Grading Liverpool's Activity in the Summer Transfer Window
If you're a regular follower of my articles, then you may remember that earlier in August, I went through the 20 biggest clubs in Europe and graded each and every club's transfers in and transfers out, before assigning a final overall grade.
Now that the transfer window has closed until January and most players have had the opportunity to play with their teammates or at least know where they fit in their new team's plans, I've decided to go back through all 20 clubs and assign new final grades on each club's transfer activity.
The format will be as follows: Starting September 1 and ending September 12, I will be publishing "report cards" for two of the teams I reviewed in August.
The schedule should look like this:
September 1: Tottenham Hotspur
September 3: Arsenal
September 4: Liverpool
September 5: Chelsea
September 6: Manchester City
September 7: Manchester United
September 8: Juventus
September 9: AC Milan
September 10: Inter Milan
September 11: Real Madrid
September 12: FC Barcelona
Stay tuned and enjoy!
Transfers In: A
Transfers In: CM Jordan Henderson, CM Charlie Adam, GK Doni, LW Stewart Downing, LB Jose Enrique, CB Sebastian Coates, ST Craig Bellamy
When I initially reviewed Liverpool's purchases in the summer transfer window after the purchase of Stewart Downing, I gave Liverpool a borderline B+.
I criticized the way Liverpool had gone about strengthening its midfield tremendously while ignoring the weaknesses in defense. Apparently, someone was listening.
Though I've always been a huge doubter of Jose Enrique's ability, he has looked excellent at left back for Liverpool. Similarly, the acquisition of Coates gives Liverpool a huge boost in quality over the outgoing Sotiris Kyrgiakos.
With three quality left backs, three quality right backs and five quality center backs, Liverpool have one of the best defensive lineups they've had in a long time.
Moving on to the midfield, Liverpool's purchases have looked nice in this department as well.
Though they didn't start excellently, Henderson and Adam are beginning to look comfortable in Liverpool's midfield, and Downing is slowly living up to his big transfer fee.
Even in attack, the signing of Craig Bellamy looks like a shrewd piece of business, as the Welshman can still contribute off the bench and still boasts a fairly impressive scoring record as a winger-cum-striker.
Even better, he comes in for free.
Transfers Out: A
Transfers Out: LB Paul Konchesky, ST Milan Jovanovic, SS Nabil El Zhar, CB Sotiris Kyrgiakos, LB Emiliano Insua, DM Christian Poulsen, ST David N'Gog, RB Philipp Degen, CM Raul Meireles
When I initially reviewed Liverpool's departed players list, I was not pleased.
I believed there was far too much deadwood still lying about the squad following the sales of Konchesky and Jovanovic.
I didn't think that Liverpool would be able to sell all the players they needed to in the coming three weeks. Apparently, I was wrong.
Somehow, Liverpool were able to sell all the players I thought they needed to sell. They also sold some of the players that I was on the fence about but thought should be moved on as well.
Sotiris Kyrgiakos, Christian Poulsen and Philipp Degen all definitely needed to go.
Kyrgiakos and Degen remnants of the Rafa Benitez era of failure, and were doing nothing but eating up wages and struggling to even make the bench. Poulsen, on the other hand, was hands down the worse signing made by Roy Hodgson in his short spell with the club, and until this day no one quite understands why Hodgson thought the Danish midfielder would be a good fit at Anfield.
I wasn't 100 percent convinced Nabil El Zhar, David N'Gog and Emiliano Insua needed to go, but I was fairly certain that it would be best for them to move on.
El Zhar had spent five years on the fringes of the Liverpool squad, and N'Gog had been impressive far too infrequently in his Liverpool career.
Insua's sale was a tad harsh but with three other more capable left backs in the squad it needed to be done.
Miereles' sale to Chelsea was definitely the most controversial move for Liverpool but sometimes it's just an issue of preference with guys like Meireles.
Liverpool are currently loaded with midfielders and if Meireles could hardly get any playing time while Gerrard was injured, he almost surely wasn't going to get any while Gerrard is fit.
Both are solid moves by Liverpool. Joe Cole needed to be moved as he had no place in the squad.
Aquilani's loan move decreases congestion in the midfield for Liverpool and will likely result in a decent fee for Liverpool if Aquilani succeeds at AC Milan.
Liverpool and Kenny Dalglish, without a doubt, went about the summer transfer window the right way.
They got the business they needed to get done done early and then put the icing on the cake of a successful transfer campaign with two nice players in Sebastian Coates and Craig Bellamy.
At the same time, Liverpool weeded its squad out of practically all the players who were not contributing at a high enough level to the Liverpool cause.
They now have one of the most streamlined, efficient squads in the English Premier League.
There may be a couple of semi-controversial moves (the sale of Raul Meireles, loaning of Alberto Aquilani), but all-in-all, there's not a thing I can think of that Liverpool truly did "wrong" this transfer campaign.
Well done, Kenny Dalglish and Fenway Sports Group.
What do you think? Do you believe that the grades are too lenient on Liverpool?
Do you believe there are some players Liverpool should've pursued with greater intensity or players Liverpool has retained that should've been sold?
Also, I'd love to hear your predictions on where you think Liverpool will finish in the 2011-12 season based on its transfer acquisitions and sales.
I believe Liverpool can finish third with the strengthening they've done this summer.
I also believe that there is a possibility that Chelsea may just get their game together and beat them to third, relegating Liverpool to fourth.
I'm looking forward to hearing your opinions and reading your comments.