Sometimes You Have To Splash

The final two days of the January transfer portal.

Big player; big transfer

Ah, the excitement. A horse race mentality and the media calls it as such.

This dude goes that way; that winger goes this way and everyone’s rumored on their way to Turkey. Only Jozy Altidore actually went there. Down the stretch they come!

Exciting stuff.

And Monday morning, led off with a Chris Farley-sized cannonball right off the diving deck.

Andy Carroll, Anfield bound. $£35M floated down the Tyneside to Newcastle.

….and the incredulous cries began.

Former US striker and ESPN commentator Taylor Twellman called it a joke of a signing.

Grant Wahl…”Are English players really this overvalued?”

However, take a step back and look at where Liverpool was just a few months ago, steaming towards mediocrity and bankruptcy. Agony for fans of a proud club that was Champion’s League victors less than a decade ago.

It’s hard to reclaim your mojo once the bankers come calling. Just ask Leeds United. It’s even harder to reclaim that mojo when both the bankers come and the players want to go.

That’s the predicament that Liverpool was left in just a few months ago.

January, though, sees the hallowed club with a solid Luis Suarez purchase and the headline-grabbing Andy Carroll procurement.

Not bad for a franchise just surmounting the distracting change of ownership debacle and a parlaying a coach who was outside of his depth–a helmsman who employed a “be afraid to be out of position” mindset and whose record away from home was atrocious.

That’s not even half the story.

That coach had replaced another manager who straight-up claimed that management wasn’t supporting him. (Don’t worry that same manager just got jettisoned with the same claims at Inter Milan).

Their current manager? A living club legend, but he hasn’t managed in more than ten years. You could probably say he hasn’t physically built up a lot of player relationships.

More? Sure.

Over the past two years, the team has seen key and popular midfielders from Spain and Argentina with messy departures and just today another Spaniard bound for London. Not a stretch to say high-class Spaniards are probably not keen on wearing the red of Liverpool.

His days as a star coming to a close...

Their talisman, age 30 years…old, and consistently battling injuries. He’s surely crested the best years of his career.

Their best defender, if you will, is 33-year-old and now has the speed of a steamroller…stuck in neutral. He’s also been out…for awhile.

The team’s number one signing last year was terrific…but only against one team, Burnley. He’s now back in Serie A.

Let me pause and ask a question here: “Is this a team that most players are jumping to join?”

No, probably not. Minus Torres and with a slowly withering Gerrard, is Dani Pacheco really the great hope for the future? (I know some of you just Googled that name)

And that’s exactly where Liverpool found itself Sunday, emerging from the doldrums of the Hicks and Gillette controversial (but supportive) ownership off the field and from the Roy Hodgson-Rafa Benitez reigns on the field….with their top forward asset, Fernando Torres, apparently demanding a transfer.

With your one international star begging to leave, who does he pass the torch too? How do you make a statement? How do you let players know that you’re keen on competing for the Champion’s League, for greatness?

You splash, big. And suddenly that exhilarating second stanza in Istanbul doesn’t seem so long ago.

Hot on the heals of the gritty Suarez from Ajax, follows controversial, but indisputably talented Northern Rocker Andy Carroll.

Boldsy move.

Necessary as well if you have to sell your main prize that plays the number nine role.

With every team in Europe knowing ‘Pool’s plight and ready to set a premium for its players, it’s not exactly the easiest proposition to acquire talent.

Just look at Manchester United. Unwilling to be pilfered on a deals for Karim Benzema or David Villa over the past 18 months. Willing to let the industrious Carlos Tevez put up billboards at their arch rival.

The Red Devils did still bow to England icon Wayne Rooney’s demands just a few short months ago.

To what depths did United have to go over the past few years coming from a perceived position of strength and reputation as a top club, a top spending club?

They plopped down $£30.75M for Dimitar Berbatov in 2008 and this past summer they went cloak-and-dagger to sneak Chicharito into the country.

And Sir Alex’s crew is one that never stumbles from the top and players pine to play for.

Liverpool with a Fernando Torres transfer coming to a head Tuesday made a risky, but calculated move.

They brought in a 22-year-old homegrown striker whose current campaign goal tally is 3rd best in the league. His work done on a middle of the road club…and after rippling the nets 17 times in the Championship last season.

There’s more.

Right behind him on the Barclay’s goal tracker is Kevin Nolan. The same Kevin Nolan who never had more than 12 goals in a campaign.

That is until he partnered with Carroll. Nolan’s totals the past two years with Carroll as his accomplice? 18 in the Championship last year, 10 already this year.

Quite an impact for a youngster who also tucks nicely into the roster as a homegrown player and in all probability will make a name with the Three Lions as well.

By comparison, here are some other recent striker transfers of note in the Barclays.

The lone deal of the lot?

Asamoah Gyan (August 2010)? $£13M to Sunderland. The Ghanaian international has never scored more than 13 in a season and is 3 years older. One could argue that he doesn’t make those around him better as well.

Eden Dzeko (Dec. 2010)? $£27M to Manchester City. Two years older and not English/homegrown.

Dimitar Berbatov (Sept. 2008)? Twenty-seven at the time of his $£30.75M transfer to Manchester United. He’s, of course, Bulgarian and of course gives Nicolas Anelka a run for the money with his pitch demeanor.

Darren Bent (Jan. 2011)? $£24M to become a Villian. The Jeff Cunningham perhaps of the EPL is already 26 and has appeared to where out his welcome at multiple locations. Debatable whether Bent makes players around him better, not debatable that he misses critical sitters.

With Torres wanting away….with the front office wanting to avoid Summer 2011’s premium pricing….with new ownership announcing it’s ready to compete for a championship….with tumultuous management, player and manager turnover still very visible in the rear view mirror…and with Tottenham apparently smitten with the same striker it just bought, Liverpool made a statement to its fans (& season ticket holders) and its players (you should want to player here, were serious).

Well-played. Not crazy as long as Carroll stays out of the nightclubs.

Other news:

Talking Turkey...

• Jozy Altidore on a season loan to Bursapor. Good.

If Villarreal is willing to see him away when their thin at striker than Altidore needs to be favored somewhere else. He’ll get playing time in a competitive atmosphere, a good strike partner in Kenny Miller to work off of, and passionate crowd pace to harden his demeanor

• Eddie Johnson to Preston North End

Sounds about right.

Eidur Gudjohnsen, 32-years-old and well removed from his Chelsea glory days, heads to London’s little club that could to replace EJ.

• Gio Dos Santos, Racing Santander-bound

The David Suazo-Houston Dynamo DP odds just dropped from 3 to 1 to even money.

• Fernando Torres to, er, Chelsea

Be very, very worried Nicolas Anelka.

The third biggest transfer ever buys Chelsea a striker who refuses to drop deep and disrupt the midfield. That in itself should make a difference.

• Daniel Sturridge goes to the Reebok

Bolton is tumbling down the table; Sturridge is not the answer. Completely unimpressed with Sturridge thus far. Dont like it. You?

• Paul Konchesky to Championship side Nottingham Forest on loan.

Ouch Roy Hodgson, very ouch.

• El-Hadji Diouf to Rangers from Rovers

Anyone think this is going to end well? Anyone think it’s going to start well?

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70 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by dikranovich on 2011/02/01 at 5:53 AM

    i know one of liverpools lost spanish players was xabi alonso, but who is the other? once europeans realize liverpool got some real owners they will want to flock to the storied club.

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  2. On Altidore trade:
    Good move if he gets some playing time. I’m not so sure that he will get a lot of time. Sercan Yıldırım and Kenny Miller appear to be the top FWs, and the team seems to have CAMs that it employs higher up the pitch when needed. Don’t know Bursaspor really, but Altidore will get more playing time than currently.

    As of right now if I had to win a USMNT game tomorrow I think I would start Bunbury over Altidore or push Demps up top. If Altidore doesn’t get back to playing serious minutes, Bunbury and Agudelo will over take his starting spot. They need to be prepped in the March matches to be ready for the Gold Cup.

    Side note: Now that there is no February match I think there is even less chance that BB experiments with the CMs. That is a shame it would be good to at least once see a 4-5-1 with Holden and Jones pairing, Feilhaber (LM) and Donovan (RM) on the wings, Demps CAM (or switch Feilhaber and Demps), and Bunbury up top. Bring on Agudelo for Feilhaber in the 2nd and switch to 4-4-2. Nothing against MB90 but just to see how Holden and Jones gel.

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  3. Posted by Bode on 2011/02/01 at 7:01 AM

    I’m kind of surprised that there hasn’t been a lot of talk about the amazingly high bust potential Fernando Torres has at Chelsea. The fee they paid for him was a British record, and there are oh-so many reasons why the transfer can fail.

    For the last 18 months or so, Torres has certainly not looked like the same striker who rose to prominence at Liverpool. He was constantly injured last season through the World Cup with niggling muscle injuries that seem to indicate that his body is breaking down (lots and LOTS of hamstring issues). He reminds me a little bit of Michael Owen playing for Newcastle and now United. Like Owen, he’s been playing at the top level since he was 17 and his body has a lot of miles on it. Also, he seems to have lost some of the speed that made him so deadly. Whether that was because his body is breaking down or because playing for Roy Hodgson is depressing is beyond me.

    Beyond Torres’ injury history, am I the only one who is failing to see how he will fit in at Chelsea? He doesn’t seem to be a wing-forward that Chelsea like to use to support Drogba (think Kalou, Malouda, and how they use Anelka). I’m not so sure how well he can work with Drogba up top, either. Both players seem to be best in a lone striker role. Will Torres be Drogba’s back up? Will his arrival cause tensions? Can they play together? There seem to be quite a lot of questions to spend 50m on a player.

    I think that one decent way to gauge a recent transfer is to see how the player’s old fans react to his departure. Newcastle fans seem to be quite distraught about the Carroll transfer, and Ajax fans (from what I can tell) really liked Suarez as a player. As a Liverpool fan, though Torres has provided countless amazing moments, he seems like a shell of the player he was before. Numerous times this season, I’ve found myself hoping Torres would be subbed off for N’gog. That we were able to get 50m for him and turn him into a younger, exciting strike partnership seems like a good bit of business to me, even if the Carroll fee was inflated.

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    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/02/01 at 1:57 PM

      Chelsea fan here that has the same thoughts. Who gets dropped? Kalou is not effective so that’s easy. But Drogba, Anelka and Torres are all 60-90 min forwards with big numbers behind them.
      And Drogba pouts during wins. Torres won’t help the fact that the midfield is just not good enough with Lampard out and still working his way back.
      LPool will benefit from the shakeup I think. Torres checked out mentally before last year WC. Getting goals but his heart isn’t in it. Looking forward to Sun at the Dark Horse in Philly.

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  4. Posted by Alexandria on 2011/02/01 at 7:08 AM

    The issue is the price. He hasn’t earned that amount it doesn’t say anything to any body that Liverpool is splashing cash it just screams of desperation. Andy Carroll to me is a good young prospect but that’s it. What’s more telling is how easily new castle let him go. You spend big on a proven scorer dzeko will have a bigger impact then Carroll the roi on him is a shroud investment same with chicarito. The only reason he is worth this amount is because he’s English if Landon Donovan is only worth 10 mill with all he’s done and he can help now then this signing is bad business.

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    • Posted by John on 2011/02/01 at 8:41 AM

      As I noted below, the thing isn’t that he is English, the thing is that all of a sudden Liverpool were playing “Brewsters Millions” with Chelsea’s money. They needed youth and someone who has huge potential, that person is Andy Carroll. He has already scored more goals and notched more assists than Torres despite being 4 years younger.

      Is he worth 37 million… no, but Liverpool’s net spend in this transfer window is 1 million pounds and they got rid of one full time player to pick up two younger full time players.

      You can’t compare the number spent to another player because this situation was merely a team setting a high price on a player that another team was happy to pay. Without Chelsea’s 50 million pounds there would be no Carroll on Liverpool.

      Liverpool didn’t need Landon Donovan, they needed Andy Carroll. They already purchased their Edsin Dzeko and his name is Luis Suarez.

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      • Posted by John Henry on 2011/02/01 at 9:15 AM

        I think this is exactly right, except one could argue that LFC could definitely use Landon, if they don’t necessarily need him. They do need speed, passing, creativity, on the wing. Suarez can cover one side. Landon would fit perfectly on the other (pace the impossible-not-to-like Kuyt).

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      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/02/01 at 10:26 AM

        Agreed John — no Carroll deal without a Torres deal…and if Torres went….and Gerrard gets injured again….who, what is attracting players to Anfield. Dirk Kuyt? Nice player, but…

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  5. Posted by EFG on 2011/02/01 at 7:11 AM

    I have no issue on the surface with the Carroll purchase for Liverpool. Of course we can argue about whether or not he is worth it but “worth” ultimately comes down to how much a buyer is willing to pay. My issue with the sale are the claims that Carroll was forced out of Newcastle by a greedy owner who then barely attempted to make half an effort to find a replacement. I’d also be very surprised if any of the Carroll money is reinvested in the club.

    In other, uncovered transfer news, Palermo’s President Zamparini is claiming that he received a call from Manchester City regarding Pastore but “he doesn’t speak English” and nothing came from it. Zamparini is also a loud mouth.

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    • Hopefully your claim about Newcastle proves to be false. For some reason I have a soft spot in my heart for the Magpies and would like to see them at least attain a mid-table finish this year and for the next few. From a pure entertainment standpoint, reinvesting some of that money into the squad just to keep them in the Prem would be nice so we have the ongoing soap opera of their multiple personalities (the club itself not the individual players) fighting it out on the field. Will they score 5 against their biggest rivals or completely implode against a sub-mediocre Wigan team? You never know.

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    • That’s a funny coincidence, I don’t speak English either.

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  6. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/02/01 at 7:42 AM

    What does this say about Dalglish’s long term tenure at Liverpool? If you owned Liverpool, would you give a ‘temporary’ manager that much cash to splash? That’s the sort of money you spend on a finished product, not on a unpolished gem ‘with potential’.

    Does anybody know for certain when the UEFA Financial Fair Play ‘rules’ come into effect? This could be one reason why you’ll see a spike in transfer spending [before compulsory self sufficiency], and possible inflation.

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    • Posted by alexalex on 2011/02/01 at 10:35 AM

      We don’t know yet if this is a Dalglish or a Comolli backed transfer.

      I just don’t know how Liverpool provides services to Carroll. I would think now that Glen has to push forward even more than he does to get him service. I don’t think Raul and Steve can send balls over the top to him. Liverpool is severely lacking in pacey wide play to get him service. Don’t see Maxi or anyone else doing anything to help that.

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  7. Posted by John on 2011/02/01 at 8:20 AM

    Liverpool did not go into the transfer market with the idea of spending 37 million pounds on Andy Carroll. The idea was to get Suarez, partner him with Torres, potentially look at Adam or Young and be done.

    HOWEVER.

    Torres decided to be sulky and “found out” that Chelsea valued him quite high. He pushed his chips to the middle and asked for a transfer request.

    At the point that Chelsea indicated that Torres was worth a blinding 50 million pounds, every player that was a forward in the Premier League became in play.

    Except that Liverpool has a new mandate from their owner/strategic director to get younger, and to invest in talent more so than proven 30 year old’s.

    So they decided to jettison their erstwhile sulky striker for the admittedly obscene number of 50 million and use that to pick up talent.

    They went from a 26 year old injury prone striker who hasn’t regained his mojo to a 22 and 24 year old strikers who haven’t hit their ceilings. One a pit bull and legend at Ajax. The other an unproven talent at Newcastle.

    Now Andy Carroll isn’t worth 37 million pounds, but the point to Liverpool is that they needed youth and they needed a striker. They also needed both in the January transfer window, and the bosses wanted to confirm that they were here to pick up talent and pay for it.

    Therefore they decided to spend the obscene sums that Chelsea gave them in the area that the team desperately needed.

    Sure LFC needs more competent full backs, and some wingers with pace. However without picking up a replacement for Torres the club would have been back with David N’gog as the second striker again. Granted with Carroll’s old injury many were fretting the pickup, but he was already cleared for training and is fit again. (not match fit but fit for training).

    So Andy Carroll definitely isn’t worth 37 million, but to Liverpool he is. (and if you asked Newcastle fans Carroll would be priceless)

    The real unfortunate part of this is that Mike Ashley now has 37 million that he is going to sit on and do absolutely nothing with, and that is a crying shame.

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    • Posted by alexalex on 2011/02/01 at 10:36 AM

      This transfer reeks of Gazza to Spurs. Injury prone and young player moving to the big time too young and not being able to hack it mentally.

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  8. Posted by Jay on 2011/02/01 at 8:36 AM

    Let me start by saying I haven’t watched any Newcastle matches this year; I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Andy Carroll play, ever. In looking at his stats, though, this looks like a classic John Henry signing.

    You might recall that Henry and the folks at New England Sports Ventures are Billy Beane disciples. One of the tenets of Moneyball is that you pay a player for future production, not for his past glories. You want to sign a guy on the way up, not when he’s already reached his peak or past it.

    They got very good money for Torres, and I’ll predict here that Torres never matches his top output again (in 2007-08, he tallied 24 goals in the Prem and added 6 in Champions League play). Carroll is 22 years old and has scored 11 times in 18 league matches — roughly half a season — so far this year. Torres had nine at Merseyside.

    So, again, with the caveat that I’ve never seen Carroll play, I don’t think the move is as crazy as some are making it out to be. On paper, at least, it makes sense.

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    • Posted by John on 2011/02/01 at 8:43 AM

      Carroll has been pretty amazing this season. When Liverpool played Newcastle during Roy’s tenure Carroll ripped them apart.

      Goal Scorers in the Premier League this year.

      1 Dimitar Berbatov Man Utd 19
      2 Carlos Tevez Manchester City 14
      3 Andrew Carroll Newcastle 11
      4 Didier Drogba Chelsea 10

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    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/02/01 at 9:01 AM

      Not to have a go at you personally Jay [I respect a lot of your comments], but I must admit that I am sick and tired of hearing about “John Henry’s principle” – many clubs have been doing this for years; getting top dollar for a player then reinvesting some of that money for a replacement [for example, think of how many players Mr Ferguson and Mr Wenger have sold at their peak for silly money]. The question is: will the replacement be good enough?

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  9. Posted by dth on 2011/02/01 at 8:42 AM

    Reputation is hard to value. To me, spending twenty-two million euros or whatever it was is enough to establish you mean business. Reputation had better be worth a whole lot–the comparison with Dzeko, to me, is one that flatters Manchester City rather than Liverpool. Dzeko is a proven commodity, having punched in 66 goals in 111 appearances in the Bundesliga. It’s doubtful Dzeko is a flash in the pan. Carroll? Sure, a nice first season, but a lot of guys have had really nice peak seasons and gone on to do nothing much. I don’t have a problem with paying a modest premium for a player–Liverpool did it with Suarez, and no one thinks that’s a bad idea–but the Carroll premium is too much for a player who: a) might not be that good and b) is demonstrably crazy. Really, b) doesn’t get enough attention. Here’s a guy who’s had tons of run-ins with the law and all sorts of troubles and distractions. Are we sure Carroll is good enough to make those problems worth it? I’m certainly not.

    This is what I do if I’m in Liverpool’s shoes: one of the offers on the table was 40 mil + Daniel Sturridge. 50 million is better than that deal; I’m not surprised they took it. But I would try to negotiate for something like 45 million + Daniel Sturridge. That gives you four people at forward, three of whom are kids (Pacheco, Ngog, Sturridge). Give the kids a chance–see what happens. If one of them does well, you’ve just saved yourself money to spend on your other holes–maybe you go get Neven Subotic to be your number-one guy at centerback. It gives you more time, too: spending money now means that you can’t adequately scout abroad, in the Americas and Asia. J-League players have had a lot of success going to the Bundesliga–why not the Premier League?

    The biggest issue I have with the Carroll acquisition is that you’re path-dependent. Let’s say at the end of the season you either decide Dalglish isn’t the guy or Dalglish gets worn down by the stress or something and he decides he isn’t the guy. Ordinarily, you might consider the Villarreal manager–Juan Carlos Garrido–except do you think he has much use for a primarily-aerial, no-passing big kid? Hell, Jozy is a better passer than Carroll is and Garrido doesn’t have much time for him. (This is obviously just an example–you might say the same thing about, say, a Thomas Tuchel.) So you’ve committed yourself to a manager who really likes pumping the ball forward and playing it in the air. You’ve committed yourself, in other words, to someone with a British philosophy of the game. That’s not necessarily bad, but you’re limiting yourself and committing yourself to building the team a certain way.

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    • Posted by John on 2011/02/01 at 8:51 AM

      A couple things that I have an issue with

      #1 Pacheco is more of a dynamic midfielder/winger than striker at this point in his career. (if you are talking young Liverpool strikers than you have to look at Suso)
      #2 Sturridge is far less proven than Carroll at this point
      #3 N’gog hasn’t shown yet that he can actually lead the line
      #4 Carroll has 6 assists on the year, the same number as Charlie Adam.
      #5 Liverpool got their Dzeko in Suarez not Carroll, they just happened to have 36 million pounds left in the Torres deal, looked around and said who is young, talented and has huge potential. The answer was Andy Carroll. They took a risk with house money.

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      • Posted by dth on 2011/02/01 at 9:24 AM

        I know Sturridge, N’gog and Pacheco might not be the solutions at striker. That’s fine. In fact, I don’t think Sturridge is likely to be very good at all (same for N’gog). That said, there’s a nontrivial chance that one of these guys might be the solution, and if that comes true, you’ve saved yourself tons of money that can then be spent on another area.

        I suppose I haven’t seen Pacheco enough to definitively refute your statement, but he looks like a forward to me. Maybe it was just Hodgson’s system’s stink, but he looked decidedly uncomfortable on the wing when he was tried out there.

        As to point 5: except they could’ve used that 35 million pounds, waited until the summer and said: what’s the best young, talented, huge potential player out there? Maybe they decide that Romelu Lukaku is it. Maybe they decide they’d rather have three players with huge potential and get Shinji Kagawa, Neven Subotic and Eden Hazard. Maybe they decide to scout abroad and decide Javier Orozco is the next Chicharito. Maybe all sorts of things. But the Carroll decision seems very rash to me.

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        • Posted by John on 2011/02/01 at 9:31 AM

          It is most certainly rash and bold, then again maybe that is what is needed. Considering the previous regime and the lack of dynamism in the front office, this could be considered a statement that THIS front office will be involved in getting young players.

          Spending the 37 now, doesn’t mean that they won’t pick up Neven Subotic and Eden Hazard (although I don’t think he actually wants to go to Liverpool from what I understand). It just means that they might have an extremely talented 22 year old forward who is currently third in the premier league in goals scored.

          It isn’t without risk, but nothing is….

          I think the perspective depends on whether you are optimistic that FSG will spend money in the next transfer window. I think they will so I am fine using this money to get what could potentially be a fantastic player going forward. If it doesn’t work out, it isn’t like they mortgaged the club with debt, because in the end they only spent 1 million pounds.

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        • Posted by dth on 2011/02/01 at 9:56 AM

          I mean, even if you think they’ll spend more money in the next transfer window, that doesn’t answer the question of whether the money in this transfer window was misspent–otherwise I can just apply the same critique as before.

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        • Posted by John on 2011/02/01 at 10:02 AM

          Very true, but the opposite is “What if next year or the year after Andy Carroll leads the premier league in scoring.”

          Is the money then misspent?

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        • Posted by dth on 2011/02/01 at 10:26 AM

          It very well could be.

          Look at Dmitar Berbatov. Leads the premier league in goals. Dropped by Ferguson for all of the important games. Worth thirty million pounds, in the final analysis? Don’t think so.

          If you’re spending thirty-five million pounds on a striker, you have to get a world-class striker. Look at the list of players who are considered world-class strikers, and you’ll see they all do more than just score goals. I doubt Carroll will ever be more than a guy who scores goals and gets knockdowns.

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        • Posted by John on 2011/02/01 at 11:30 AM

          Tell either way it will be fun to watch one way or the other!

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      • Posted by Berg on 2011/02/01 at 9:43 AM

        Speaking of young forwards, I’m still beyond irked Hodgson let Dalla Valle walk to Fulham for his pet Konchesky. He showed well in reserve games and had a knack for poaching goals.

        Agree with your take on Pacheco, he’d be miscast as a pure striker.

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      • Posted by dth on 2011/02/05 at 2:32 PM

        by the by, sturridge has two goals in two games and looked kind of interesting out there today (Coyle has also praised him fairly highly). Not saying it proves the point one way or another, but still interesting…

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    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/02/01 at 9:05 AM

      DTH – your last point is what I was getting at earlier.

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      • Posted by John on 2011/02/01 at 9:15 AM

        Obviously it is too early to figure out how Carroll is going to turn out, but let’s just say that from watching him this year, he isn’t just Peter Crouch. I think he has a bit more ability than just striding up field and having balls hit at him Route 1 style.

        How Goals Scored
        Left Foot 2
        Right Foot 6
        Headers 6

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    • Posted by dikranovich on 2011/02/01 at 9:38 AM

      ddt, your comments are all well and good, except this is liverpool, not some spanish club that plays ticki-tacki.

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  10. Posted by llego on 2011/02/01 at 10:20 AM

    Don’t understand this part of the article:
    “emerging from the doldrums of the Hicks and Gillette controversial (but supportive) ownership off the field”

    How is using transfer funds to repay steadily increasing interest on acquisition debt supportive?

    H&G were corporate raiders, plain and simple.

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  11. Posted by matthewsf on 2011/02/01 at 10:30 AM

    Thanks for the comments everyone…I just read them…great perspective…best part of TSG.

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  12. Posted by sfshwebb on 2011/02/01 at 10:32 AM

    Something to keep in mind is Dalglish’s track record with signing of strikers. Over his years as manager for Liverpool and Blackburn, he has purchased Barnes, Beardsley, Aldridge, Shearer, Speedie and Sutton, all of whom helped secure titles at both Liverpool and Blackburn. Most of them were questioned at the time.

    Are these players worth it? Well maybe not compared to what other teams paid for other players, but as people are saying, it’s an inflated market. It’s nearly impossible to get a “deal” when you are a big club, need talent or youth or both and in January.

    What is known, is that Liverpool are showing intent, by rebuilding starting with their front line. You can’t win without scoring goals. In the summer, look for them to spend on defenders.

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  13. Posted by alexalex on 2011/02/01 at 10:42 AM

    I can understand the moves financially. You get a 22 year old and a 24 year old who you can resell later for more – so in a way this is the Red Sox/Lyon kind of move. This is likely Torres’ last big money move and Liverpool maxed out on the cash – again, think Red Sox with Nomar. I just think that the Carroll signing REEKS of a last ditch effort to get a striker so they don’t have to play Ngog, and Newcastle took the Reds to the cleaners. Everything else I understand. But really, if you look at it, the money they made selling Babel and Torres equals the money it took to bring in Carroll and Suarez, save 1MM. That’s pretty good business for shipping out a total bust and a want-away oft injured striker at his “peak.”

    I just don’t know how Carroll fits in the current squad. I am thinking 4-4-2?

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    • Posted by sfshwebb on 2011/02/01 at 11:06 AM

      Am thinking 4-1-2-1-2 with Gerrard or Raul behind the strikers. Maxi, Kuyt and Cole perhaps out wide and Leiva/Paulsen in the CDM role. Wing backs will be encouraged to move up. Leaky defense? yes!, but probably going for the “we will score more goals then you mentality.”

      Reply

      • Posted by John on 2011/02/01 at 11:28 AM

        Incidentally I have heard the 4 – 3 – 3 bandied around as well, with Gerrard freed up to attack.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tux on 2011/02/01 at 11:55 AM

          I wouldn’t be opposed to a 4-1-3-2, pushing Cole/Maxi/Kuyt a little further up than a traditional diamond midfield. That’s a lot of attack to be had there.

          Reply

      • Posted by alexalex on 2011/02/01 at 12:08 PM

        I am thinking 4-4-2 because maybe we could be seeing Ian Rush/Kenny Dalglish partnership reborn with Carroll and Suarez?

        Reply

        • Posted by John on 2011/02/01 at 12:20 PM

          The only issue there really is the competition in midfield. The problem being that Gerrard doesn’t really play D anymore.

          So you (in theory) would have Raul and Lucas in the mid, Gerrard on the Right and Maxi on the Left?

          Reply

          • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/02/01 at 12:33 PM

            My two cents…as I love these formation discussions.

            Carroll is best straight in the center. Suarez loves to come from the right side.

            I agree that Gerrard both likes to defend as he please (which means three solid tackles a game and not much else). I also think he is best sort of in a more attacking Lampard role…or even Dempsey role if you will…essentially a big mess in front of him and he picks his spot.

            I think you’ll see a slightly off-center, right-flank formation, independent of opponent, where Carroll and Suarez are up top…Kuyt plays the overlapping wide right midfielder. Gerrard and Raul in the center, with Gerrard typically adrift to the left and Mereiles trailing a bit..and then Maxi or Cole out to the left in a more forward-type less winger role.

            How’s that for specifics.

            If ‘Pool wants to be defensive, they bring in Lucas (Poulsen is a dead man walking in my opinion) and move to a 4-2-2-2 or 4-1-3-2 with Gerrard likely out left and continually finding his way inside.

            I also think Daiglish, at present, loves Jonjo Shelvey and he’s going to get more run.

            Anywho, pie in the sky…but I would be truly surprised with a 4-3-3. I just don’t think ‘Pool has the defensive cover there or the horses on the outside to really make that work….but what do I know.

            Reply

        • Posted by John on 2011/02/01 at 12:43 PM

          Just because right now our best Left Back is a Right Back….. oh wait…

          heh

          (I would bet money on Poulsen going during the next window)

          Incidentally the best mid/defensive mid pairing has been Raul and Lucas with Gerrard in the hole. So why not (since Liverpool doesn’t have any wingers anyway really) run the Bob Bradley 4 – 2 – 2/3/2/3/2 – 2/1/2/1 (overlap)

          With Lucas and Raul in the backbone, Gerrard and Kuyt/Maxi up and Suarez drifting in and out of the midfield/forward position to support Carroll/run onto the ball.

          Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/02/01 at 2:08 PM

          Agreed John…when I’ve seen Liverpool…concur with this, “the best mid/defensive mid pairing has been Raul and Lucas with Gerrard in the hole.”

          I think the 4-2-2-2 (with Raul and Lucas in the back as so often happens) works.
          You’re only issue is having Kuyt–who loves to overlap–and Gerrard–with the defensive impetus we talked about before–getting back to play defense.

          See now Juan Vargas–who I love…would be the IDEAL player for Liverpool with the off-right formation I described above.

          Reply

  14. Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/02/01 at 2:22 PM

    Just reading through the comments, there are just too many holes left on this squad. Gerrard looks like he’s at 1/2 speed and has been playing in almost the CDM role (which is scary). Raul M actually fits better in the hole than Gerrard right now. Mascherano covered so many holes in both the MF and the backline. Lucas is just not good enough. And Poulsen is painful to watch. And Kuyt,as much as I love his energy, is just trying too hard to make things happen. Not his game.
    They are going to basically be playing Newcastle Route 1 soccer.

    Reply

  15. Posted by KL on 2011/02/01 at 2:32 PM

    Wasn’t sure where to put this, so I just figured I would add it down here. Steve Goff is reporting that Charlie Davies will be loaned to DC United on a twelve month stint effective as early as this week. Not sure how legit that report is, but Steve Goff usually has pretty good sources. Check out the link.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/soccerinsider/2011/02/dc_united_might_acquire_charli.html#more

    Any thoughts on how this might effect his chances of breaking back into the national team? You have to think the playing time would do some major good.

    Reply

  16. Posted by John on 2011/02/02 at 12:00 PM

    Hold onto your hats folks, sounds like it could be a really interesting formation/lineup from Liverpool today.

    Reply

    • Posted by John on 2011/02/02 at 12:17 PM

      Reina, Kyrgiakos, Skrtel, Agger, Kelly, Johnson, Lucas, Aurelio, Gerrard, Meireles, Kuyt.

      Hello, three at the back?

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/02/02 at 12:31 PM

        I see four at the back. Kuyt likely lone striker with Gerrard backing.

        Reply

        • Posted by John on 2011/02/02 at 1:17 PM

          Three at the back. this is great to watch.

          Skrtel on the right, Soto center and Agger on the left.

          Reply

        • Posted by John on 2011/02/02 at 1:24 PM

          A 3 – 6 – 1 morph with Fluid motion in the midfield between Lucas, Gerrard, Raul, Johnson, Kelly and Aurelio.

          Reply

        • Posted by John on 2011/02/02 at 1:27 PM

          So it started a 3 – 5 – 2 with Raul up top with Kuyt but it looks like he has dropped back to the mid a bit more and now Kuyt is playing with just about anyone coming up, a few minutes ago it was Lucas and then Gerrard.

          Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/02/02 at 2:02 PM

          Comination of some poor finishing and some decent goal-keeping keeping this game goal-less.

          Reply

  17. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/02/02 at 2:05 PM

    Also liking the look of Martin Kelly. Seen him a few times and looks quite assured. Also got a good delivery on him.

    Reply

    • Posted by John on 2011/02/02 at 2:22 PM

      Indeed, I am also at some point hoping to see Danny Wilson a bit more in the squad.

      Meanwhile, Suarez is on for Aurelio and heading up top with Kuyt.

      Reply

  18. Posted by John on 2011/02/02 at 2:41 PM

    Luis Suarez

    1 start – 1 goal

    Even if they call it an own goal – the impact, the shot, and the talent was there.

    Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/02/02 at 2:48 PM

      It was shocking defending by Stoke – how the LB wasn’t holding the line, I don’t know. And not sure what the keeper was doing, made it far too easy for Suarez. And Wilkinson should have cleared that off the line – seriously.

      However, a few thousand Scousers will be going home with a smile on their face tonight…

      Reply

      • Posted by John on 2011/02/02 at 2:50 PM

        The left back was just drifting, very bizarre. Then somehow it seemed that wilkinson got stuck in the turf when he tried to clear.

        Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/02/02 at 6:24 PM

      Suarez will make Liverpool fans very happy. Also quite like Kelly as their right back, as well as Meireles in the center.

      The problem with Liverpool–and another reason why I felt spending so much money on Carroll is a problem–is that they have a lot of holes everywhere on the field. Dirk Kuyt is a useful player, but he should play a similar role for Liverpool as Park Si-Jung plays for United–a squad player who gives you sound defense and huge effort on the wing. Their centerbacks are meh. Glen Johnson is athletic meh. No real creative central presence. Lots of players they need, which is going to require a lot of cash, which they concentrated on a bet that is by no means certain.

      Reply

      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/02/02 at 8:01 PM

        You also cannot overlook Dirk Kuyt’s ability to hold up the ball and run the channels. I think he does that ‘dirty work’ really well, and doesn’t get the credit he deserves.

        Re. CBs, Wilson is one that needs to be bled into the 1st XI. I will be surprised if Simon Kjaer or Mamadou Sakho don’t end up in the Prem during the summer window – and Liverpool would do very well to secure their services considering they’re ‘supposed to be’ 2 of the best young CBs around. Also Ciaran Clark, Phil Jones and James Tompkins have done quite well this season.

        Reply

  19. [...] I still like (Somtimes You Have To Splash)–independent of Fernando Torres’ struggles for Chelsea–Liverpool’s move to [...]

    Reply

  20. [...] like Liverpool’s Carroll splash has done the job, [...]

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  21. [...] signaled intent–which is all it had to do–with their bank-breaking acquisition of Andy Carroll earlier [...]

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