Has Brendan Rodgers finally got a hang of it? After a flying start to the season, when his team fought hard for three consecutive 1-0 wins, Rodgers finally completed his business dealings with three deadline day signings. This was on top of the four he acquired before the window opened and a sole signing during the transfer period itself. Can his signings build on what has been a successful start to the season? Football Following shall out.
As I mentioned before in an earlier article, Rodgers has certainly learned from his mistake of last summer and started his business early, even though he ended it doing the last 37.5% of his transfer dealings.
Kolo Toure | Defender | Free from Manchester City
The retirement of Jamie Carragher left a huge void in Liverpool’s defence, but Rodgers acted swiftly and brought in City’s unwanted Toure brother in Kolo. Three games in, Toure has started in two of them, against arguably two of Liverpool’s bogey teams last year, Stoke City and Aston Villa. He showed his experience, along with his vocal leadership, while throwing his body around to make blocks. Toure has so far proven he is an adequate replacement for Carragher, and like the Liverpool legend, Toure has in him a winning mentality – after winning league titles at Arsenal and City – and will surely inculcate that in this young team sorely lacking in this trait.
immense so far, but not missed against united, fortunately
Toure may not be the tallest, like Carragher, but his leap is immense. Though he may not distribute the ball well, never did Carragher either. He will be a good role model for the likes of Andre Wisdom, Martin Kelly and fellow new signing Tiago Ilori to learn from, and when Toure does reach a point where he has to hang up his boots, these trio can step up and lead the team.
Since Toure joined for free, there is no pressure on him. Further, he will not mind being back-up once deadline buy Mamadou Sakho finds his feet or if Martin Skrtel regains form. Toure certainly wouldn’t mind though, he would still get more games than at City. A smart buy from Rodgers.
Luis Alberto | Offensive Midfielder | £6million from Sevilla B
One more for the future, Alberto would still do a decent job if called upon, most likely from the bench. His flexibility in being able to play in any offensive positions as well as central midfield will be an added bonus Rodgers would want. Further, he honed his tiki-taka passing for a year at Barcelona (albeit their B team), the home of this new-age passing football.
hope is high but hope is also that he isn’t the next dani pacheco.
Though Alberto is only 20, he will need to adapt to the rigours and physicality of English football, and quick. He is a decent purchase but much will be seen as to whether he can prove himself at such a big club. Alberto might be seen as a direct replacement for Jonjo Shelvey. With more competition in wide positions from loanee Victor Moses, plus youth graduates Raheem Sterling and Jordon Ibe, Rodgers will see Alberto more as a back-up for Philippe Coutinho. Though, if Alberto can make even half the impact of Coutinho so far, he’ll look like a good buy. For now, Rodgers will not be expecting any immediate impact from him.. yet.
Iago Aspas | Forward | £7.7million from Celta Vigo
Not wanting to be short on striking options this season, Rodgers acted quickly to sign relegation-threatened Celta Vigo’s top scorer of last season, as the manager also knew he would not be keeping Andy Carroll. Rodgers was also unconvinced by Fabio Borini after his unconvincing and injury-plagued year at the club, Aspas was definitely needed to complement the main strikers at the club. This also allowed Borini to move to Sunderland on loan to get much needed game time under countryman Paolo Di Canio.
needs a goal to start convincing the kop of his abilities
However, three games in, Aspas does not look convincing. His first touch is questionable while he looks to lack physicality required for the English game, though admittedly he has shown glimpses of nice skill and ability. Aspas definitely needs to bulk up more, be more intelligent in his movement and most importantly improve upon his touch. A goal would also be most welcomed and go a long way in helping Aspas avoid the fate and tag currently bestowed on Borini.
The signing of Aspas by Rodgers could prove useful in the strikers department, but the Spaniard will need to prove his worth with goals, assists or just more commitment.
Simon Mignolet | Goalkeeper | £10million from Sunderland
One of the star keepers of last season behind a porous Sunderland defence, Mignolet has so far proven he is the man Liverpool needs right now. He has looked like an inspired signing, making significant stops in key moments of the first three games so far – the penalty stop from Stoke’s Jon Walters in injury time, the left handed block from Villa’s Christian Benteke in the 87th minute, and Nani’s long range pile-driver late in the second-half against United.
3 games, 3 clean sheets, a cult hero so far
For all his shot-stopping abilities, Mignolet does lack in some areas. He showed his vulnerability in collecting and coming for crosses against Stoke while his distribution is not as good as Pepe Reina, though in the most recent game against United both aspects has improved. Mignolet, however, is young and very much determined to improve, with his down-to-earth character complementing his professional attitude very well.
It is a big year for Mignolet, with the World Cup on the horizon. Being part of this “Golden Generation” of Belgium players, he will be fighting it out with Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois (on-loan at Atletico Madrid) to be Belgium’s No.1. This should bring out the best in Mignolet, and at his price tag could prove a real bargain. From Rodgers’ point of view, it was an excellent move in his attempt to deal with the persistent Reina to Barcelona rumours. He acted swiftly and decisively, like any good manager should.
These signings were all done before or at the start of the window, with some judgement passed as they all played most of the first three games. The next four were all signed late in the window, with three on deadline day.
How has Rodgers’ new signings fared in the first month of the season? Tell us in the comments section here or at the Facebook page!