Liverpool FC: The Post-Transfer Window Starting XI That Could Have Been
With 10 days having passed since Liverpool fans had their hearts broken on deadline day of the 2012 summer transfer window, it's time to look back on those months of the transfer window.
Manager Brendan Rodgers made five signings in the window, bringing in Fabio Borini, Joe Allen, Oussama Assaidi, Nuri Sahin and Samed Yesil, but there were many more the Reds were linked with.
Several of the players mentioned in the same breath as Liverpool could have drastically improved the team.
Here is the best starting XI of those linked with the Reds this summer, modeled to the club's 4-3-3 formation.
GK: Jack Butland
With Pepe Reina, Doni, Brad Jones, and Peter Gulacsi, goalkeeping is no great need for Liverpool, but that did not stop the Reds from being linked with England's brightest young keepers.
The 19-year-old Birmingham stopper, who starred for Team GB at the Olympics, would be a formidable pick-up for Brendan Rodgers, and while, as mentioned, the Reds have no urgent need for a goalkeeper, his acquisition would allow the Reds to shore up the position for the next decade-and-a-half and begin preparation for life after Reina.
LB: Stewart Downing
Downing needs to reinvent himself if he wants to remain a Red, and the move to a new position might be just what he needs.
And, who knows, it might just work out. If it does, it would almost be like a new signing for Liverpool. Downing, therefore, earns a spot on this team.
CB: Michael Dawson
With Tottenham's high-profile signing of Jan Vertonghen, England international Michael Dawson has become expendable at White Hart Lane.
At 28 years of age, Dawson does not necessarily fit the Reds' transfer policy, but he would have been a good addition to a corps that includes Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel. Dawson is a good centre-back, and Liverpool need good players.
CB: Diego Godin
When the rumors linking superstar centre-back Daniel Agger with a move away from Anfield were at their fiercest, Liverpool fans found solace in the fact that a player in the caliber of Diego Godin was being linked with the club.
The 26-year-old, who currently plies his trade for Atletico Madrid, is by no means of the quality of Agger, but he is similarly a ball-playing defender who is more than able in his own half, and he would have been a nice fit.
RB: Benedikt Howedes
Liverpool had the second-best defense in the league last season, and there was no real need to improve the back-line.
This doesn't stop a player like Benedikt Howedes from being linked with the Reds.
The 24-year-old Schalke defender and Germany international usually plays in the middle of the back-four, but is capable of playing on the right. He would have been a sensational pickup for the Reds, but ultimately, as mentioned, there was no need.
CM: Gaston Ramirez
A dynamic offensive player who can score and assist at the top level, Gaston Ramirez would have been a sensational signing for Liverpool.
Unfortunately, the Reds let the versatile 21-year-old Uruguayan slip through their fingers. Ramirez joined Southampton for just £12 million.
Ramirez could have drastically improved the Liverpool side, bringing his high footballing-IQ and skills to a Liverpool team that needed it. A great pickup for Southampton, but another brutal loss for Brendan Rodgers and the Reds.
CM: Gylfi Sigurdsson
There are few players on the market who would have been a better fit at Anfield than Gylfi Sigurdsson.
The 23-year-old Icelandic midfielder, who scored seven goals on loan for Rodgers' Swansea last season, is the prototypical box-to-box, pass-and-move midfielder, and would have been ideal in the Reds' system.
He ended up joining Tottenham, becoming Andre Villas-Boas' first signing in charge at White Hart Lane, and Liverpool got the better of the ex-Swansea midfielders.
CM: Clint Dempsey
No player was linked with Liverpool as rigorously this summer as American Clint Dempsey.
The 23-goal scorer from a season ago was hotly-tipped to be the man to solve the Reds' dire goalscoring crisis, but ended up joining Gylfi Sigurdsson at Tottenham for £6 million.
Dempsey would have been a monumental addition to the Liverpool first XI, but due to owners Fenway Sports Group being unwilling to pay the fee, the 29-year-old slipped away. Attack-less Liverpool are left to rue the missed opportunity.
LW: Cristian Tello
There are few places in the footballing world where it is harder to break into the first-team than at Barcelona, and considering how far Cristian Tello has come with the La Liga runners-up, he's good.
The 21-year-old has made a total of 26 appearances and has scored seven goals in the past two seasons with Barca, but will undoubtedly struggle to break beyond Pedro and Alexis Sanchez in the depth chart.
Tello appeared set to leave the Nou Camp this summer, and Liverpool would have benefited heavily from the speedster's services, but it wasn't to be.
ST: Fernando Llorente
For a team that scored just 47 times in 38 games last season, a goal-poacher was a desperate need heading into the summer.
Spaniard Fernando Llorente would have been the perfect signing for Liverpool, but, ultimately, the club would have struggled to reach his estimated £28 million valuation.
The 6'5" Athletic Bilbao frontman would have been a nice fit in Brendan Rodgers' 4-3-3 system, finishing off the chances Fabio Borini and Luis Suarez would provide. Maybe next summer.
RW: Theo Walcott
With contract uncertainties plaguing the start to his season, 23-year-old England international Theo Walcott emerged as a surprised transfer option for the Reds.
Walcott has established himself as one of the Premier League's finer wingers over the past few seasons with Arsenal, notching 24 goals and 22 assists in the last two years combined, and would have added some elite pace and trickery to the Liverpool flank.
The boyhood Reds fan has still not signed a new deal with the Gunners. He could be available at a bargain price in January.