EPL worst transfer window ever: Liverpool
When you look at Liverpool, they are one of the clubs who have a lost to boast about. The Merseyside club is one of most successful teams in English football already having won 18 domestic league titles, and 5 European Cups. Their dominance in European football clearly shows why it has so much silverware in its cabinet.
The Red’s won the UEFA Champions League in 2005, FA Cup in 2006 and then the Community Shield. They made the finals of the Champions League in 2007 and finished second in the Premier League in 2008-09. Since then they have never seemed to continue with the legacy that they left behind.
The summer of 2009-10 was the worst transfer window Liverpool has had in recent times. The Redsmade risky moves in the transfer market with the departure of key players such as Xabi Alonso, Alvaro Arbeloa and Sami Hyypia, while signing Alberto Aquilani from Roma and Glen Johnson from Portsmouth.
The fans were high on expectations after finishing as runners-up in the previous season. Rafa Benitez was in his sixth season as Liverpool manager with the fans and the club having imposed all their faith in him. It felt like it was Liverpool’s time to make a comeback in the Premier League.
It wasn’t an easy pre-season for the Red’s, with Alonso’s exit highly impacting the club’s morale. As the season went on the Red’s fared poorly, with a defence leaking goals despite outstanding performances from goalkeeper Pepe Reina. Facing several injuries, they stuck with Sotorios Kyrgiakos and Jamie Carragher in the centre of the defence.
Jamie Carragher, once the rock the team relied on, could not anymore keep up with his performances. Left back Insua, who sparkled in the previous season, was caught out of position on many occasions and lacked pace and alertness.
Steven Gerrard, in particular, faced a terrible season. It certainly felt like he could not do any better with Xabi Alonso. But apart from him, there were many players who also endured a poor season. Dirk Kuyt, who scored many crucial goals and provided assists in the season before, also seemed lost and did not gel well.
Liverpool found a true goal scorer in striker Fernando Torres and were dependant on him. After Torres was ruled out for the rest of the season due to injury, Liverpool failed to find someone of his calibre. French youngster David N’Gog did show some promise but inexperience showed up when given chances.
Liverpool faced an exit from the League Cup in the fourth round at the hands of Arsenal. They even let the FA Cup slip away from their hands after being eliminated by Reading.
In addition to a poor domestic campaign, Liverpool failed to qualify for the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League, by finishing third in their group and entering the UEFA Europa League. Liverpool were then knocked out by eventual winners Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals on away goals.
The season as a whole was a massive let-down, especially after last season’s heroics. Liverpool never seemed to get in the groove, and a never-ending injury list meant the team had to make regular changes.
Liverpool’s vulnerability, lack of composition, and failing to find the appropriate replacements in the transfer window was largely responsible for another disappointing season they endured. The players looked weary, the fans were devastated, and the club sustained a lot of criticism from the press.
Despite being sold to Real Madrid for good money, letting Alonso leave was a huge mistake by Rafa. Since his departure, Liverpool was never the same team that they used to be. His replacement Alberto Aquilani never had the same quality and faced recurring injury problems.
Lucas Leiva certainly improved but could not provide that defensive stability that Alonso did. Alvaro Arbeloa also followed his fellow countryman to the Bernabeu. The Red’s desperately missed Arbeloa’s versatility and stability at the back which newcomer Glen Johnson took time to adapt.
Liverpool finished 7th in the Premier League, their lowest finish in 11 years, and failed to progress beyond round 4 of either domestic cup. They were 23 points adrift compared to their previous season, and even conceded more goals and scored fewer. The stats were enough to sum up how badly Liverpool fared throughout the campaign. A week later, the club announced that Rafa Benitez had been sacked.
The present transfer window will be one to look forward to for the Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp has quickly adjusted to Premier League despite taking over halfway from Brendan Rodgers and leading them to two finals. With the likes of players such as Marko Grujic, Loris Karius, Joel Matip, Ragnar Klavan, Georginio Wijnaldum and Sadio Mane coming in, Liverpool will be ever ready to fight back.