May 24, 2007

"We must spend big.": Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez, smarting from his team's loss in yesterday's Champions League final, vowed to spend serious money on the transfer market this season. Apparently, the new American owners have finally given him the budget to do so. Here are some possible buys, including Eto'o, David Villa, Alves, Gamst Pedersen and Tevez. What do you think? Also, who gets sold? (Thanks for the previous post, Abiezer. It's nice to find more Reds fans.)

posted by worldcup2002 to soccer at 11:41 AM - 23 comments

who gets sold? The holding midfielders are stacking up. Mascherano isn't going anywhere for a long time, Sisoko looked awful all season, and Xabi has been out to lunch. I'm rooting for Ribery to replace Zenden/Kewl just so I can see him play more. I love that kid. Maybe L'pool can get him, Tevez, and a good dental plan with the 40million pound war chest? It would be a bargin.

posted by r8rh8r27 at 12:34 PM on May 24, 2007

'Ere :D. I'm no Liverpool fan despite wishing you well last night - Crewe Alexandra for life. Though we do have some sort of feeder club arrangement with you that doesn't seem to amount to much bar the odd loan. Are you confusing me with yerfatma?

posted by Abiezer at 12:53 PM on May 24, 2007

No, Abiezer, yerfatma is not a Reds fan, far as I can tell. Tho, JJ is, bless his red heart. As for this topic ... Can't say any players have been a revelation this season for the Reds. Pennant has done some good but he had the bad-boy rep hanging over his head when he joined, so I think the bar was set low to begin with. I think the strikers have been a disappointment overall, even with Crouchie's purple patch, or Kuyt's occasional scores. For the near- or double-figure-millions spent on them, there should've been more consistency. We need strikers that actually strike fear. I've been most impressed by the way Tevez plays his heart out. With his brand of skill and pace, he could just be mucking about up front waiting for his chances (we[ve had our share: Cisse, Baros, etc.) but he was all over the field, scaring defenders, picking up loose balls from midfield. He's just the kind of player that would be great for the Reds. We also need a hard man, in the Hammann and Mascherano mold. Alonso is our playmaker, but he needs major protection. Gerrard would be stifled in that role. Someone like Makalele. Someone like Sissoko, but with consistency. Gerrard was great, as usual, but no revelation there. He kept getting played out of position because we didn't have anyone good on the left (or they were injured). I want to have two players in each third of the field that scare the crap out of opposing teams. I can only name Gerrard right now. I want my Dalglish and Rush!

posted by worldcup2002 at 01:07 PM on May 24, 2007

If Ribery goes to England, I think it will almost certainly be to Arsenal. As JJ said in the Locker Room CL thread, a world class striker is definitely a need for Liverpool. If Eto'o does move, I would guess it will be to an Italian team, but I could be wrong.

posted by holden at 01:10 PM on May 24, 2007

I thought Pennant had a great game last night - all over the pitch, going past his man, maybe final ball needs improving consistency. He may well grow into a real class player. We're apparently taking Craig Lindfield from you on a season-long loan. Heard anything about him?

posted by Abiezer at 01:11 PM on May 24, 2007

I'd love love love to see Tevez as a red. MGP would be a decent add. Up to me, those two would be a higher priority than the others because you wouldn't be taking a chance on them having difficulties adapting to the English game.

posted by juv3nal at 01:26 PM on May 24, 2007

I have a hard time seeing Tevez going to any English team. My bet is he's off to Spain or Italy (though Benitez would be the only one to convince him to stay in England probably). If they're looking for a striker, Julio Baptista will probably be available. At least he can score at Anfield (if nowhere else). [/tongue in cheek]

posted by trox at 01:51 PM on May 24, 2007

No, Abiezer, yerfatma is not a Reds fan, far as I can tell. Right town, wrong team.

posted by yerfatma at 02:46 PM on May 24, 2007

I don't see Tevez sticking around England considering how he's a massive liability to whatever club he's on because he's owned by MSI and other groups. Should West Ham off load him, they reportedly won't see any of that money because they don't own him. That 40m he's supposed to net? You have Kia Joorabchian dictating transfer fees and honestly, I don't see how that's any good for anybody. Then you have Mascherano obviously in a similar situation.

posted by igottheblues at 02:54 PM on May 24, 2007

For me the biggest problem up front this year was Benitez's rotation policy. Especially towards the end of the year, Crouch was hardly getting any games despite scoring regularly when he got consistent minutes. I don't see selling him, rather, move Bellamy (speed and troublemaking) and buy someone who's best assets are speed and finess. Gerrard is our best player but there are times when I wonder how he really fits best on the field. If we need, say, Alonso (playmaker) and Macherano (holding) in the middle, where does he go in a 4-4-2? I really didn't like the results when Rafa sent out the 4-5-1 as he did for many away matches, and yet Gerrard is not a striker but doesn't really give his best when slotted on the wing. Also, playing him behind the striker in a 4-4-1-1-ish lineup, as yesterday, has not yielded the best outcomes either, as yesterday and would mean even fewer minutes for (if we buy one and retain Kuyt and either Crouch or Bellamy) a new striker. Don't forget we have Luis Garcia coming back next month, hopefully he'll be fully recovered from the ACL tear, and once again a force on the left. I like Pederson's creativity, that's for sure. I think Kewell will get walking papers along with Zenden, Gonzalez, Hyypia and Fowler; Cisse and probably Carson will get sold to add to the kitty. Sissoko has the skills and energy but is not maturing fast enough, so perhaps we'll go in for Makelele as cover for Mascherano. Lately I've seen Alves playing on the right side of midfield to good effect, which gets him into the attack more easily while he still drops back in defense well but if we buy him as a fullback we may move one or two of the younger defenders such as Arbeloa, Pauletta or Aurellio, at least on loan. Finnan would not be happy, so maybe he'd leave instead.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:44 PM on May 24, 2007

Those contracts have been cancelled, Blues. Third parties no longer have any involvement in them. Cancellation of third party interests in Tevez and Mascherano was completed on or by 27 April as part of the conditions set by the FA panel who also fined West Ham 5.5m. "Tevez and Mascherano, who has since joined Liverpool, were part-owned by Media Sports Investment, the company formerly run by Iranian-born businessman Kia Joorabchian - contravening league rules over third-party ownership. " (emphasis mine) "The second letter [from the FA] also makes clear Tevez's current position and eligibility for West Ham after the club tore up the original third-party agreement with Joorabchian."

posted by Mr Bismarck at 05:20 PM on May 24, 2007

So, I'm jonesing for a Tevez buy, obviously. And if any EPL team will pull it off, it will be Liverpool: Mascherano's already there, Benitez speaks Spanish, and the team needs someone like him. Hell, I'd love to see Tevez and Gerrard partnered upfront as a strike pair, taking turns at going at the defenders, let Alonso make plays and Mascherano own midfield and, hopefully, Garcia (or MGP!) on the left and Pennant down the right. Or maybe, Lennon on the right. That's another player with skill, speed and a lot of heart that I'd like to see join the Pool.

posted by worldcup2002 at 05:34 PM on May 24, 2007


posted by squealy at 07:14 AM on May 25, 2007

Tevez doesn't seem too smart, but he can sure finish, which is exactly what the Reds need. And Aaron Lennon might be available? Really? Damn. The thought of twin playmakers on either side of midfield. Geezus, that'd be good. I thought Tottenham was in a better bargaining position than it sounds like they are to keep their big-ticket players, even after the not-great season they had. (A disclaimer about how I might be completely off base given that this is my first full year following the EPL goes here.)

posted by chicobangs at 07:51 AM on May 25, 2007

I'd be surprised to see Spurs sell Lennon to Liverpool after the noise they've been making about not being a selling club. They could probably swing the likes of Carrick to United past their fans, but if they're serious about progressing as a club then Liverpool are one of the teams in their sights, so they can't be selling their best players to their direct competition. As for Eto'o I can't see him at Liverpool. Rafa may have an "in" to Samuel and to David Villa, but if Platini gets his way no country will be able to send more than three teams to the Champions League and that means that most seasons either Arsenal or Liverpool are going to be odd man out in England. Would you leave Spain and Barcelona for the North West of England and a 50/50 chance you're going to end up in the UEFA Cup?

posted by Mr Bismarck at 08:29 AM on May 25, 2007

MrB, wouldn't buying the likes of Eto'o and Alves and so on give the Reds a pretty good shot at pushing in the top two for a few years? I have to wonder how long all the egos at Chelsea will hang together even with the big money to buy year after year.

posted by billsaysthis at 09:42 PM on May 25, 2007

It might. It might be that those purchases would be enough to push past Arsenal every year, so that England ends up with a carousel among a static top three, with all going into the Champions League each year. But if you're Samuel Eto'o, you already have ECL qualification in the bag so outside of the benefit of Rafa being spanish, I don't see what the selling point is for Eto'o. 'Hey Samuel, move from one of the big two in Spain to a team trying to crack the big two in England.' I'm not trying to denegrate Liverpool, or their history and past success, but in England they've been on the outside looking in for a long time now. They haven't won the domestic championship for 17 years, (and so, obviously, have never won the Premier League). The Pool have a great tradition, a great history, a great stadium and a superb european legacy, but so do Barcelona, so why move? Maybe the challenge and change of scenary is what Eto'o wants right now. Maybe Eto'o always loved Liverpool and this would be his dream move. Maybe a metric buttload of money would be enough, I don't know. And because I don't know I can see plenty of reasons for Liverpool to chose Eto'o, but no compelling reasons for Eto'o to choose Liverpool.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 12:58 AM on May 26, 2007

Eto'o may move because he's received a lot of friction from the Catalan press this season and he's not handled it well. I like him, but he has never learned how to think before he speaks and that gets him in trouble with his side's true fanatics, be they in the press or stands. He's already won a major league competition twice with FC Barcelona and the Champions as well. I think if he's offered enough money he'd move to Liverpool. It would be a great pickup for Liverpool, because he is one of the best finishers in the world. Right up there with Henry.

posted by sic at 06:51 AM on May 27, 2007

I think Eto'o would also be interested because: (a) of late I don't think he's gotten the desired level of service out of the midfield and (b) he has won the league title with Barca and pushing Liverpool over the top would cement his position in history in a way that another title of any kind with his current side can do. Plus, then he can tell us if StevieG really is better than Ronaldinho.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:53 AM on May 27, 2007

Tevez wants out of West Ham.

posted by worldcup2002 at 07:07 PM on May 27, 2007

StevieG is not better than Ronaldinho, trust me.

posted by sic at 02:31 AM on May 28, 2007

I think bill was being tongue-in-cheek, sic. Even as a Liverpool fan, I will quite readily admit that Stevie is not Ronaldinho, heck, he ain't even Cristiano Ronaldo. I am, however, hopeful of an Eto'o move to Anfield, based on your description of his circumstances, sic. But I would be surprised if it happened.

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:24 PM on May 28, 2007

Stevie is not Ronaldinho, heck, he ain't even Cristiano Ronaldo Yeah, for one thing, he doesn't flop around like a fish on a dock; for another, he doesn't fall as if shot every time someone comes within 800 yards of him, and for a third, he's an actual leader, and the central fulcrum of that team. I'd take Gerrard over that stuck-up twat any day of the week. I'll give you Ronaldinho, who I grant is the best there is, but Gerrard is a damned fine midfielder and a proven leader, and if you gave him a nimble and consistent finisher (Eto'o would fit this bill quite well, thank you) to tap in his moon shots, especially with Bellamy &/or Fowler &/or whoever chipping things in on either side, well, talk about a good time.

posted by chicobangs at 10:31 AM on May 29, 2007

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