Hit Or Miss? Liverpool’s Summer Signings

Liverpool’s 2015 summer transfer window represented the last window under Brendan Rodgers’ reign as Liverpool manager. A reign which saw the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Phillippe Coutinho arrive on cheap deals but was overshadowed by mass amounts of money being spend on mediocre talent.

Rodgers splashed out on another £79m worth of new recruits in the summer after a disappointing season following the loss of Luis Suarez. The Northern Irishman failed to replace their former talismanic forward as Mario Balotelli didn’t provide the answers he was looking for.

Jurgen Klopp is now at the helm and injuries have forced the German to dip into the January transfer market despite the former Dortmund manager insisting he would not. Marko Grujic arrived for £5 and was loaned straight back as well as Steven Caulker arriving on loan.

But how have Liverpool’s summer arrivals fared thus far?

Christian Benteke – £32.5m from Aston Villa

Scoring goals have been Liverpool’s Achilles heel since the departure of Suarez and the constant injuries to Sturridge. Balotelli had been shipped on loan to AC Milan following a dismal return to England and Rodgers targeted Benteke to solve Liverpool’s striking dilemma. Villa wouldn’t sell their prized asset for less than his £32m release clause which the Reds were happy to meet.

Since then, Benteke has turned from seemingly key player to a man on the fringes under Klopp. Despite goal-scoring and match winning performances against Leicester and Sunderland this season, Benteke has struggled to make an impact so far. The striker’s lack of movement, poor touches as well as some dreadful finishing has led to some parts of Anfield losing faith in the big man.

Klopp has opted to field Roberto Firmino as a striker in recent fixtures and Benteke was only recalled for an FA Cup tie against Exeter; where the 24 year old recorded another dreadful performance. It remains to be seen whether Benteke can re-kindle his Liverpool career but it looks increasingly likely that his future could be elsewhere.

VERDICT: Miss

Roberto Firmino – £29m from Hoffenheim

The arrival of Brazilian Roberto Firmino was met by optimism on Merseyside with fans hoping the 24 year old would genuine quality to Liverpool’s offense. Firmino arrived from Bundesliga side Hoffenheim where he netted 47 goals in 151 games as well as four goals in his last nine games for Brazil.

Under Rodgers, Firmino struggled for fitness and form. Lacklustre displays led to fans worrying that he would become another expensive flop of the Rodgers reign. However, he has been re-vitalised under Klopp. The Brazilian was instrumental against Manchester City where he netted his first Liverpool goal. Since his move to striker, he has pushed Benteke further down the pecking order and has netted four goals in his last three games.

Klopp insists that his £29m man is a striker. If Firmino can maintain his impressive run of form as Liverpool’s number nine, he could prove to be a vital player for the remainder of the season.

VERDICT: Hit

Nathaniel Clyne – £12m from Southampton

Liverpool’s £12m move for Nathaniel Clyne was a no-brainer. The right back is young, has a wealth of Premier League experience, is a regular England international and arrived without the weight of a huge transfer fee. Glen Johnson departed on a free transfer and Javi Manquillio was sent back to Atletico Madrid in order to facilitate the arrival of Clyne.

The former Southampton man has slotted in seamlessly into the Liverpool defence and has provided stability and consistency to Liverpool’s right side. Performances under Rodgers were average at best but since Klopp’s arrival, Clyne has become an important part of Liverpool’s side. The 24 year old clearly puts defending first unlike Alberto Moreno and his end product should be improved.

Reports suggest that England manager Roy Hodgson holds doubt about Clyne putting his Euro 2016 place at risk. Hodgson believes Everton’s John Stones has the experience to play at right back but if Clyne can continue to improve under Klopp, his seat on the plane should be guaranteed.

VERDICT: Hit

Joe Gomez – £3m from Charlton

Joe Gomez arrived from Charlton for around £3m in the summer and was seen as a signing for the future. However, following Rodgers’ loss of confidence in Spaniard Moreno, Gomez played an important role at left-back during the early stages of the season including difficult games against Arsenal and Manchester United.

Following Rodgers’ dismissal, Gomez knew that Klopp would be watching during England under 21 duty. Unfortunately, the 18 year old was forced off the field against Kazakhstan and scans later revealed he had suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury; ending his season.

However, Gomez received assurances from Klopp that he was a fan of the young English defender and that he was really sad about his injury. If he can re-kindle his early season form, this deal could be one of the best in Liverpool’s history.

VERDICT: Hit

Adam Bogdan – Free from Bolton

The 28 year old Hungarian shot shopper arrived from Bolton on a free transfer to take Brad Jones’ role as understudy to Simon Mignolet. Bodgan made his debut against Carlisle in the League Cup, making a good impression by saving three penalties which allowed Liverpool to progress in the competition.

Bodgan made his Premier League debut against Watford 3-0 in which the former Bolton keeper was heavily criticised after dropping a corner which allowed Nathan Ake to open the scoring just three minutes in. Bodgan’s woes continued against Exeter where he conceded directly from a corner which prompted Klopp to recall Welsh keeper Danny Ward from Aberdeen.

Reportedly, Bogdan is seeking a loan move from the Reds after slipping down the pecking order following some costly errors during his short stint at Anfield.

VERDICT: Miss

Danny Ings – Free (Tribunal) from Burnley

Liverpool announced in June that they had agreed personal terms with Danny Ings and that a transfer fee would be taken to a tribunal. Ings enjoyed a good start to his Liverpool career despite the uncertainty over whether he would be a good addition to the Liverpool squad.

Ings scored his first goal for Liverpool at home to Norwich and opened the scoring against Everton in the Merseyside derby at Goodison. The striker impressed fans and pundits with his passion and work-rate which quickly made him a fan favourite on Merseyside.

Unfortunately for Ings, he also suffer an ACL injury in his first training session with Klopp which ruled him out for the remainder of the season. Liverpool fans will be hoping Ings can re-cover from his injury and kick on next season.

VERDICT: Hit

James Milner – Free transfer from Manchester City

James Milner has divided opinion since his free transfer from Manchester City. Milner arrived after turning down the offer of a new deal at City in order to play first team football at Liverpool. Rodgers installed the 29 year old as vice-captain to Jordan Henderson. It was heralded a smart piece of business by Rodgers in order to fill the void left by the departure of Steven Gerrard.

After a solid start to his career at Anfield, Milner has failed to kick on and prove his worth to the Liverpool squad. His role as vice-captain seems majorly ill-suited with the likes of Mamadou Sakho and Lucas Leiva available as better alternatives. Under Klopp, Milner has been moved from central midfield back to the right of midfield.

Back in his usual position, Milner has started to improve and scored a vital goal against Norwich in the dramatic 5-4 victory. The England international remains an important player for Liverpool but is no longer a guaranteed starter.

VERDICT: Hit/Miss

Follow me on Twitter @MarcusBanks7

 

 

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