9/04/2009 01:35:00 pm

Transfer window anti-climax: Is Liverpool FC’s squad now weaker than last season?

Unless you were a fan of Real Madrid, Manchester City or a couple of other clubs dotted across the continent, this summer’s transfer window was a major anti-climax, nowhere more so than at Liverpool FC.

Glen Johnson’s arrival was a welcome improvement to the squad, but this was undoubtedly offset by the departure of Xabi Alonso. At a time when the emergence of City (together with Tottenham’s apparent improvement) makes the challenge set by a ten-month Premiership season tougher, Liverpool’s squad is on a par, or arguably weaker than the one which finished second last year.

Of course, anything could happen at City or Spurs. For all their expenditure and good starts there is something in both clubs’ DNA that invites chaos. After Liverpool’s early losses, however, it has to be hoped other members of the big four will suffer at the hands of teams who enviously covet their Champions League riches.

Heaven forbid, but the often predictable league may be injected with an element of danger and excitement. If so, it’s even more frustrating Benitez wasn’t given the annual net spend of approximately £20m typically granted to him by the American owners, previously the only slight positive in their otherwise dismal tenure.

It’s already apparent the team’s back-up alternatives in attack are weak. Liverpool’s bench is populated by players whose introduction to a game is more likely to make fans shuffle uncomfortably in their seat than leap up, ready to roar the side on.

In the absence of high profile recruits maybe supporters thought Benitez would promote promising youngsters into the first team – to demonstrate his faith in the young talent brought to the club at significant cost, if nothing else.

The loan of Nemeth and apparent willingness to sell Dalla Valle to Fulham belied this notion, though, and Liverpool will endeavour to land its first Premiership crown with the same attackers as last year, bar the unheralded return of Andriy Voronin.

The lack of transfer activity may prove to represent a tragic case of ‘what if’. If a quality creative player and back-up forward had been brought in to supplement Benitez’s actual dealings, there would be far more optimism generated when assessing Liverpool’s title prospects.

Instead fans are forced to watch the match from behind their programmes with fingers crossed lest injury scuttles any title challenge. Too much rests on the goodwill of the footballing gods.

Any adversity and Liverpool will be left vulnerable.



Laurence Kilgannon is a new writer on Liverpool-Kop.com






16 Comments :

Jake said...

I have to agree, and i think the poor start to the season is showing how the team is weaker.  Aquilani may well be a very good player but until he's fit and settled into the premiers league we're missing a top class midfielder, and that must make our squad weaker.

Guest said...

I really don't understand sending nemeth out on loan.  Surely with the lack of strikers we have he wouldve been worth a game every now and then?

Kraken said...

"nowhere more so than at Liverpool FC"? What nonsense, I think Manchester United fans would argue that they had a far worse window than Liverpool.

PX54 said...

You forgot to mention Aquilani...only time will tell if he's better or worse than Alonso but we can hope.  At the moment yes i would say the team is weaker due to injuries, etc.
I can't understand why he won't use player like Nemeth and Pacheco, they're 18-19 now we had players like Fowler, Owen, Gerrard, etc who were full time first team players by that age and Nemeth and Pacheco have looked REALLY good during the last 2 preseasons, he should give them a shot at stronger opposition to prove themselves rather than loaning them out. The Cup games (early rounds of both League and F.A. cups) are usually when higher up teams use their reserve players who are looking to push through but if they're on loan somewhere else then they can't be used can they? Of course they're getting valuable first tema experiance elsewhere but it's not like they won't be playing for the reserve team and posiibly be on the bench if they stayed with us.

Laurence said...

I think you've hit the nail on the head about the current crop of youngsters: if we're not cash rich, Benitez has to show some faith in them. If only to encourage other talented youngsters they will get first team opportunities if they sign for Liverpool.

Hmmm... said...

Jamie - maybe you should do a poll as to whether LFC should use this as a season invest in the young talent (Pacheco, Spearing et al) but target a top 4 finish  vs. keeping with the 'old guard' to try to get as high as possible. Personally, I think that is a more interesting debate

Guest said...

Exactly - why would any promising youngster want to come to Liverpool?  The club's track record over recent years shows that hardly any young players make it or are even given a chance.  it's just a constant merry-go round of loan agreements and sales.

Jimzz said...

Yet United are already higher than us in the leage....

Jevon Johnson said...

I think our pre-season was the sole reason for our slow start.
Players returning late having played differing amounts of football.
I think well get stronger and stronger as we progress.
Alberto is due back for the game v Chelsea which is only 4 weeks away.
My advice to other teams: get as many points ahead as you can right now cause were gonna be coming on strong.

Jevon Johnson said...

Test

Jevon said...

I think our pre-season was the sole reason for our slow start. 
Players returning late having played differing amounts of football. 
I think well get stronger and stronger as we progress. 
Alberto is due back for the game v Chelsea which is only 4 weeks away. 
My advice to other teams: get as many points ahead as you can right now cause were gonna be coming on strong.

Jevon Johnson said...

I think our pre-season was the sole reason for our slow start. 
Players returning late having played differing amounts of football. 
I think well get stronger and stronger as we progress. 
Alberto is due back for the game v Chelsea which is only 4 weeks away. 
My advice to other teams: get as many points ahead as you can right now cause were gonna be coming on strong.

Jaimie Kanwar said...

Pre-season was a joke.  Very few competitive games and flying halfway round the world as a publicity stunt.  It was very badly organised in my view.  People say preseason doesn't matgter but I disagree - building up momentum is important, and Liverpool didn't do that.  Start as you mean to go on and all that.

Kraken said...

Good job they don't hand out the trophy after four games then.

It doesn't change the fact they sold their best player, and didn't replace him.

We may have sold Alonso, but in Johnson we have bought (and he has already demonstrated) real quality. Aquilani remains a mystery, for now.

Liv'pool said...

I agree with the pre-season schedule  being very unprofessionally organised but we were unlucky with injuries and  Alonso's transfer took place too late as wel. If Aquilani proves to be as good addition to our team as Johnson has been, then we can say we have improved from last year. Right now it's very hard to say because Alonso is such a big loss but on the other hand Johnson has been a brilliant buy. I really hope Aquilani proves to be a good addition to our team. Right now lack of quality in our midfield is for everybody to see. Therefore I have big expectations for Aquilani. So hopefully he proves to be worth of gold and stays fit.

2005 said...

First off all i want to say that for a few months i follow your blog and is excelent i respect your aproach and like the realistic view you put on Liverpool. As for the topic YES i think Liverpool is weaker solely bcs of Alonsos departure and for me thinking that Aquilani is no way a replacement for him.
Posibly the small bright light is maybe if Voronin can play as he played in Hertha, for now Johnson has only replaced Arbeloa and ill wait to see is he having a biger impact on the team. This seasons main title contenders are Chelsea in my humble opinion. On the other side the season has just began and anything can happen.

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