Carroll at least has the excuse that the service hasn’t been up to scratch, though, whereas for Downing, there is no hiding place.

The article was written by James McManus for

Who has been Dalglish's worst signing?

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37 responses to “Revealed: Dalglish’s worst signing since returning back to the club”

  1. Steven says:

    Lets be honest here….
    The only two… Maybe three are Enrique, Bellamy and Adams (50/50)…
    Carroll is the biggest…
    Downing and Henderson and equal second…

    Overall for the money spent at the time, we could have done much better!

    Mata instead of Downing!
    Lucas instead of Henderson!
    Aguero instead of Carroll!

    Imagine how we would be going then?!?!?!

    • rick says:

      1) Aguero wants a bandwagon of money and Champions League football
      2) It doesn’t seems that Mata is so unstoppable this season… his performances just now don’t meet the expectations..
      3) Obviously Hendo has a great touch of ball and He’s leading the assists rank of the Club. Patethic bullshits..

    • The Fox says:

      Sorry mate but it has to be Downing.. while Caroll hs obviously been a big disappointment and hasn’t done himself any favours, with his poor work rate, let alone his strike rate, at least there are some mitigating circumstances for Caroll as outlined above.

      Downing however is a TURKEY .. plain and simple.. while you can minipulate stats at times to your advantage in any discussion about a club or player, Theres simply no minipulating of the fact that Downing has contributed nothing,nada, zilch, to Liverpool this season(in the league, Im not even going to count the goal in injury time against league one opposition). No goals and to his eternal shame no assists, which is the very reason we stumped up 20 million for him. He has started nearly every game,unlike Caroll, and he has yet to do diddly squat. seems the only thing he can beat this season is his ex girlfriend!!!

      Typically inflated overated English player.. its no wonder managers are so slow to buy english and look abroad..except our policy now seems to be the exact opposite, There is no value for money to be had in buying english. But we have stumped up approx 60 million on 3 english players who are not only finding it hard to perform at the top level but are making an absolute mockery of ‘the new way’ . The two best signings of the summer , one spanish and one scottish, were also our cheapest and represent real value for money.

      Henderson and Caroll may come good,to be fair henderson shows glimpses of real ability, they are young and will be given time. But For a player like Downing, a regular England international and seasoned pro in the premiership, there is no time , the time is now, and he’s not and shows no signs of delivering. That is why unquestionably he has been Kenny’s worst signing

      • trev says:

        i couldnt agree more hendo will become a fantastic player enrique already showing he is the best leftback in the country adam still adjusting but is getting better with every game carroll given time and proper service will settle and become the terror of every defence downing is in his prime and at 20 million couldnt beat an egg how kenny chose him ill never know

    • Iqbal says:

      Liverpool worst ever pair signing awarded to Carroll and Downing.
      100% sure with these players we will end the Premiership not better than six places.

  2. rick says:

    Henderson equal second?
    The hostility towards Hendo is really really unfair.
    He’s brilliant, and He’s a pure talent.
    His passes are good as well as He’s comfortable with the ball.
    The guy is one for the future.
    Carroll is a striker and I could understand if a striker is under intense scrutiny & criticism when He’s not able to score, but the heavy criticism towards a brilliant talent like Hendo is really patethic. The Guy is definitely a good sign: give him a break and get a life. The Guy needs time to improve his offensive skills but He’s a great touch of ball…
    Seriously, the criticism towards Hendo is a disgrace…

    • judgestevep says:

      Totally agree with this in respect to Hendo. Hendo is going to be a brilliant player. Against Newcastle, some of his passing was exceptional, almost Stevie G esq! Get off his back.

      Enrique is a class signing. Adam as well, he will only get better.

      I think Downing is being labelled a poor signing because of the money, as is Carroll. These are unfair, as they didn’t set the price. Downing has shown commitment and invention. He just hasn’t scored enough, but then noone has. He has dome his job though, which is provide, its just noone else has scored from them. Carroll has to come good some time, but I don’t know if he has the mental strength or workrate to come good. Only time will tell.

  3. Gavin says:

    Downing came in looking like a great singing , he showed consistency through out his villa career . Kenny didnt know he would come to Liverpool and be a complete flop , though he should have left villa at around 25. HENDERSON was bought for 17-18 mill , has played almost every full 90 and has done NOTHING . He is good for a 5 foot pass and 4-5 giveaways a game . It should be Adam and Stevie in the middle with Downing , Bella , Maxi , Dirk and Hendo options for the wings . I cannot understand why he starts every match and why Adam is subbed before he is. Benitez did this with Lucas and he is the best holding midfielder in the Premier League . So maybe next season Henderson will shine , but this season we need the Champs League spot . If he was benched a few games im sure it would give him some rest and evaluate his game play . If the likes of Bella , Maxi or Kuyt started as much as him I bet majority of our draws would have been wins . Oh plus Carroll is shite , how did he miss that second minute chance against city ? YNWA

  4. TheNark says:

    So I take it you’re getting your page views up to improve your google ads, as this utter drivel is not wayward and completely unfounded; it’s damaging to the players and actual fans of this great club. Luca Leiva is the cliche, but I guarantee you were one of those berating him…only to claim you always knew he had something. Do something decent with your writing and stop this scandalous tripe aimed at either improving your page views or causing a stir.

    Andy carroll needs time and ‘love’ – not something you usually afford to a £35m man, but thats not his fault. Do you think this sort of journalism is going to help him, or help fans opinion of him?

    …as for slating Henderson – well that just shows how little you know. Assists, touch, motivation and eye go a pass…and he’s a kid.

    My word I hope our players don’t read this, and you can bet anyone with any clout at the club doesn’t – tha l god.

    • trev says:

      agreed carroll and hendo to come good but honestly believe downing a watse and i was one of those who slated lucas me and 90 percent of liverpool fans find it hard too believe you didnt when he played him instead of alonso

    • The Fox says:

      @ THENARK

      So we should all go round in cloud cuckcoo land and pretend everything and everyone is just fine and dandy.. Just show people the love you say … How bout some of those guys show some love .. for our club.

      Lets never criticise anybody or ask questions of players who are quite obvously under performing whilst being vastly overpaid. If I hear morons like you on these types of forums anymore I ll cover my screen in vomit. Masqerading as a REAL LFC supporter cause you don’t say jack shit about anybody. You’ve never criticsed a player ??? never disliked any signings ever made by LFC ??? Come down off your soap box and back to reality mate. The club has invested alot of money on players and it is only natural and right that we evaluate who is under performing and why. The team are goal shy.. are we not allowed ask who’s responible for that or have a view that a certain player isn’t quite up to scratch ??

      Ive supported LFC for 30 years , make 3-4 trips to Anfield a year from Ireland.. Id go every week if I could afford to . I love LFC but that doen’t mean I can’t hold a view that a player isn’t performing or good enough for this club , and your view that anybody suggesting or saying otherwise isn’t a proper or loyal supporter is Bollix.

  5. rowbot says:

    downing, adam, carroll are not LFC players and will eventually cost kenny his job(when he doesn’t get 4th place). Had rafa had that money to spend, we’d be challenging now.

  6. williams says:

    its a big disappointment that kenny spend such sump of money in bringing carrol to lfc hoping that carrol will be a striker who will be hitting our oponent net but it turns to be a vero percent for the club,but truely i always blame kenny for him (kenny) failing to ascept swapping daniel sturridge plus cash with torres or using part of the money to sign KARIM BENZEMA from real madrid and this is january window kenny shows no sign of bringing top finisher.

    • istnbl2005 says:

      dalglish didnt buy carroll he wasnt even our manager he was the caretaker, comolli bought him. dalglish doesnt even like playing him.
      downing is very dissapointing but ive seren what he can do at villa, which isnt 20mill pounds worthy, but its alot more than he’s showing us he will be adequate in the future but not champions league quality. ive revised my view on hendo aswell i think he will be a good player for us in the future. i dont really rate adam but for his price tag he has delivered

  7. David says:

    Liverpool have put in more crosses than anyone but how many of those crosses were put in when Andy Carroll was actually on the field? Doh!

  8. alan says:

    Hey, let’s get behind our team opposed to saying who’s the worst. They’ve all done well in patches, some more so than others, but give them some time for pity’s sake.

    • crazyhorse says:

      No Alan you are wrong mate!Downing and carroll have been terrible all season fact!henderson will have to improve greatly
      only Adam has played good and bad,also i cannot believe the king saying that he is happy with the players and we wont be buying a forward in this window a blind man can see we need one.

  9. Adrian says:

    So, the problem is that Downing and Carroll lack confidence in themselves as they’re being weighed down by thier price tags? And as a supporter you write an article asking people to vote on who the biggest flop is and highlighting thier shortfalls and price tags? What logical support.

  10. Redscouser75 says:

    Carroll, Downing are pure crap. For a combined £55mil fees, their contribution this season is next to nothing. Can’t imagine what Rafa would have done with those money.

    Hope KD realises this & stop squandering money on overly rated ‘british talent’ crap. If he is gonna wash £24m on Bent as rumored, thats enough to make Shanks roll in his grave!

    • Sceetz says:

      Rafa might have spent it on another class act like keane or aqua? If you watched tonights game Carroll had nothing to work with and the defense of stoke dragged him to the ground everytime he did get near it! We should have had 1-2 penalties as a direct result of Carroll just being on the pitch! As for people saying we should have signed ageuro or other world class strikers they won’t come unless we pay them 200k per week! If we are looking to move someone on it has to be kuyt! He has played his heart out for us but he is just not good enough! Move him while we still can! Get behind Carroll he will come good! Hendo- young will be a gun! Jury out on downing, Adam will be a solid squad player and Enrique class!

  11. njanja says:

    Kenny is the only manager on planet that can spend a whooping 35m, 20m, and 20m for a Carrol, Downing, and Hendo respectively. He has failed woefully in this aspect and since he has sworn not to fortify the team this January, we should not expect anything more than sixth in the EPL.

  12. Ashfah Hussain says:

    The policy should be “Buy British Last”. That’s what premier, Mahathir Mohamed of Malaysia said.

  13. Mmd says:

    Many unfair comments on downing . He’s not gareth bale granted but it’s NOT his fault if he puts in the perfect cross but the striker fluffs it . He put one on carrolls head in the oldham game. Carroll was unmarked 5 yards out and missed . How is that dowmings fault someone please explain ? He has put in something like 60 crosses and at least 10 should have been easy goals but striker missed .

  14. Nye Hughes says:

    How about we stop criticising our players and start supporting them instead? and then maybe those players who are suffering from a “crisis of confidence” will start playing like they should be?

    • Iqbal says:

      We should agree we have some worthless players in our first team, why should not try Adam Morgan instead of calamity Carrol and Sterling instead of Downing who has zero assist yet.

  15. David Aris-Sutton says:

    Downings performances haven’t exactly set the place on fire but them the team as a whole has been rather lackluster, its time for fans to just get behind our lads and stop making stupid comments like “who arrived from Aston Villa for the staggering amount of £20m” and “Downing however is a TURKEY .. plain and simple..”
    Be ashamed of yourselves, this is our club and our players, how many of you were making remarks like this about Lucas 2 seasons ago? Eating your words now arn’t you?

    • m kop says:

      We can not wait 2 years to see the best of Downing, that’s the thing.

      Downing’s best was never too impressive, admirable yes, impressive never.

      If you pay 20 mil. than you don’t want to wait for Downing to turn 30 to start playing his best games like in Aston Villa.

  16. m kop says:

    Downing the worst signing. 20 mil. could have bought younger, quicker and more agile winger.

    Downing was portraid as sure thing, his constancy in PL as his main attribute of a player who does not need adjustment time.

    In terms of money, Carroll seems as a more of a let down, but he is still very young, still can be a success and even if not in 5 years can still be sold for a decent amount of money.

    Downing in five years is finished, has already proven to at least needs longer period of adjustment, club will not be getting nowhere close to 20 mil. when he leaves…

    The transfer was misplaced more than any other Liverpool’s recent transfers, even Aquillani will recoup more than Downing could.

    If you overpay younger player at least you tried to make a great player, but when you buy a player that supposedly already has all the ability’s that make him exactly what you need, and it turns out he is nowhere close, that for me is the biggest mistake you could make involving transfers.

    If Downing was not payed 20 mil. and brought for free, like Jovanovic for example, he would never get as much chance as he gets.

    Maxi plays much better than him, and still had to wait until Downing proves worthless to get back in the team.

  17. Yommy says:

    huh! The problem we are highly having now is the coach because he doesn’t have much experience with that of Benitez. Imagine! why signing all these British Players which are not useful! and dropping the top players while using the half experience players! He should know Maxi, Kuyt are good in both wings! why not use these Players constantly? And one more thing, we need a tall, good goal keeper!

  18. krishan ramdawor says:


    • Stevie h says:

      Well said cheque book Kenny is yesterday’s man I reckon even hodgson would of spent money wiser. Dalglish out rafa or mourinho in.

  19. berhe says:

    please exchange carol for Ba he is not in reds form

  20. njanja says:

    It is evident that Kenny has no clue on what to do and who to buy to support his bad buys as he lacks the courage to sell them. I suggest he tows the path of honor by resigning

  21. bgc689 says:

    The damage has been done. I dont think the owners have money to spend.

  22. bgc689 says:

    It is confirm we are a joke, scoring less than Bolton, and Newcastle manage to hustle us to pay 35 mil for Andy. Thanks KD we are a joke nobody respect us with this kind of players. That is why the can get points when facing us.

  23. 3PhDs says:

    The stupidity of KD meant we played 5 defenders against a team that never attacked us – sack KD!

  24. dj says:

    I admire Kenny as much as any LFC fan, but I have to be true to my beliefs. DC and KD have spent a fortune on mainly British players. At this moment J Henderson is the only one that seems to show any promise (a bit like Lucas). Suarez and Enrique are very good signings. Carroll, Adam and especially Downing have yet to give me that feeling that they will come good. Maybe they need some more time, but for the £63 million spent on those three players alone, and because they are British, I really expected better. I also thought they were signed because they were ready to go and didn’t need time to settle. I’m prepared to be a little more patient though, but if Rafa had signed them he would have been ripped apart by former players, pundits and the media by now. I don’t here much criticism of Kenny about the players or the money spent, mind you he is British and so are the players. Ask yourselves a question, if Rafa was manager and he had spent £63 million on 3 foreign players that were not delivering. What would ex-players, pundits and the media be saying. I always believed that we will regret the loss of Rafa more and more as time goes by.