The deadline day transfer of Rafael Van der Vaart and Alexander Hleb to Tottenham and Birmingham City, respectively, might have come as a surprise. What is more surprising is that both players rejected a move to Liverpool in doing so. Both players have revealed that Liverpool was interested in securing them.
Liverpool is not that small a name to reject in the first place. It is the one of the most decorated clubs in English clubs, and rightly so, when you take its exploits in the Champions League into account.
That is past. Now it is submerging under huge debt and the future looks dark. The club is crippled in the transfer market.
Even a top-four finish is not guaranteed for a club that was once terrorizing European heavyweights.
Has it perished so badly that players like Hleb should reject a move to the Anfield, though?
Hleb was a terrific player during his short stint at Arsenal,l but he lost his way since departing Arsenal for the Catalan giants Barcelona. He struggled to hold onto a starting berth and subsequently was loaned out to Stuttgart. A transfer away from Barcelona was inevitable this summer and the player, under normal circumstances, would cherish a move to Liverpool.
In the end, he was welcomed by Birmingham City, not Liverpool. That doesn't mean Liverpool wasn't interested, but the player wasn't keen on joining the Reds.
Why? Has Liverpool lost its glamour?
Of course there is no Champions League football at Anfield, but does that mean players should reject a move to Liverpool for smaller clubs like Birmingham?
The case of Rafael Van der Vaart is a bit different though. He was impressed with Harry Redknapp's charisma (if he has any). Also, the added advantage of Champions League football at White Hart Lane ensured Van der vaart penned a deal at Tottenham.
You can't blame the player for that. Presently, the pasture is greener at White Hart Lane, and hence, it's not hard to conceive his decision to snub Liverpool for Tottenham.
What does that mean? Liverpool couldn't even lure outcasts of other top clubs in Europe. So, does it stand in with any chance of securing top players then?
No, unless the current plight of the team changes.
Although Roy Hodgson has shrewdly operated in the transfer market with limited budget at his disposal, you would get a feeling that something is still amiss.
Hodgson did all he can to assemble a decent team. However, that isn't enough to challenge its peers. The Premier League is getting tougher and teams are getting better.
For major part since the advent of Premier League there have only been two teams (or three!) really capable of winning the title, but now the number has gone up to four and even five if you consider Tottenham as a serious contender (which I don't).
That list of contenders doesn't include Liverpool, though.
On a side note, Liverpool's current predicament is similar to that of Italian giants Juventus.
However, Juventus had money to play with and ensured it bought in quality players to challenge the likes of Inter, AC Milan, and Roma. But Serie A is no Premier League and teams vying for the Scudetto are very few.
Soon the old lady will move to its own stadium. This is what Liverpool also should be doing. A new stadium is what Liverpool badly need to ensure a level playing field with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal in terms of money from ticket sales.
A new stadium is only possible after a takeover. So first, the club must be sold. A lot has been happening behind the scenes to ensure a smooth take over, but nothing concrete has happened in front of it.
Fans are hopeful, though. You'll never walk alone. At the moment, it seems like players are walking away from Liverpool.