With the January transfer window upon us, Peter Stevenson ranks Liverpool’s best business in the winter market.
Managers often pressed about adding to their ranks during the January transfer window always try to deflect the questions, claiming you can’t really prize away the best players from their clubs in the middle of the season and that prices are unreasonably inflated.
It’s a logical and sound argument but when you look at Liverpool’s recent transfer activity, you could argue that some of our best signings have been in January.
Our most recent, the colossal Virgil van Dijk, has helped transform our defence into the best in the league and has various pundits claiming he is the best defender in the Premier League and is close to being the best in the world.
Before that, we had the double signing of Phillipe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge for less than £25 million. To think that Coutinho was sold for around £140 million is staggering.
There were murmurings that Coutinho isn’t happy at Barcelona and is angling for a move away. You may be thinking it’s unlike the Spanish media to be stirring the pot and making up unfounded rumours, and well, I’m as puzzled as you are.
Liverpool fans were split about whether they’d take him back but I don’t think that was ever on the cards nor will it be. Much like the fact that we’re not going back in for Nabil Fekir, without wanting to disappoint our readers.
As for Sturridge, who is very much a squad player now, his 50 goals in 109 appearances is an excellent strike rate and up there with the best who have pulled on a red shirt. One can only imagine what he would have scored had he remained fit and if he possessed the speed he had when he first signed.
Going further back, to January 2011, we had the arrival of one Luis Suarez. Now, of course, it’s debateable who our greatest ever January signing is, and the case could very well be made that it’s van Dijk and not the temperamental Uruguayan.
Van Dijk has only been with us for 12 months so it’s difficult to gauge how big an impact his signing will eventually have and much will depend on whether the defensive steadiness he has instilled will eventually lead to a trophy.
But for sheer entertainment, for his unrivalled ability to make defenders looks like amateurs and for some of the most spectacular goals we’ve ever seen, for me Luis Suarez was such a delight to watch and is our best January signing – to date.
This column wouldn’t be able to hold all of the amazing moments he gave us in a red shirt so my suggestion would be to Google them (or any other preferred search engine of course).
Twisting and turning passed Man Utd defenders then setting up Dirk Kuyt for a tap-in, scoring from the halfway line (twice) against Norwich, that goal against Newcastle where he brought the ball down from outer space and just waltzed around the keeper, the list goes on.
So I don’t buy the notion that you can’t buy decent players in January and I also don’t subscribe to the notion that you can’t find a bargain in January either. We paid, at the time, over the odds for van Dijk but it was indicative of a transfer market gone mad and now that price tag doesn’t seem as astronomical.
It doesn’t look like we’ll be signing anyone this January though despite the departures of Clyne and Solanke. We’ll probably be treated to a few rogue rumours here and there about players we’ve never heard of and of course more about Fekir and maybe a few about Coutinho and maybe Suarez.
Some quarters have moaned that we didn’t manage to sign Christian Pulisic and we can’t be sure who to believe as for the reasons why. Some have said Klopp decided against it due to the current squad’s quality and some have said Pulisic chose Chelsea as he saw a clearer way into the first team there.
I’d have to agree with the young American. Eden Hazard could be on his way while Willian is 30 years old so it’s likely he could get more chances at Chelsea although the London club have about 103 players out on loan (or thereabouts) and young players coming through who are desperate for minutes.
I think the most significant aspect of our transfer activity most recently under Klopp and Edwards, beyond the crazy money we’ve managed to receive for players not even making matchday squads, is that we have barely signed any duds.
Allison, Van Dijk, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Keita, Fabinho, Shaqiri, Mane and Salah have all been quality and reason to be relaxed about the club’s transfer activity. All that’s left is for them to deliver a trophy… or five.