Liverpool capped an impressive summer transfer window with the acquisition of Mario Balotelli. We take a look at the best and worst summer windows of the past decade.
BEST – 2004
The 2004/05 summer transfer window saw Rafa Benitez usher in two of the club’s most important players in a campaign which saw the Reds bring home their most-prized relic: the Champions League trophy.
For a combined £17 million, Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia joined from Real Sociedad and Barcelona respectively, with a double announcement made towards the end of August.
In his first season in charge of the club, these two signings were a real statement of intent by the Spanish manager; Benitez’s compatriots would bring a measure of culture to a receding club.
— Liverpool FC News (@LivEchoLFC) August 20, 2014
Alonso is one of the best players in Liverpool’s recent history, remains a world-class midfielder in his autumn years, and fostered a formidable partnership with the blooming Steven Gerrard.
Elsewhere, the signing of Djibril Cisse, for a fee of £14.5 million from Auxerre, garnered a more muted impact upon the club; nevertheless, the eccentric Frenchman played a crucial role in the famous victory over AC Milan in Istanbul.
The less said about fellow signings Josemi Rey and Antonio Nunez the better—Alonso and Garcia more than make up for these disappointments.
In terms of outgoings, Benitez had to compensate for the losses of Michael Owen, Danny Murphy, Markus Babbel and Stephane Henchoz—all important players at their peak—but the prove is in the trophy room.
A seminal transfer window in the club’s recent history.
WORST – 2008
The calibre of players brought in during Benitez’s penultimate summer transfer window didn’t quite live up to former acquisitions, with a series of expensive flops ‘gracing’ the Anfield turf.
Full-backs Andrea Dossena and Philipp Degan both joined in the space of two days at the beginning of July, and thus the club’s problematic full-back years began.
Replacing, ostensibly, two of the finest full-backs Liverpool fans have enjoyed in the past decade, the European pair were tasked with the near-impossible.
John Arne Riise and Steve Finnan—although both at the end of their peak years—became cornerstones of the phenomenal success achieved by Benitez at the club; between them, Riise and Finnan amassed 565 appearances for the Merseyside club.
Dossena did provide the Reds with some memorable moments, scoring in consecutive victories over Manchester United and Real Madrid, the former an impudent lob over a helpless Edwin Van der Sar.
Neither, however, can be considered a success.
Furthermore, the acquisitions of strikers David N’Gog (£1.5 million) and Robbie Keane (16 million) failed to provide the requisite firepower needed to bolster the Liverpool attacking ranks.
Irish legend Keane was a particular disappointment, scoring seven goals in 28 games before moving to Spurs at a loss of £3 million just six months later.
BEST – 2014
With the unfortunate departure of Luis Suarez this summer, and needing to capitalise on an unexpected Premier League success last season, this transfer window was central to Brendan Rodgers’ development of the club.
Replacing Suarez in terms of goal scoring are the £20 million duo Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli—the latter in particular a mouth-watering, box-office acquisition and a true bargain.
The aforementioned full-back dilemma spanned six seasons on Merseyside, but this summer Rodgers has brought in two wide defenders capable of filling this gaping void in Alberto Moreno and Javier Manquillo.
Both leaders, the Reds will need the influence of the pair this season.
Elsewhere, the signings of Lazar Markovic, Emre Can and Divock Origi, at a combined £40 million, are impressive additions capable of becoming key players for Liverpool both for the present and, most importantly, for the future.
Finally, sanctioning the sales of high-wage peripheral figures Pepe Reina and Daniel Agger, as well as stagnating youngster Conor Coady, Martin Kelly and Jack Robinson, underlines the ruthless but pragmatic vision of the current Liverpool manager.
A hugely promising window, for now and for the future.
WORST – 2010
The single worst summer transfer window of the last decade for Liverpool came during the miserable reign of the Nosferatu of Merseyside, Roy Hodgson, in 2010.
Overshadowing the promising early signing of young midfielder Jonjo Shelvey from Charlton Athletic, attacking midfielders Milan Jovanovic and Joe Cole were brought in on free transfers, bookending the signing of another youngster, £2 million man Danny Wilson, in July.
ON THIS TRANSFER DAY: In 2010, Liverpool signed Joe Cole on a free transfer following his release from Chelsea. pic.twitter.com/rbcjDMe5aC
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 21, 2014
Alongside hefty signing-on fees—belying the term ‘free transfer’—Jovanovic and Cole were reportedly earning £120,000 and £100,000 a week at the club respectively; with 60 appearances and 7 goals between them, the pair were an unassailable failure.
Disappointing Danish midfielder Christian Poulsen joined for £4.5 million towards the beginning of August, whilst Australian goalkeeper Brad Jones made the switch from Middlesborough later in the month.
Loyal servant of the club, Jones remains the only spectre of this dismal transfer window still at the club, and is far from the quality required even as second choice.
Finally, the transfer residual nadir for the club throughout the last decade in terms of transfers can be found in the gleaming scalp of Paul Konchesky.
The most deplorable signing of the past 10 years, Hodgson shelled out £3.5 million, plus Lauri Dalla Valle, plus Alex Kacaniklic for the former West Ham defender.
Leaving in acrimonious, “scouse scum” circumstances, Konchesky left behind a legacy of despondency.
To compound this disappointing, this transfer window saw Liverpool lose their only, genuine world-class talent at the time in Javier Mascherano.
The tough-tackling Argentine signalled a disappointing end to a successful jaunt on Merseyside with a £17 million move to Barcelona.
Liverpool lost one world-beater, and gained seven profound failures.
What do you consider the best and worst summer transfer windows for Liverpool over the last decade Let us know in the comments below.