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Rating Rodgers' Reds: Dare to Dream

Last time out, we analysed and scrutinised Brendan Rodgers' first season recruits. We now turn our attention to those that arrived in time to contribute (or not) to the most unlikely of title fights, as Liverpool ascended to the Premier League crown, only to be cruelly knocked off their perch at the final hurdle.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The story of the summer surrounded the fate of Luis Suarez. The wantaway striker issued a 'come and get me' plea that went unnoticed by Spanish giants Real Madrid, but did tempt Arsene Wenger to make a bid for the Uruguayan's services. Ultimately, after training on his own, Suarez went nowhere and replied with a phenomenal record-breaking goal return in the Premier League, in spite of his overlapping suspension. The club had big shoes to fill following Jamie Carragher's retirement and Pepe Reina's reunion with Rafael Benitez in Naples, as Brendan Rodgers looked to build on his seventh place finish. Nobody could foresee the upcoming success, including the new recruits...

Luis Alberto > Sevilla FC > £6.8m
Liverpool's first official signing of the window came in the form of Barcelona starlet Luis Alberto, who had spent the previous season on loan with their 'B' team from Sevilla. He was heralded as 'one for the future' by both manager and captain, and his twelve sole appearances for the Reds in 2013/14 seemed to confirm that was the case. He found himself loaned out to Malaga in the following season, where he's since struggled to nail down a place in the team, throwing his future in jeopardy.
Verdict > Miss

Iago Aspas > Celta de Vigo > £8m
Alberto's compatriot arrived on Merseyside just a day later, boasting the 'winning' mentality Brendan Rodgers had so desperately sought. A natural fighter, both on the pitch and off, Aspas perhaps raised expectations too high following an exciting preseason, and failed to replicate that form when it mattered most. In truth, initially he wasn't as bad as people would have you believe, mostly playing out of position. He actually led the Premier League's rankings for clear cut chances created in the early weeks of the season, but soon tempered off and struggled to regain his place once Luis Suarez returned from his hunger-induced suspension.
Verdict > Miss

Simon Mignolet > Sunderland > £9m
It doesn't come much better than a match-winning penalty save in the dying moments of your competitive debut, does it? That's how things began for Simon Mignolet's Liverpool career, and he enjoyed a refreshingly impressive maiden campaign, particularly after the inconsistent and erratic final years of Pepe Reina. Things didn't go as well in year two for the Belgian keeper, as he found himself inexplicably dropped in favour of Brad Jones. An unexpected route back to the first team provided Mignolet with an opportunity, and he grabbed it with both gloves. Since his return, he's looked a step above, and may have earned himself more time as Liverpool's preference between the sticks.
Verdict > Hit

Kolo Toure > Manchester City > Free
Liverpool's first business of the summer came early when Kolo Toure signed a pre-contract, and joined up with his new teammates at the start of July. The veteran invincible was signed to replace long-serving vice captain Jamie Carragher as third choice in the heart of defense. He perhaps contributed slightly more than planned, thanks to alternating injuries for Daniel Agger and Mamadou Sakho, to somewhat mixed results. At times rolling back the years, and others serving calamitous and comical errors, his understated leadership and experience was vital for to spring a title challenge. All things considered, an excellent addition to the squad with no outlay.
Verdict > Hit

Aly Cissokho > Valencia C.F. > Loan
Oh, Aly. A little like the Evil Dead, the French left back may have been so bad that he was actually good. In constant danger of falling over his own feet, it's hard to put into words just how much joy Cissokho offered in his short time on Merseyside. And who could forget THAT altercation with noted gobshite Jack Wilshere? The king of Vine now finds himself at Aston Villa, where he still remains unconvincing, leaving many to wonder just how he managed to keep Cristiano Ronaldo in his back pocket at one stage.
Verdict > Miss

Tiago Ilori > Sporting CP > £7m
The first of three deadline day arrivals, nobody is really sure what's going on with Tiago Ilori. Another purchase with an eye on tomorrow, he spent his first six months at the club frozen out, with just one appearance as an unused substitute to his name, before finding himself on loan in Spain for the remainder. His tour of Europe has led to a year in France this time around, but injuries have kept us second guessing his ability. Still, he's probably the most likely of the transfer committee's youthful investments to come good at some point. Maybe.
Verdict > Jury Still Out

Mamadou Sakho > Paris Saint Germain > £18m
Don't let the media narrative fool you, Mamadou Sakho is the fucking business. The French International, who arrived as Liverpool's marquee signing, has had his fair share of detractors, but let me tell you, they're wrong. The man has fully embraced the culture of Liverpool, going as far as to volunteer his time to teach French lessons at local schools. That isn't to say that his time has been without controversy, as an infamous blowup with Brendan Rodgers led to the Frenchman walking out ahead of a crunch derby with Everton. Luckily, Rodgers has since come to his senses, and Sakho should be the mainstay of Liverpool's defense for years to come.
Verdict > Hit

Victor Moses > Chelsea > Loan
If there's one thing we've learned so far under Brendan Rodgers' reign, it's that loan agreements seldom work out for the Northern Irishman. The former Wigan winger was surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge, and thus found himself the subject of another punt on an underachieving 'big club' reject. Moses himself couldn't have seemed more bemused and, despite promising signs with a debut goal, he never looked all that interested. He wasn't seen much more once Rodgers came to that realization.
Verdict > Miss


The January transfer window didn't even get started, with only the failed pursuit of Yevhen Konoplyanka worth noting. There may have been more duds than studs coming into the club in 2013/14, but Rodgers crafted a team that was greater than the sum of its parts to an assault on the Premier League. With varying degrees of success, Simon Mignolet, Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sakho all captured the hearts of Liverpool fans, while the brilliance of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge offered the Reds a platform on which to build. Surely next year will be OUR year, you ask? We've heard it all before, and being a supporter of Liverpool Football Club is very rarely straightforward. As if you needed any reminding, next time we'll look at the big money signings Liverpool could afford now that they were back in the big time. Oh, Dejan.

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