As Liverpool toil €14.5m summer target shines in Champions League

Bay Arena - Bayer Leverkusen

Hakan Calhanoglu was in great form for Bayer Leverkusen against Zenit St Petersburg last night.

Liverpool had plenty of irons in the fire this summer, as shown by their extensive recruitment drive.

But one player they were keen on, but in the end did not sign, was Hakan Calhanoglu.

The Turkish international spent last season at Bundesliga side Hamburg SV. He was one of the only shining lights in a woeful campaign for HSV which saw them battle relegation , eventually surviving on the final day of the season in a play-off tie. It would have been the first time they suffered relegation to the second tier of German football.

Dubbed the 'next Ozil' mainly due to his attacking midfield position and Turkish-German heritage, the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Bayern Munich were also rumoured to be keen on the player.

But Brendan Rodgers personally watched him play.

Here is what Calhanoglu said about that:

"A great honour for me when a coach of such a great club is watching me. This is encouraging in a relegation battle. [However] only the successful relegation is currently important to me.”

But in the end he stayed in Germany. After a messy and ugly transfer wrangle he joined Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen in a €14.5 million deal.

But based on yesterday's performances for both Liverpool and Leverkusen it would appear as though Liverpool made a mistake in their transfer dealings this summer.

They splashed out much more to bring in Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic this summer, both very similar players in style.

But while Liverpool toiled to a 3-0 defeat at home to Real Madrid the Bundesliga side inflicted the first defeat on Russian side Zenit St Petersburg in 16 games.

Calhanoglu was the catalyst. He set up both of Bayer's goals in a 2-0 victory. He drove forward, in Ozil like style, before slipping the ball out wide to the right-back Giulio Donati - who fired in a well placed drive for 1-0.

Then he whipped in a stunning free-kick onto the head of substitute Kyriakos Papadopoulos to make it 2-0 and earn a deserved win for the German outfit.

Maybe Liverpool went for the wrong men after all.

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