Liverpool wasted no time in quickly diving into the transfer window as soon as the season ended, despite the fact that the window didn't officially open until July 1 and there was the small matter of a World Cup taking place and occupying the attentions of top players and their agents. Past windows have seen a flurry of (often tragic) deadline day activity, and it was clear that Brendan Rodgers and Ian Ayre wanted to do their business early and often, leaving the last minute scurry to other clubs.
Liverpool's list of holes to plug in the squad did not look dissimilar to that of previous seasons: a fullback would be nice, two would be a bonus; a true deputy at DM to backup Lucas wouldn't go amiss; and some additional attacking options, possibly in the form of wingers, could round out an already stellar attack led by Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. If we wanted to be really greedy, an upgrade on Brad Jones between the sticks would round out a perfect window.
But once again, Liverpool found themselves dealing with the aftermath of a Luis Suarez bite that would plunge themselves into what will likely be a season-long narrative about how on earth Liverpool will ever replace all the goals he scored last season. Much of Liverpool's subsequent transfer activity unfolded as it would have had Suarez stayed on, but it did present the challenge of finding additional support up front for Daniel Sturridge.
Suarez's transfer to Barcelona may have provided a bump in the road, but Liverpool still managed to wrap up its major transfer activity with a week left in the window, leaving fans with an unfamiliar sense of boredom on deadline day.
Who's In (£116,550,000)
- Rickie Lambert (£4m) — scouting report
- Adam Lallana (£25m) — scouting report
- Emre Can (£9.75m) — scouting report
- Lazar Markovic (£19m) — scouting report
- Dejan Lovren (£20m) — scouting report
- Divock Origi (£10m) — scouting report
- Alberto Moreno (£12m) — scouting report
- Mario Balotelli (£16m) — scouting report
- Javier Manquillo (loan from Atlético Madrid)
Rickie Lambert became the club's first signing of the summer, bringing with him a low transfer fee and high degree of sentimentality. Lambert was always meant to be a third choice striker to be played off the bench or in the cups, but Luis Suarez's departure created a gap in the side that went unfilled until Mario Balotelli signed last week. Balotelli wasn't the type of striker many fans hoped Liverpool would sign to beef up the attack in Rodgers' system, but at an incredibly cut rate price it feels worth the risk. Belgian striker Divock Origi was also signed, but immediately went back on loan to his former club Lille for the season.
Brendan Rodgers most expensive signing of the summer was Adam Lallana, the former Southampton captain who Rodgers was so determined to sign that he paid top dollar and then some for the Englishman's services. Lallana hasn't yet made an appearance for Liverpool due to the World Cup and a subsequent injury, but he'll be expected to make an instant impact on his debut. Lazar Markovic was Rodgers' other attacking midfielder(ish) purchase, with Liverpool signing the rising young star ahead of multiple big name English and European clubs.
Liverpool's most crucial signings came in the form of defensive reinforcements. Emre Can's complicated contract situation with Bayer Leverkusen meant a huge coup for the club in signing him before Bayern Munich could exercise their buyback clause, and Dejan Lovren, long admired by Brendan Rodgers, arrived to slot immediately into a starting position at centre back. It was the arrival of not one but two fullbacks that has really surprised and delighted fans, though. Alberto Moreno (purchased) and Javier Manquillo (on loan) have already made an impact in the league matches they've played, and the idea that Liverpool have fullbacks who can fullback still feels like a bit of a dream. Pinch yourself!
Who's Out (£83,000,000)
- Luis Suárez (£75m)
- Conor Coady (£0.5m)
- Pepe Reina (£2m)
- Martin Kelly (£1.5m)
- Jack Robinson (£1m)
- Daniel Agger (£3m)
- Luis Alberto (loan to Málaga)
- Iago Aspas (loan to Sevilla)
- Andre Wisdom (loan to West Bromwich Albion)
- Divock Origi (loan to Lille)
- Brad Smith (loan to Swindon Town)
- João Carlos Teixeira (loan to Brighton and Hove Albion)
- Tiago Ilori (loan to Bordeaux)
- Jordon Ibe (loan to Derby County)
- Sebastián Coates (loan to Sunderland)
- Oussama Assaidi (loan to Stoke City)
Luis Suarez is obviously the biggest name here and the one whose departure makes the biggest impact amongst Liverpool's exiting players. Suarez had an out-of-this-world season in 2013-14, no doubt, but the Uruguayan was operating at an improbably high level that would be difficult to replicate season to season. All summer the conversation has been about how Liverpool will replace his contributions, but the emerging theory that his December 2013 contract extension was written explicitly to allow Liverpool to recoup as big a transfer fee as possible upon his depature this past summer suggests that dealing with his absence was always in the club's plans.
Pepe Reina's eventual transfer to Bayern Munich for a paltry £2m was the culmination of a year spent hemming and hawing over his future while on loan at Napoli. As far as most fans were concerned, Reina stopped being a Liverpool player last summer, and the transfer was largely met with a shrug of the shoulders and a "Thankfully that's over now" sense of relief that was perhaps not fitting for a player who had been so loved earlier in his Liverpool career.
Conor Coady, Martin Kelly, and Jack Robinson were the unfortunate results of what happens when you excel through the club's Academy but ultimately can't break into the first team. The three youngsters all had varying tastes of first team action over the past few seasons, but ultimately none were destined to be major players in Brendan Rodgers' team going forward and they were allowed to move on to clubs where regular playing time is a much more likely prospect.
The club also allowed ten players to go out on loan for the season. Some, like Luis Alberto, were signed with the senior squad in mind but failed to get off on the right foot for whatever reason. Others, like Andre Wisdom or Jordon Ibe, need regular playing time but won't be able to get it at Liverpool this season due to age or lack of development . The deadline day loan agreements for Oussama Assaidi and Sebastian Coates feel very much as make-it-or-break-it opportunities for both players, although with very different final destinations in mind.
Finally, and heartbreakingly, Liverpool said goodbye to its second most loyal servant, Daniel Agger. Agger's transfer happened quickly and without much drama to the only club he could love as much as Liverpool, which is precisely the only way a Daniel Agger transfer could happen. This one is still too fresh.
So, What's the Verdict? (Net Spend: £33,550,000)
Liverpool's window has been an incredibly successful window by any definition, despite it feeling touch and go at moments. Ian Ayre negotiated several transfers (Lallana, Can, Moreno) that were challenging for one reason or another and that refuted his reputation of being really great at business deals and not so much at actual player deals. Liverpool signed additional attacking talent and shored up both fullback positions with exciting young prospects who could be the club's solution at those positions for years to come.
Luis Suarez's departure was obviously a huge negative for many, as was Daniel Agger's departure. Lucas Leiva remains with the club but his future still seems tenuous at best, especially with a loan deal to Napoli falling apart at the last minute. Fabio Borini got his wish to stay at Liverpool by failing to come to personal terms with Sunderland, Queens Park Rangers, and probably several other clubs we haven't heard about yet.
Financially, the window was a resounding success, thanks in part but not completely due to the Suarez sale. Suarez's departure may have added an additional £75m to the transfer kitty, but Liverpool were rumoured to have around £60m to spend from the get go thanks to lack of spending in the January transfer window, the new Premier League TV deal, and a willingness by the owners to spend a bit more to add significant depth for the coming season. The club's net spend of £33.5m comes well under the target of a £60m net spend, leaving room for additional reinforcements in January should that prove necessary.
There's little to complain about now that the window's closed, although there might be signings that would have been the cherry on top of the very delicious cake Liverpool did end up with at the end of summer. Of course, Liverpool didn't sign Marco Reus, so we're pretty sure that everything is still the worst.