The Anfield club delivered on all of their targets for deadline day, shifting Joe Cole, Christian Poulsen, David Ngog and Philipp Degen and re-signing Craig Bellamy after the Wales international was granted a free transfer by Manchester City. While Meireles never fell into the unwanted category under Kenny Dalglish, and Liverpool had been reluctant to trade with Chelsea, they were open to offers that would allow them to recoup the £11.8m paid to Porto for the 28-year-old.
Ultimately, the only bid that came close to Liverpool's valuation was Chelsea's second offer for Meireles. Liverpool had rejected a deal of £7m plus Yossi Benayoun last week and made it clear to the midfielder that he would have to submit a transfer request if he wished to be reunited with André Villas-Boas, who managed him for three weeks at Porto last summer.
Meireles submitted a request as the 11pm deadline approached after Chelsea, thwarted in their pursuits of Luka Modric and Alvaro Pereira, agreed to meet Liverpool's valuation. He has signed a four-year contract at Stamford Bridge, having been due an improved contract at Liverpool.
Liverpool's business also involved looking ahead to next summer. They agreed to pay 60% of Cole's wages during his season at Lille in an attempt to obtain first refusal on the Belgium international, Eden Hazard, should the French club elect to sell their coveted midfielder. That request was rejected by Lille, although Liverpool retain hope that their £3m costs for Cole over the next 12 months will deliver an advantage in any future talks for Hazard.
Cole agreed to join the French club despite late interest from Aston Villa, having made only nine starts in the Premier League last season. Fenway Sports Group, which inherited the 29-year-old's £100,000-a-week contract, was keen to offload the midfielder but struggled to find a suitor. Through the director of football Damien Comolli, Liverpool had used Lille's interest in Cole as a means to try to steal a march on their rivals for Hazard.
Liverpool inquired about Lille's attacking midfielder earlier in the summer and, along with Arsenal and several European clubs, were informed that the 20-year-old was not for sale. But Lille's stance on Hazard may change at the end of this season, prompting Liverpool to offer generous loan terms on Cole.
Lille can offer Cole Champions League football this season and are believed to be relaxed about the England international commuting to and from London. His exit was part of a successful clear-out of expensive transfer mistakes by Liverpool, who have also offloaded Milan Jovanovic to Anderlecht, Alberto Aquilani, on loan to Milan, and Poulsen to Evian. The Denmark international, who cost an initial £4.5m from Juventus last summer, made only 21 appearances for Liverpool and has joined the French club on a permanent transfer.
Bellamy has signed a two-year contract with Liverpool, having negotiated his release from City. The 32-year-old, who played for Liverpool for one season under Rafael Benítez in 2006-07, had two years left on a £95,000-a-week contract and his refusal to accept reduced terms had deterred several Premier League clubs this summer, plus Celtic, another of his former employers.
Liverpool, however, have offered similar personal terms after he successfully completed a medical on Merseyside last night.
The Anfield club also completed the signing of the United States under-18 striker Villyan Bijev from California Odyssey after the teenager impressed on trial at the academy. Bijev does not have a work permit and so has joined the German side Fortuna Dusseldorf on loan with immediate effect. They also cancelled Degen's contract by mutual consent and sold Ngog to Bolton for a fee of around £4m.
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