As Liverpool prepared to sign Fernando Torres, the club sold Luis Garcia—with little fanfare and few complaints.
One wonders whether the Reds timed the sale during the Torres circus to bury bad news.
It's this writer's opinion that Rafael Benitez may have made a mistake. Although Liverpool deny it, I can't see how they would have let Garcia go without his being a "sweetener" in the Torres deal.
And I'm not sure the exchange worked to the Reds' advantage.
Yes, Garcia was inconsistent—and even soft at times—but he was a player who could produce a piece of magic every time he stepped on the pitch.
It's that ability that the Reds miss.
Without Garcia, Liverpool have lacked a spark this season—especially when opposing defences camp in numbers around the area. Garcia was the one Red who was always most likely to pull a rabbit out of his hat against such long odd.
Manchester United have Paul Scholes. Chelsea have Joe Cole. Liverpool HAD Garcia—and they're hurting for creativity without him.
Garcia also regularly added his name to the goal tallies—in key situations, no less. The quarterfinals and finals of the Champions League, the FA Cup semifinals, the Merseyside derby—Garcia had a knack for finding the net when it mattered.
Without him, the goal-starved Liverpool strikers find themselves under even more pressure.
Can anyone fill the void left by Garcia? The most likely candidate appears to be Yossi Benayoun, who has the ability to unlock defences and contributed his fair share of goals at West Ham.
Hopefully Benayoun's clever nutmeg and subsequent finish against Reading in the League Cup will be a teaser of what's to come.
In any event, any successor will have his work cut out for him. Although a mere 5'7", Luis Garcia left some very large boots to fill.