Liverpool FC fans turn their anger on owners FSG after disappointing end to transfer window.
By Kevin Morley.
They say you get what you pay for. This is often proven to be as true in football as it is life in general. It therefore follows that, if you pay nothing, you get nothing. That was exactly what Liverpool football club got on transfer deadline day - absolutely nothing. It was, in fact, far worse than that as three first team players were allowed to leave with no replacements coming in.
At the very least, and it was the very least, the Liverpool fans expected Clint Dempsey to be arriving at Anfield before the night was out. The player had said he wanted to go to Liverpool, Chairman Tom Werner said he wanted him back in May, confirming "...any team would be lucky to have Clint Dempsey...", and Brendan Rodgers confirmed we had enquired about his situation weeks ago. Yet, here we are on September 1st and, Clint Dempsey has signed for Tottenham for the huge sum of £6m - no, there is not a zero missing, Clint Dempsey went for £6m, a sum Liverpool could not, or would not, match.
Liverpool, it is reported, were willing to offer Fulham no more than £4m for Dempsey. That fiscal prudence has left the club with only two recognised strikers (Luis Suarez and Fabio Borini) and fans angry at the lack of investment being made by the owners following the departure of Andy Carroll on loan to West Ham earlier this week. Internet forums have crashed, with angry contributors bombarding them, and fans have been found comparing the current owners to the ones they replaced - a situation everyone needs to avoid.
Liverpool fans are far from uneducated and they, more than anyone, recognised the need to prune a squad that included a significant number of none first team regulars earning between £50k and £90k per week. The fans also recognise that Liverpool Football Club are not in the position to spend £20m plus on a single player. But, given the club's failure to score enough goals last season, no Liverpool fan would have imagined that the club would not be able to stump up £6m for a proven Premier League goal scorer who seemed desperate to join the reds.
It has been suggested Liverpool offered £4m for Dempsey, £2m short of the offer made by Tottenham. If Liverpool are really short of £2m to potentially save their season then there are a lot of serious questions fans will be asking over the coming months and the owners need to be prepared for a lot of frustration coming their way.
The whole issue might not appear so bad if Andy Carroll had not been sent out on loan. Liverpool fans remain loyal to Carroll, with many believing that he would have come good if given the chance. The football brain in those fans also told them that Carroll did not fit the style of play the new manager is implementing and they were, like the manager, prepared to see Carroll leave if adequate replacements were brought in.
The replacements suggested were more akin to the kind of flexible forward players Brendan Rodgers is looking for. Theo Walcott had been discussed, Daniel Sturridge was heavily backed and Clint Dempsey was a 'dead cert'. Why no signings actually happened before the 11pm deadline, and why Managing Director Ian Ayre left the club with two hours left of the transfer window, will remain club business, and a mystery to the fans. The fact that Liverpool will now have to get to January without an acknowledged forward on the bench requires an answer though.
This is a squad who could only manage to finish eighth in the Premier League last season. It is a club who hit the woodwork more times than any other and a side who conceded only 40 goals all season. Over the last eight weeks Liverpool has seen Dirk Kuyt, Maxi Rodriguez, Craig Bellamy and Andy Carroll walk out the Shankly gates for pastures new. Between them these players contributed 29 goals last season. These have been replaced with Joe Allen, Nuri Sahin (on loan only), Oussama Assaidi and Samed Yesil (the last two not expected to be first team regulars). In the league, Clint Dempsey was joint fourth top goal scorer last year, something he may well repeat for rivals Tottenham this time around.
In total there have been seven first team departures and only four arrivals at Anfield. Fans are rightly skeptical about whether the owners motives are to improve the squad or just to drive the wage bill down. The suggestion is that Liverpool have just wiped a gigantic £450k per week off their wage bill - good business sense, as long as the team can still compete. Although, it is unlikely season ticket prices will be reduced as a result of this cost saving.
The other complication in this whole saga is the public desire of Brendan Rodgers to add quality to the squad. On Thursday, after a performance against Hearts in the Europa League that even the most ardent supporter would describe as mediocre, the Liverpool manager confirmed the need to bring in players to 'help the group'. This players have not arrived and it is being suggested by some that Brendan Rodgers was misled when he agreed to let Andy Carroll go out on loan - something he had been appeared to be against in previous press conferences.
The pressure on new signing Borini and Luis Suarez is now huge. Should either of these players suffer an injury that keeps them out for any length of time Liverpool could find themselves falling well behind the top six in the league. If this becomes a reality, the evidence of today is that the fans will look to the owners as the culprits in all of this. After all, the holy trinity at Anfield is fans, manager, players - owners are a necessary evil in the minds of most.