So another transfer window is done and dusted, and it’s fair to say the Reds were pretty busy this time around.
For all the stick Ian Ayre has received over the last couple of years for his perceived failure to get deals over the line, this time it’s fair to say he didn’t do half bad!
Mario Balotelli and Alberto Moreno look a snip at £16million and £12million respectively, whilst Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic, Emre Can and Javier Manquillo also look good business.
The signings of Rickie Lambert and Divock Origi could well prove smart business in the short and long term, but if there is any criticism to make of the Reds during a hectic summer window, it is did we clear enough of the dead wood?
I’m thinking probably not.
In terms of players we have either sold or allowed to leave on loan, the replacements brought in (although not like for like in every position) make pretty good reading:
Iago Aspas / Rickie Lambert
Luis Alberto / Adam Lallana
Luis Suarez / Mario Balotelli
Oussama Assaidi / Lazar Markovic
Daniel Agger / Dejan Lovren
Joao Teixeira / Emre Can
Andre Wisdom / Javier Manquillo
Tiago Ilori / Alberto Moreno
Of all those players however, only two moved on permanent deals – Luis Suarez and Daniel Agger – meaning the Reds are likely to still be paying a large amount in wages to the others who have moved on loan deals.
When you consider of the nine summer signings that many will have arrived on big money, there is a worry that the squad is still too big.
Brendan Rodgers said following Sunday’s impressive 3-0 win at White Hart Lane, that deadline day would be more about outgoings than incomings at Anfield.
Although, only Sebastian Coates and Oussama Assaidi made their way out of Melwood (once again on loan), leaving Rodgers with an oversized squad.
The two areas in which I feel we could have done with trimming down that bit more, is the centre of midfield and the full back positions.
Basically, why are Lucas and Glen Johnson still at the club earning big money when they are going to struggle to get in the first team squad?
Lucas has been a good servant to Liverpool since his arrival in 2007, but of all the players who can play in the middle of midfield you would have to say the Brazilian is now sixth choice behind the likes of Gerrard, Henderson, Joe Allen, Emre Can and Adam Lallana.
Whilst Lallana is capable of playing in other positions, Lucas is going to find first team football hard to come by – a fact justified by the fact he has been left out of the last two Premier League squads.
It’s a shame for Lucas, who was playing arguably the best football of his Liverpool career until he suffered an awful cruciate injury at Stamford Bridge in November 2011.
The week previous to that injury, he had put in an exceptional midfield performance during a 1-1 draw against Manchester City at Anfield – and looked well on the way to becoming the best holding midfielder in the Premier League.
Further injuries have followed, and that half a yard of pace seems to have deserted him. You could argue his experience and know-how could prove handy for Champions League ties, but when you consider Gerrard and Henderson are automatic first picks – and Brendan’s love for Joe Allen – as well as the additions of Can and Lallana, you feel it will take a serious injury crisis for him to get any sort of regular action.
The 27-year-old is on a reported £65,000 a week at Anfield, and had been the subject of interest from former boss Rafael Benitez at Napoli. But no deadline day move took place, and Lucas is set to face a battle for first team minutes until January at the earliest.
The other player I was surprised not to see go was Glen Johnson, whose performances over the past six months for club and country have been – for want of a better word – crap.
Johnson has to be one of the most frustrating players to play for Liverpool in recent memory. When he’s good – it seems there are few better – but when bad, there are few worse.
This was perfectly summed up towards the back end of last season, when the 30-year-old turned in a superb performance in the 6-3 win over Cardiff, getting involved in three of the Reds goals and prompting the boss to describe him as ‘one of the best full backs in the world.’
Rodgers also said a new contract was a priority for the summer, with Johnson having just a year to run – and wages of an incredible £110,000 a week. No wonder he says he has loved every minute of his time at Anfield.
But the following performance in the 2-1 win over Sunderland was one of the poorest of any Liverpool player last season, whilst his poor showing in that fateful 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace proved crucial.
Liverpool supporters are well known for getting behind whoever plays for their team, but the manner in which Johnson has performed of late and his attitude which suggests he would rather be somewhere else, has seen the former Chelsea man come in for some heavy criticism.
Despite Rodgers claiming a new contract was high on the agenda back in March, his actions since have suggested otherwise, with Javier Manquillo and Alberto Moreno brought in to fight for the full back positions.
When you consider Jon Flanagan and the returning Jose Enrique are also in the squad, Johnson could find himself as fifth choice full back – on wages that a top class centre forward would be delighted with.
With less than 12 months to run on his current deal, Johnson looks set to sit back and enjoy the season from the bench/treatment room, before leaving for free next summer.
Fabio Borini chose to stay and fight for his place, and I for one have no problem with that. Four strikers are what is needed for a team fighting on four fronts, and the promise he showed during his loan spell at Sunderland last season suggests he deserves a chance to show what he can do at Anfield.
Another player I am happy to see stay is Spanish playmaker Suso, although another loan move for the 20-year-old may have been wise considering the players ahead of him in those attacking positions.
It is now up to Brendan Rodgers to keep his extra large squad happy, a task I certainly do not envy.
I for one find it hard enough to pick a squad on FIFA 14 having added our summer signings, and spend far too long deciding whether Coutinho or Sterling should be deployed at the tip of the diamond.
So quite how Brendan will keep those players who find themselves on the bench or out of the squad altogether happy, whilst justifying the large amount of money being spent on wages remains to be seen.
Although I’m sure he won’t worry about having to keep Johnson happy whilst he’s busy pocketing £110,000 a week…
Were you surprised more players were not sold or loaned on deadline day? Do you think the squad is too big? Or is it simply ‘a nice problem to have?’ Let us know your thoughts below.