27 Jan 2014

Hansen: £6m star Benitez tried to buy is one of the 'signings of the season'. Agree...?

In the summer of 2008, former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez tried his hardest to replace Xabi Alonso with Gareth Barry, and as many fans will remember, he pursued him with barely concealed zeal and absolutely no respect or consideration for Alonso, who had been a consummate professional for Liverpool. Benitez's actions basically killed Alonso's LFC career, and the Spaniard basically admitted this in a subsequent interview. However, like the Alonso, Barry continues to play well to this day, And Anfield legend Alan Hansen believes he's one of this season's star signings.

In his column for the Telegraph today, Hansen enthused:

"Martinez has certainly made an impact at Goodison. [Gareth] Barry is proving to be one of the signings of the season. They [Everton] may find it hard to hold on to [him] unless they make it into the top four".

In his recent book 'Champions League Dreams', Benitez explains exactly why he wanted to dump Alonso and sign Barry:

"Barry was perfect: he could play as a central midfielder...an attacking left-back...and even as a left-winger. He was a good professional...dedicated to his career. The ideal signing".

In November, Barry confirmed that he was 'very, very close to joining Liverpool', but concedes the deal was never likely to happen. He told The Mirror:

“To Liverpool fans, it looked like one of their favourites was leaving, in Alonso, and they looked at me as the reason for it [and] they weren’t keen on me coming in to replace him."

Alonso pursuit aside, perhaps Benitez was right about Barry? He is one of those steady, unspectacular performers who consistently plays well, and makes a quiet, but telling, impact on the team. It's the same at Everton - despite playing a slightly deeper midfield role for Everton, Barry has already notched up 3 goals/3 assists in 19 games, which compares favourably to the similarly-aged Steven Gerrard.

Roberto Martinez is extremely happy with £6m-rated Barry, and over the weekend, he told the Liverpool Echo:

"He [Barry] is a unique footballer. He is an incredible leader. All I want is for him to keep doing this until the end of the season and then, in my eyes, he should be helping England in the World Cup.”

Overall, Martinez made four excellent signings over the summer (Barry, McCarthy, Lukaku, and Deulofeu), and I'm sure many Reds fans would agree that Everton's transfer business was far more effective than Liverpool's. Indeed, Jamie Carragher admitted recently that he wishes the Reds had signed McCarthy:

“I wish we had him [McCarthy]. He looks to me like an all-round midfield player. He looks aggressive and he can play. Martinez said he would have paid double [the £12m fee] for him, so that shows how highly he rates him.”

Reds hero Jan Molby also believes Everton signed better players. In a recent column for 5-Times, Molby admitted that Rodgers' transfers over the summer 'make you worry about the recruitment process', and suggested that the Sturridge-Coutinho double-whammy may have been a one-off piece of good luck. He observed:

"Liverpool did great business last January but [looking at] the deals they did this summer [perhaps] they just got lucky. If Liverpool had brought in the players [Everton] did in the summer then they would be fine now"

One thing's for sure - I would've taken Barry on loan over Aspas and Alberto last summer. Neither player is making any impact at Anfield, but Barry is a seasoned performer, and with the injuries the Reds have suffered in midfield this season, he definitely would've played regularly.

Liverpool face Everton tomorrow in the Merseyside derby, and the main difference will be glaringly obvious: all of Everton's main summer signings (bar Deulofeu, who is injured) will play, whereas almost £40m worth of LFC buys will probably be on the bench, or on loan (Aspas, Alberto, Ilori, Sakho).

Everton is arguably the most important Premier league game of the season so far. Defeat would mean Liverpool dropping out of the top four, and if Spurs also win, the Reds could be down to 6th place, with Man United only a few points behind.

Clearly, it's a must-win game, but with the squad ravaged by injury, it's going to tough.



  1. Liverpool injuries are second string players, except Lucas and Johnson.
    Everton injuries are first choices, Barkley, Pienaar, Coleman, Distin, Jagielka, Deulefeu. So, in comparison, we don't have to worry about being down on numbers.

  2. Lets not start making excuses - we signed alberto aspas moses etc =OUT FAULT

  3. cmon Reds, we have talents too

  4. Enrique, Agger and Sakho don't seem to be second string players

  5. Agger gets injured getting out of bed in the morning. The jury is still out on Enrique and Sakho looks like he could be the signing of the century or a complete clown. I'm just not sure which yet.

  6. Injuries won't hurt Liverpool on derby day, non-scoring midfielders ballooning the ball over the bar will.

  7. It's not about like or dislike Rodgers, be an admirer or a hater... I just have to say that he hasn't perform like he should with transfers this year. OK Alberto and Ilori are young and we expect something from them in the future. But Aspas is 26 years old, he cannot play and the things are getting worst when you are feeling that your boss doesn't believe you (Rodgers don't even give to Aspas 20 minutes in a cup game with a championship team, that we are 2 goals ahead, for Christ sake). Sakho is another centre back that possess some qualities, but he is not a complete player (all our defenders are like that, others have strength but no technique and others have technique but they cannot run, push or jump), Moses is not a player that deserves a permanent deal and something like that is Cissokho. Even Kolo Toure, at first made all doubters to accept him and now seems like he cannot have a really positive impact - the similar strange situation goes on with Mignolet. Even Coutinho cannot be the amazing player he was last year... Sturridge and (lately) Allen are not enough! Rodgers (and the owners as well) MUST perform much better and bring some quality players. Another year without Champions League football will be a total disaster...

  8. I think you won't find anyone disagreeing that Everton have done better transfer business. Not just last summer either. I'd say pretty much every window for the last three or four years bar maybe January 2013. To realize how much money we have peshed away from Kenny until now is just a disgrace but even more so, ridiculously frustrating. If you would consider Henderson, Sakho, Sturridge and Coutinho as quality signings, we will have wasted over a 150 million on transfer fees. Imagine if we had spent that on 5 or 6 players....

  9. Barry is a very good player and I think most City fans would have preferred we keep him as cover rather than Garcia, but unfortunately I just don't think there was anyone who was willing to take him (Garcia) on. He's one of those guys who you sign and they don't pan out necessarily and you're just stuck with them.

    We had to get rid of one of the two due to a glut of players and Barry was the one who was easier to offload since he was more desirable. Very nice to see him getting some of the recognition he deserves.

  10. i think collectively we are suffering from a lack of confidence in our transfer dealings. as a big club we expect to be linked with the best - perhaps as we were in the rafa era. Whereas FSG seem to favour a much lower profile transfer target and the majority of the time we seem to miss out on them as well.

    Martinez has pulled a couple of rabbits out of the hat - but if they dont complete the signings of barry or lukaku then they dont look half as threatening.

    Certainly we were poor in the summer - and i would even say had we not made any of the signings we did (apart from toure because he was free) there would have been little effect on our league position. Instead that 40 million could have been spent on a mata or a pogba.

    What i think will happen is that we will allow man utd time to recover and splash big money on the likes of mata and next season we will be back fighting for 6-8th position. I dont think this is the fault of BR but more collectively a failure of vision. A pretence is their to follow the arsene wenger philosophy in transfer dealings -but BR is relatively a baby in his managing career whereas wenger has been doing it for a long time.

    For all our smart football we actually might even look fondly back at the league cup we won under dalglish!!

    We maybe a club with a huge heart - possibly the biggest in football but our vision from the top doesnt match this. We couldnt even say this about hicks and gillett as rafa still managed to fight for the big names despite the shit going on in the background. Its hard to stomach - but we may as well get used to the likes of moses,aspas alberto.