15 Sept 2015

Carra raves: 'Special' £11m attacker is a 'great signing'. Better than £29m Firmino?

After West Ham's 2-0 victory over Newcastle, Liverpool are now languishing in mid-table obscurity yet again, which - based on performances this season - is exactly where Brendan Rodgers' motley crew of grossly overpriced wannabes deserve to be. In stark contrast to Roberto Firmino (and countless other Rodgers signings over the years), 'special' Hammers' attacker Dimitri Payet has hit the ground running, and according to Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher, the £11m summer signing is already one of the stars of the Premier League.

After watching West Ham beat Newcastle, Carra raved:

"He [Payet] is a great signing. He's got pace and power, and he’s been one of the best players in the Premier League".

Conventional excuses wisdom dictates that foreign players usually need a year to settle in, but according to Carra, that's nonsense. He explained:

"There’s this thing that it takes foreign players a year to settle in, but I’ve never bought into that. A lot of the great foreign players who come to this country perform straight away".

I totally agree with this. The very best players - foreign or British - usually make an immediate impact in the Premier League, and there are countless examples of this...except, of course, when it comes to Liverpool.

In the majority of cases, foreign players arriving in the Premier League (for the first time) either fail at Anfield, or take forever to make an impact at the club.

In recent years, Suarez and Coutinho are the only exceptions to this rule for Liverpool.

Under Rodgers, a whole host of overseas attacking players have crashed and burned at Anfield, including: Borini, Sahin, Assaidi, Aspas, Alberto, Moses, Markovic, and Balotelli.

None of the aforementioned players hit the ground running at Anfield, and the same is happening with Firmino, who has zero goals/assists after five appearances for Liverpool.

Contrast that with Payet, and Andre Ayew, two of the league's new arrivals this summer, and the difference is stark:

* Payet: 3 goals/1 assists in 5 apps for West Ham (Goal/assist every 111 mins).

* Ayew: 3 goals/1 assist in 4 apps for Swansea (Goal/assist every 107 mins).

Why is it that Ayew and Payet immediately score/create goals for their new clubs, but Firmino, Balotelli, Markovic et al struggle to make a dent?

Firmino is a top-class player, with a history of scoring/creating goals, but under the toxic hand of Brendan Rodgers, he looks like he's never scored a goal in his life.

This is an ongoing negative trend at Liverpool, and it needs to stop. Firmino should already be making an impact, but as I've argued many times in the past, Rodgers is poison for attacking players, and his obsession with defensive duty over creativity is neutering the Reds' effectiveness in the final third.

There's no excuse, really - if Payet and Ayew can make an instant impact, then Firmino should also be able to achieve that.

The most galling thing is that Liverpool could've signed Ayew and Payet for less than 50% of Firmino's £29m overall transfer fee.

Don't get me wrong: I'm in favour of Firmino's signing, I just don't believe he'll prosper under Rodgers.

Author: Jaimie K


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