Liverpool look to have concluded their transfer business, and they made sure to go out with a bang.
The club confirmed the purchases of Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori and the loan of Victor Moses on the deadline day of the summer transfer window. The club also wasted no time in posting pictures of the three on Instagram.
Unlike past seasons, the Reds have been very efficient in the transfer market. They haven't overspent and they identified their targets early in order to get business done quickly. Seeing Willian go to Chelsea and Henrikh Mkhitaryan choose Borussia Dortmund was a bit frustrating. Stuff like that will keep happening until Liverpool can get back into the Champions League.
With what they've done this summer and their quick start to the Premier League season, there's reason for supporters to think Liverpool have a strong chance of finishing in the top four this season.
Here are grades for the Reds' most recent signings.
Out of all the players that Liverpool have bought this summer, Tiago Ilori is the one supporter probably know the least about. He's an inexperienced centre-back, having made more appearances for Sporting B (20) than he has for Sporting's senior side (14) throughout his short career.
Ilori will offer a right-footed option in the centre of defence for Brendan Rodgers, which will allay any supporter's fear that the manager was adding too many left-footed defenders.
Liverpool Football Club is delighted to announce the signing of Portuguese defender Tiago Ilori from Sporting Lisbon. pic.twitter.com/tHGgEEKpke— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 2, 2013
In fitting with Rodgers' system, Ilori is a centre-back who's very capable on the ball. He's always looking up the pitch for that killer pass when he's on the ball. When under pressure, he's not going to simply lump it out, either.
At 6'2", Ilori should also be big enough and strong enough to handle English football. He's got the size to break up set pieces and win headers, but he's not so gangly that he lacks pace.
This is the kind of move that is impossible to accurately grade until years from now. Sure Ilori has great potential, but so did Sebastian Coates when he moved to Liverpool. Now look where the Uruguayan defender is. In the present, it's a good move that could turn into a great move.
In general, I'm not a huge fan of loan deals, especially ones that don't have a future fee attached. You invest time and money in a player just to see him leave at the end of the season. There's also a rush to get him integrated into the squad because every week that he struggles to get bedded in is a week you lose on that loan.
With that said, bringing in Victor Moses on a season-long loan is a good move for Liverpool.
Really excited to be joining Liverpool this season and can't wait to make my debut now pic.twitter.com/1GFeZN6Nf8— Victor Moses (@VictorMoses) September 2, 2013
Stewart Downing was sold this summer, while Oussama Assaidi and Suso were loaned out. That left Raheem Sterling, Luis Alberto and Jordon Ibe as the only natural wingers available to the senior team. You cannot compete for a top-four place with so few wide men at your disposal.
If you're going to bring in a player on loan, Moses is about as good as you could hope for. This isn't like the Nuri Sahin loan, where you're bringing in a player to a new league and asking him to play out of position.
Moses has enough experience in England that he should be able to make an immediate impact for the club. His talents and limitations are known to the coaching staff, so the club should know exactly how to utilize him.
Upon Luis Suarez's arrival back into the team, it will be good to have players like Moses who will look support his forwards rather than try to score for himself.
This is a great move for the club. Mamadou Sakho is a major talent and only 23 years old. Much like the transfers of Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge, this is a major risk/reward move. It's a gamble that should pay off in spades for Liverpool.
The young Frenchman can be the long-term replacement for Daniel Agger. This allows the club to move Agger at some point down the road. Or, given the Dane's injury history, Sakho can be great cover should Agger get hurt.
With his style, Sakho is the perfect kind of centre-back for Rodgers' system. He's very good with the ball at his feet and had one of the highest pass success rates in Ligue 1 last season, via WhoScored:
Mamadou Sakho: Of every player with 10+ Ligue 1 appearances last season, only two players had a better pass success than Sakho (91.6%) #LFC— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) September 2, 2013
He's also strong defensively, and Paris Saint-Germain were arguably better with him on the pitch, via OptaJoe:
42 - During his time in Paris, Mamadou Sakho helped keep more clean sheets in Ligue 1 than any other PSG player. Solid.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 2, 2013
There will likely be a strong contingent of supporters who aren't sure of Sakho because he was accident-prone at PSG. Most of that can likely be attributed to not playing as regularly as he should have been. When he did play, he was most partnered with Thiago Silva, who had no interest in learning the French language. You need communication between your back line, and that's not possible when your players literally don't speak the same language.
With regular first-team action, Sakho should flourish at Anfield. The bust potential does give this move a slight knock.