Liverpool have endured another season of mixed emotions. Brendan Rodgers’ time with the club came to an abrupt end early in the season to be replaced by Jurgen Klopp. It is easy to see that the German manager has slowly transformed Liverpool into a top side but clearly lacks the players capable of playing his high-intensity football.
Although their performance in the league has been below par, the Reds have reached the Capital One Cup final and will hope to secure victory over Villarreal and book their ticket to the Europa League final too.
Before Klopp’s arrival, Liverpool spent £79m on new talents during the summer transfer window following the sale of Luis Suarez.
We assess how Liverpool’s new recruits have performed during their first season at Anfield…
Nathaniel Clyne – Signed for £12m from Southampton
Arguably Liverpool’s best piece of business in the summer was the £12m capture of Nathaniel Clyne from Southampton. The Reds couldn’t have found a better replacement for the outgoing Glen Johnson, especially for an English international right-back.
Clyne has provided stability and security down the right side of the field but needs to improve his end product. Nevertheless, the 25-year-old is very much a defensive-minded full-back and has enjoyed a solid first season.
Klopp’s Dortmund side relied heavily on the influence of their full-backs which suggests that Clyne could play a vital role in the squad next season. Liverpool fans will be hoping he can kick on and build on an impressive debut campaign.
James Milner – Signed for free from Manchester City
When James Milner arrived at the club in the summer, it was seen as a shrewd piece of business as Liverpool had picked up a vastly experienced Premier League regular for nothing; other than his colossal wages. However, at the start of the season, Milner came under intense criticism for his performances.
He had stated his best position was central midfield but simply looked out of his depth and was unable to influence games. Following Rodgers’ departure, he was moved to his natural right midfield position where he quickly rediscovered his best form.
Despite not being able to take a corner, Milner’s crossing ability has been hugely important for Liverpool; highlighted in their historic victory over Borussia Dortmund when Dejan Lovren headed home from Milner’s delivery. Only Mesut Ozil can better his assist tally of 16 meaning the former Leeds United man has earned his place in the side.
Danny Ings – Signed for £6.5m from Burnley
Danny Ings has finally returned to training following an ACL injury which kept the forward out for around six months. He injured his knee during his first training session with Klopp meaning he was unable to showcase his talents and continue an impressive run of form.
The former Burnley striker netted three goals in eight appearances; including a strike in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park. His work-rate and dedication to the team was admirable as Ings quickly won the affection of the Anfield faithful.
Although Ings is nearing full fitness, it is unlikely that the striker will feature before the end of the season. Klopp recently stated, “If he’s as good a player as he is a person, then we’re really looking forward to seeing him on the pitch,” which suggests Ings will be a good option for the German in his first full season with the club.
Adam Bogdan – Signed for free from Bolton Wanderers
What were Liverpool thinking when they completed the free transfer of Bolton Wanderers keeper Adam Bogdan? The Hungarian keeper wasn’t even first-choice at the Championship club which made the transfer even more confusing.
Signed to give Simon Mignolet competition, he started his Liverpool career brightly as Liverpool knocked out Carlisle on penalties. He was given a chance in the first-team following some uncertain performances from Mignolet but made matters worse. Blunders against Exeter and Watford forced Klopp to recall Danny Ward from Aberdeen.
Bogdan has no role to play at Liverpool and should definitely leave the club when the transfer window opens.
Christian Benteke – Signed for £32m from Aston Villa
Another questionable transfer in the summer saw Christian Benteke leave Aston Villa for a massive £32m. Although his Premier League scoring record was very respectable, it was unclear whether he would suit a Liverpool which saw so much success with versatile, agile players such as Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling,.
There were comparisons with Andy Carroll, a target-man who was unable to fit into a fast, passing system but has impressed with West Ham who utilise his best qualities. Benteke has scored some crucial goals this season but has fell out of favour since Klopp’s appointment. Divock Origi has leapfrogged his Belgian team-mate in the pecking order and Benteke has grew frustrated with a lack of opportunities.
The 25-year-old has not shown the determination or work ethic to succeed at Liverpool. A lack of movement and poor finishing this season has meant his future is in doubt with Ings nearing a return to fitness. If the right offer comes in, it would be no surprise to see Benteke’s Liverpool career cut short.
Joe Gomez – Signed for £3.5m from Charlton
Young defender, Joe Gomez, shined during Liverpool’s pre-season tournament and was rewarded with first-team opportunities. Despite being only 18 years of old, Gomez slotted seamlessly into Liverpool’s back four, operating in an unnatural position at left-back and keeping Alberto Moreno out of the side.
The former Charlton defender’s season was cruelly cut short due to another ACL injury but the early signs were encouraging and Gomez has been tipped to be a very important player for the Reds in the future.
With Mamadou Sakho awaiting the result of the ongoing doping investigation, Gomez could have an even bigger role in the squad next season. If not, a loan move could be on the cards to provide the youngster with valuable first-team experience.
Roberto Firmino – Signed for £20m from Hoffenheim
Many expected Roberto Firmino to become another expensive failure of the Rodgers’ reign as his early season form left much to be desired. However, he has quickly become of Liverpool’s most important players after being shifted from an unfamiliar wide role, to the centre of the pitch.
Operating as a false nine forward, the Brazilian finally gave fans a glimpse of his potential when he bagged his first goal which capped an impressive performance in the 4-1 drumming of Manchester City. More important goals against Norwich, Arsenal, and Manchester United followed as the former Hoffenheim playmaker continued his stellar maiden campaign.
With nine goals and seven assists in the Premier League, Firmino will only get better with a full pre-season under his belt. He has shown he has the ability to cause defensive headaches and Liverpool will be relying on the 24-year-old to be firing on all cylinders next season.