With the dismissal of Kenny Dalglish days after the final game of the season at Swansea, the usual post-season review has taken somewhat of a backseat in the minds of Liverpool supporters. Here, Simon takes a look at those who arrived last summer and assesses their first season with the club.
Doni was brought in from Roma as experienced back up for Pepe Reina. He hasn’t had a lot of chances to shine this season. He’s played 4 league games (Aston Villa, Blackburn, Fulham and Swansea), and the early season friendly against Rangers.
In the games he has played, Doni has looked good – except Blackburn where he received a harsh red card. He organises the defence well, and has pulled off a few good saves. If Reina is evervout for an extended period, I’d trust our net would be safely kept!
The young Uruguayan centre back was bought in on the back of his performances for the national team at last years Copa America.
With a total of 12 appearances, and one amazing goal against QPR, Coates has been the consummate professional, while still being classed as a young ‘up and coming’ player with a lot of prospects. He has looked composed everytime he’s stepped on the field, whether he lined up alongside Skrtel or Carragher. And I think when Carra does finally hang up his boots, Coates is more than capable of filling his boots.
The Spanish left back decided, in August 2011, to follow his former Geordie collegue Andy Carroll across the Penines from Newcastle, and join Dalglish’s Anfield revolution.
The best left back we’ve had since Riise was sold to Roma. Aurelio may be better with free kicks, but Enrique is more consistent, less injury prone, and has kept Aurelio out of the team this season. With 43 appearances to his name, Jose has been an almost ever present in the side. His defensive abilities are good. He’s managed to keep more than the odd attacker quiet, but when he gets down that wing, his crosses are a bit hit and miss. There have been games where sweet crosses have led to goals, and games where he’s list the ball that have led to our opponents hitting us on the break. Overall, a good first season.
Henderson, on the other hand, has had a whole season of hit and miss games, mostly miss. With a total of 48 appearances for the youngster who joined us from Sunderland last June – most of which have been spent on the right side of midfield, rather than his preferred central role.
He’s not had the greatest of times out there on the right, and more often than not, has been ostracised by fans, as he didn’t really look comfortable on the ball and was at fault for a lot of things that were wrong with our performances. However, on the rare occassion he was put in the middle, he tended to shine, and really show why we shelled out for him. Last home game against Chelsea being a great example, him and Shelvey dove tailed brilliantly in the centre, and young Jordon showed what he is really capable of. Looking forward to seeing more of the same next season.
Adam wasn’t the most inspired of purchases last summer. Charlie went from being a big fish in a small pond at Blackpool, to a small fish in a big pond here at Liverpool.
With 35 appearances and 2 goals, Adam’s season was cut short by injury. Before we bought him, Adam’s range of passing, set pieces and abilities to pull midfield strings earned him comparisons with other great LFC midfielders of the past. And those abilities had Kenny chasing his signature not just last summer, but the previous January transfer window too.
When he did finally sign, the player we were all expecting, never really turned up. His passing wasn’t as good as it could have been, and his set pieces were more miss than hit. It’s not that he was bad, just average. Although we did miss his gut and guile in the middle of the park after his injury. He was good at winning balls and that’s something we’ve missed in recent weeks.
Brought in from Aston Villa with a £20 million price tag, Downing’s signing was treated with mixed reaction. Whether playing in the left or right wing, he has managed a total of 46 games, with 2 goals. Like Enrique an almost ever present in the side, although both goals came in the FA Cup run, his first in the 3rd round tie against Oldham, and the other being the winner in the 2-1 quarter final win over Stoke.
Downing also earned the man of the match accolade in our Carling Cup win back in February. Overall, while he has drawn the attention and even wrath of some fans, he has been fairly vilified I think, and is set up nicely for a better second season.
Bellamy came back on a free transfer for a second spell at his boyhood club, adding an extra 37 games and 9 goals to the 42 and 9 from his first time here.
We’ve had to use him more as a sub than a starter because of his knee problem, but whether he’s started a game from scratch or off the bench, he’s always given 110%, and his contribution has been immense. He even scored the winning goal against his former employers, that got us our first trip to Wembley in the Carling Cup semi final.
To sum up; Bellamy has been the one real overall success of last summer’s seven signings (although Coates and Enrique were not far off), showing that experience over youth, is sometimes a better option. Especially when its a free transfer.
The fees we paid for Downing and Henderson especially, definitely make it look like we paid over the odds, although we got value for money from the others.
Not the best summer of transfers, but certainly not the worst. Let’s hope for a better second season from them.
We’ll be continuing our review of the season every day this week on This Is Anfield.