Simon Bunn asks if Liverpool's transfer business will let them down as it did Tottenham last season after selling their star man.
When Spurs talisman Gareth Bale departed White Hart Lane for the glitz and glamour of the Bernabeu the North London club went cheque book crazy.
During that summer Spurs were signing a player every eight minutes in a bid to replace the massive void left by the Welshman with a more balanced squad built of depth and quality.
Many thought the sprinkled reinvestment of a World Record transfer fee was shrewd business by Levy, Baldini and Villa-Boas. The new faces, perceived to be amongst the top talents in Europe, arrived in force and dried the sodden pillows that thousands of Spurs fans had been sobbing into. E
Even White Hart Lane hero Garth Crooks declared, “Spurs have sold Elvis and signed the Beatles.” What Garth Crooks doesn’t know could fill Tottenham’s recently empty trophy cabinet.
Over £100 million was spent on the likes of Roberto Soldado, Erik Lamela, Paulinho, Christian Eriksen, Vlad Chiriches, Nacer Chadli and Etienne Capoue. These players are not ‘The Beatles’ and turned out to be more like a wannabe band.
With the possible exception of Eriksen, if any of those players took to the stage proclaiming to be ‘The Beatles’ they would be enthusiastically booed off. Even Eriksen displayed only glimpses of brilliance and may be allowed to liken himself to Ringo Starr at absolute best. Elvis as we all know however has gone on to sell more records than ever and remains years away from being found fat and eating a hamburger whilst sat on the toilet.
Cue another pre season, Liverpool, a disgraced genius and the lure of La Liga’s elite. It was no surprise to anyone, other than the blinkered red eyes of Merseyside, that Luis Suarez’s future lay far away from Anfield. Despite the mercurial Uruguayans claims that he loved Liverpool and his kid spoke Scouse there is of course no loyalty in football, especially with a man as controversial as Suarez.
It was simply a matter of time before Liverpool’s prize asset successfully angled a move away from the club. The only shock was that he donned the face of Hannibal Lecter, for the second time in his career, to do it.
Armed with a £75 million plus war chest Liverpool have “done a Spurs,” by not replacing a world class player with a world class player.
Instead they have scattered their finances in the same manner as Levy last summer, by looking for strength in depth. But whereas Tottenham went shopping in the plush football malls of Rome, Amsterdam and Valencia the Merseyside club took their bulging wallet to Southampton, returning with a plastic bag full of Lambert, Lallana and Lovren. Not to discredit their lazy shopping technique Liverpool did also take to eBay and paid vast international shipping payments to acquire the likes of Markovic, Can, Origi and Moreno.
In Liverpool’s defence there is sense in shopping in Southampton. Unlike Spurs they have arguably bought proven Premiership experience and players that already know how each others game. I also believe that in Brendan Rodgers Liverpool genuinely have one of the brightest managers in the league, if not Europe. The same could not have been said for AVB.
However, there is nobody in the Liverpool squad that you can call a footballing genius. Suarez was and geniuses win games. It was plain to see how much Spurs missed their genius Bale last season, he is a player, like Suarez, that could win games by himself.
Liverpool may have a stronger squad, but they haven’t got that player that can produce something out of nothing time and time again. Gerrard used to, but those days are gone. If things had gone to plan Liverpool should be going into the new season with a genius and a stronger squad. That will only happen now if they can somehow pull off an unlikely deal for Falcao before the deadline.
Liverpool fans will point to their impressive pre season, especially the 4-0 defeat of Dortmund which also bought huge praise from Jürgen Klopp. But may I remind people that Liverpool were also soundly humbled by a Manchester United side still experiencing huge scale reconstruction.
Liverpool’s first game of the competitive season, aptly against their feeder club Southampton, may also act as a wake up call. Despite coming away with a 2-1 victory they were largely outplayed by a pillaged Saints side on their own turf.
It’s hard to see anyone other than Chelsea or Manchester City taking the title this season. Liverpool had their chance last season and bottled it. This time out they will surely be battling it out with Arsenal, Manchester United, Spurs and Everton for a Champions League spot at best.
The loss of Suarez may painfully mean that club legend Steven Gerrard’s unfortunate slip at work will haunt him for the rest of his life. If Spurs sold Elvis and bought ‘The Beatles’ Liverpool have sold John Lennon and bought ‘A Flock of Seagulls.’