£250million spent over 3 years at Anfield- Has Brendan Rodgers spent wisely?
Three seasons have gone by since Brendan Rodgers replaced Kenny Dalglish as manager of Liverpool football club in 2012. He arrived with Liverpool having not finished in the top 4 the previous season, but having won the League Cup and reaching the FA Cup final that year.
He had impressed at previous club Swansea, having guided them to promotion and kept them in the Premier League in the 2011/12 season. This was enough for Liverpool to offer him the job.
With the job, came a bigger transfer kitty than he had been being given at Swansea. Since arriving, he has spend over £250million on new players, but the question is, has he spent wisely?
The 2012/2013 season
In his first season upon arriving at the club, Rodgers made a total of seven signings at the club, five in the summer of 2012, and two more in January 2013.
In the summer, his signings were as follows: Fabio Borini (Roma, £10.4m), Joe Allen (Swansea City, £15m), Oussama Assaidi (Heerenveen, £3m), Samid Yesil (Bayer Leverkusen, £1m), Nuri Sahin (Borussia Dortmund, season-loan).
None of these signings made enough of an impact on the side, with Sahin’s loan ending early and Assaidi and Yesil being sold on eventually. Borini is also heading for the exit door this summer, while Allen is far from being a fan’s favourite.
The two January signings were much more successful.
Rodgers signed striker Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea for £12million, and young attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho from Inter Milan for £8.5m.
These signings proved to be a lot better value for money in the second half of the season, with Sturridge in particular making a big impact by forming a good partnership with Luis Suarez, a partnership that would play a big part in Liverpool’s strong title challenge the next season.
That season, Rodgers spent a total of £49.9million on new players, but most fans would agree that only the £20.5million spent in January was the money put to good use.
The 2013/2014 season
After finishing a poor 7th below Everton in the league in his first season in charge, many expected Rodgers to spend big again in the summer.
He spent a total of £44.8million, he bought Luis Alberto from Sevilla for £6.8mil, Iago Aspas from Celta Vigo for £7mil, Simon Mignolet from Sunderland for £9mil, Kolo Toure from Man City on a free, Aly Cissoko from Valencia on loan, Mamadou Sakho from Paris-Saint Germain for £15mil and finally Tiago Illori from Sporting Lisbon for £7mil.
Fans seemed to be pleased with the additions to the defence after the retirement of club legend Jamie Carragher at the end of the 2012/13 season.
Aspas and Alberto never managed to make an impact, and despite saving a penalty against Stoke on his debut on the opening day of the season, Mignolet has become known for his inconsistency rather than his shot-stopping.
Illori was sent out on loan to Granada CF in La Liga. He still belongs to the club today but is currently on-loan to Bordeaux, only time will tell whether the young centre-back will ever be worth his fee.
Despite a shaky start, Sakho has however become a solid force at the back. The Frenchman is incredibly strong and powerful, and despite making his fair share of mistakes, is starting to fit comfortably into Brendan Rodgers’s side.
Everybody knows that the SAS were the stars of the show that season, as Liverpool’s dramatic campaign lead them to a second-placed finish, but again, the signings made weren’t title-challenge quality, they had no ‘game changer’ in that fatal game at home to Chelsea with three games to go and despite signing Sakho, no one to really control the defence throughout the season, no one with title challenge experience, which is one of the key reasons Steven Gerrard wasn’t lifting the Premier League title on the final day.
The 2014/15 season
Slightly disheartened from missing out on the title but buzzing from claiming a comfortable top four finish the season before, Rodgers was keen to make higher profile signings in the summer of 2014.
He started with a double raid on Southampton, signing veteran striker Rickie Lambert for £4.6million, and highly-rated English playmaker Adam Lallana for £25million.
He signed young German midfielder Emre Can for £9.75million, along with more defensive additions. As a result of conceding 50 goals in the 2013/14 season, compared with Premier League champions Man City’s 37 goals conceded, Rodgers signed left-back Alberto Moreno for £12million from Sevilla, and once again shopped at Southampton, signing Saints centre-back Dejan Lovren for £20mil, and also signing Atletico Madrid’s Javier Manquillo on a two year loan, however that loan has been cancelled early.
After the controversy surrounding Luis Suarez at the World Cup and his eventual departure to Barcelona, Rodgers signed Lille’s young wonderkid Divock Origi for just £9.8mil. However, Origi’s cheap price came with the promise that he would be loaned back to Lille for the upcoming season, so he is still to pull on a Liverpool shirt.
Rodgers also signed winger Lazar Markovic from Benfica for £19million, after impressing in Portugal the season before.
The most publicised signing however, was the arrival of ex-Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli from AC Milan for £16million. Seen as a huge risk Rodgers was prepared to take, Balotelli had a disastrous season at Anfield, and is now facing an uncertain future.
The signings of that summer have been a mixed bag in their debut season. As well as Balotelli, Rickie Lambert struggled to make any sort of impact, and looks to set to be sold on before the 2015/16 season begins. Adam Lallana, despite injury at the beginning of the season, impressed the majority of fans and, along with Alberto Moreno, is considered one of the better signings made that summer. Lazar Markovic struggled to impress, with his physical strength not being able to meet the demands of the Premier League just yet.
Steven Gerrard’s final season ended with a disappointing 6th place and a humiliating final-day 6-1 defeat away at Stoke, and left lots of work to be done in the summer of 2015 to improve for the next season.
The summer of 2015
Rodgers started his business early this summer with the signing of defender Joe Gomez from Charlton for £3.5million finalised on the 20th June. He then made three free transfers, signing James Milner from Man City, Danny Ings from Burnley and Adam Bogdan from Bolton.
Milner has been impressing fans on Liverpool’s pre-season tour of Australia and Asia. Once again buying from Southampton and once again adding to his defence, Rodgers signed highly rated young English right-back Nathaniel Clyne for £12.5million to replace the outgoing Glen Johnson.
As far as attacking options go, he has added playmaker Roberto Firminho from Hoffenheim in the hope that he will form a good partnership for Brazilian teammate Philippe Coutinho on the field.
As a big striker, he yesterday signed Belgian striker Christian Benteke from Aston Villa for a huge £32.5million after the selling of Raheem Sterling to Manchester City for £49million, a move many fans see as huge risk, with Benteke preferring to be played as a ‘big’ centre-forward and being more of a direct player, a style of football Liverpool aren’t known for.
Liverpool will finally welcome Divock Origi to join the team this season as they look to get themselves back into the Champions League and compete with the other big teams around them financially.
Overall Brendan Rodgers has spent over £250million on bringing players to Anfield, yet doesn’t have a trophy to show for it.
Many fans are hoping that the signings made this summer will produce much better results in the coming season. Unfortunately, all fans know that the majority of the money spent has been spent in vein, with only a few of the signings actually making an impact on the club, the majority have already been sold on or have just been simply underwhelming, and at a big club such as Liverpool, that must change.
By Ben Kelly – Follow me on Twitter for more articles! @benkelly_10