Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Liverpool's summer signings

Four of Liverpool summer signings picture with Kenny Dalglish

With Liverpool's awful current league form, the summer signings made by the club have come under a lot of scrutiny. In all Liverpool made six signings in the summer but I'm only going to look at the three under a huge amount of pressure at the moment.

Those three being Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing. I'm actually in the rare group of Liverpool fans who thinks they're all decent signings despite a poor run of results. Their combined price tag is £40 million before add ons. Yes, Liverpool paid over the odds but the players aren't responsible for their price tag, it really gets to me when fans use it against them. If a player is having a shocking run of games, it's ok if they cost £5 million but if they cost £20 million it's not? A poor game is a poor game no matter what their price is.

Kenny Dalglish has made an obvious attempt to buy British players if not English. In an attempt to bring back the glory days to Anfield, Kenny took up this policy as looking back through the great Liverpool teams of the past there has been a real British element.

Charlie Adam looked like a deal that might have been done in January but it didn't go through for whatever reason. I wasn't sure if we'd go back in for him but seemed like a decent deal when we did. At the time of signing I'm certain he wasn't meant to be the regular he became. For me the midfield of this season was meant to include Gerrard, Lucas and Meireles with Adam and Henderson to be used more as squad players to get bedded in.

Obviously a lot has changed since then and they've been relied on a lot more than originally hoped. Even so, Charlie Adam's start to his Liverpool career was impressive. He seemed to revel in the role he was playing alongside Lucas but his dip in form coincided with Lucas' injury. He comes in for a lot of criticism for not being creative enough, two facts that disprove this theory completely. He has the most assists out of anyone in the Liverpool side (6) and has created two chances less the Stewart Downing (47).

Saying all that, he has been shocking since the turn of the year and is currently out with an injury but from an outsider looking in, I fear that he's had stage fright. He seems to sometimes be in awe of Steven Gerrard when the two are playing together, which he will quickly have to change.

Jordan Henderson was Liverpool's first summer signing and he was signed early on in the transfer window, which shows he was high on our target list. I'm certain he was never meant to have such a big role in the side this season but for one reason or another he has played almost every game. The problem some of the less thinking fans have is that he doesn't score too many goals or get too many assists, this may make him sound average but he brings a lot more to the side.

It's easy to forget that he's only 21 and this is a massive step up for him. He's only one year older than 'young' Jonjo Shelvey. He's been overawed by Anfield and the Kop this season but this was surely inevitable when a young player has made such a big step up in class. He will be a great player in the future but we have to give him one season to feel his way in to his Liverpool career.

To show that his hard work goes unnoticed, he's got a 83% passing success and a 84% tackle success which isn't bad by anyone's means.

Another problem that Henderson has had this season, is constantly playing out of position. He's a player who's natural position is in the middle where he is very good but he's been shifted out wide right where if I'm honest he's very average. If he can get a run of games in the middle with Steven Gerrard then I don't see how he can't improve, Steven Gerrard just demands class.

The last signing I'm going to look at is in my opinion the most disappointing one. Stewart Downing, 27, has been very disappointing for me. He's an England international and played many seasons at a high level in the premier league, he knows what it's about. This is why the fact he's directly contributed nothing in the league has come at a shock to me. I do feel though that he's been very unlucky to have that stat to count against him as I've seen several sitters missed off his crosses and has been one of the few to be hit by the woodwork curse.

He's got a unfortunate record that he's the player to create the most chances in Europe without making one assist (49). In the recent weeks though he seems to have improved which has been a good sign, it took me a while to realise that he's a confidence player but it appears obvious now. He needs to be playing games to play well he's not one who can come in and out of the side and play well.

There is good reason to have hope and belief that these signings will come through and repay the faith we have shown in them and ease the pressure on Kenny Dalglish.

You can follow me on twitter; @AnfieldReds_

nb all stats used are based on premier league games only.

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