Liverpool have been very busy so far during this summers transfer market and there is a familiar air of optimism around Anfield. One could be excused for feeling wary of becoming too excited about what to expect come next season. Players like Milner, Ings and now Firmino’s arrival signify the intent that FSG have for rejuvenating a somewhat stale looking squad. Every few years Melwood requires a massive clear-out and the Summer of 2015 is no different.
With Fabio Borini, Iago Aspas, Javier Maquillo and Luis Alberto (to name a few) set to move on, it is very encouraging to see Liverpool conducting so much inbound activity this early in the window. This is not the first time Brendan Rodgers has had to lead a mass overhaul of players since arriving at Liverpool and unfortunately a number of poor signings and underperformers have caused reason for yet another mass exodus at Anfield.
It goes without saying that you will have a large proportion of Liverpool fans this pre-season saying “this is our year” but I, for one have given up on letting the optimism blind my sense of reality. The task of securing Champions League football is the primary aim. If fans are expecting a title challenge they can guess again. I have seen much talk over the last 24 hours about how our intent during this transfer window signifies something more than a top four push. This idea for me is very premature and rather farfetched. Liverpool have just lost their talisman, their captain and their “king of the Kop”, it is impossible to avoid the fact that without Gerrard, no one knows how our squad will perform and how much of an impact physcologically not having that natural leader in the dressing room will have on the club.
Then comes the Raheem Sterling “transfer saga”. I, along with the majority of Reds fans can’t wait so see the back of Sterling and be rid of he and his agent’s greed. No player is bigger than Liverpool Football Club and so, the club have not been held to ransom by City. Liverpool are refusing to lower their asking price of £50mil and this is something that proves that Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers are refusing to let Raheem and his agent dictate the transfer. Rodgers stayed strong when Suarez wanted to join Arsenal in 2013 for £40mil and this resulted in Suarez staying put, having the season of his life and enabling us to mount a very serious title push that came down to the final day of the season. I’m not saying I can see Sterling staying and emulating the impact that Suarez had but I do think that the way the club are going about the transfer is the correct method. Waiting for €50mil is good business for the club and may pave the way for Carlos Bacca and Rondon to join the club after the Copa America.
Moving away from the English market is also and looking towards Europe is encouraging, there is clearly more value to be found overseas and the evidence is clear to see (Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia anyone?). With Benteke valued at £32mil, it is no wonder then Liverpool are looking at attacking options a little further afield. The most standout name, for me at least, is Carlos Bacca. The Columbian has been prolific during his time in La Liga with Sevilla and he seems like the perfect fit for Liverpool at the moment. Since the departure of Luis Suarez and the constant struggle for fitness that Daniel Sturridge faces, Liverpool are in desperate need for a goalscorer. I have no doubts that Firmino will add goals and the guile required to create more chances, but Liverpool will need a natural finisher to be on the end of those key passes from Coutinho and Firmino. Bacca definitely fits the bill, and with 20 goals in La Liga alone, he is being tracked by a number of Premier League clubs. According to reports in Spain, Bacca has stated that he is keen on leaving Sevilla for a move to England this summer. Man United and Liverpool are on alert and a £20mil price tag would hardly be much of a deterrent for either clubs. The one worry may be the lack of Champions League football.
In short, this window has begun exactly the way any Liverpool fan would have hoped and I’m sure that if the club continue to be as active for the remainder of the window then those Liverpool fans mentioned earlier will be saying “this is our year”, but let’s do ourselves, the club and Brendan Rodgers a favour and try keep our feet on the ground and avoid getting too carried away. The signings of Ings, Gomez, Bogdan, Milner and Firmino should set us on course for a serious top 4 push and for the moment at least, that should be all that’s to be expected of this Liverpool side who have lost their top goalscorer (Gerrard) and are about to lose their second top scorer (Sterling)