October 7, 2012 by Editor
January 2011. What a month for Liverpool FC.
Just three months earlier FSG had rescued us from Hicks & Gillett, and we had just entered a much anticipated transfer window. Entering January, LFC were twelfth in the league, the football was dire, we had one away win in ten games, and Roy Hodgson was sacked. With new owners, a legend back in temporary charge, and a Director of Football making all of the right noises, we expected an influx of investment and new players. Everyone had a fresh sense of optimism.
For a number of reasons, for two years Liverpool had been reliant on just two strikers, since Robbie Keane left in January 2009. We had relied on a sometimes unfit Fernando Torres and a young, raw, often poor David Ngog. The rumour mill was in full swing, with Carlton Cole (why did we sack Roy Hodgson again?) and Luis Suarez the main names in the frame.
That’s right. In January 2011, Liverpool had just two strikers, lacking options after failing to replace a high profile signing who had recently moved on.
For the first four weeks of January 2011 though, there were no signings. However, the Suarez deal was close to being sealed, meaning finally Fernando Torres was going to play with a world class strike partner. Brilliant, and about time.
Then, the unthinkable happened. Liverpool’s second best player, after 65 goals in just over 100 games, the one who could make us bounce in a minute, put in a transfer request.
His armband was a lie.
LFC rejected it. Good, I thought. After selling players like Mascherano and Alonso in the previous two summers, the days of selling our best players were over now. However, like at most clubs, player power won the day, and Torres got his way. From legend to ladyboy in 50 million blinks of an eye.
The new Director of Football turned on the laptop, uploaded his Excel soccer stats spreadsheet and searched for a new number 9. He downloaded Andy Carroll, a player with undoubted potential but very different to Torres.
FSG confirmed later that LFC had a strange new strategy for this particular transfer. The deals would go ahead as long as Chelsea paid £15m more for Torres than Newcastle accepted for Carroll. Newcastle didn’t want to sell, Carroll didn’t want to leave, but money talks. Newcastle put Carroll’s price up and up, reaching a ridiculous £35m, so LFC put Torres price up and up to £50m, and a bored, rich Russian called Roman funded the lot. Throw in the sale of Ryan Babel, and Carroll and Suarez arrived with the reds spending next to nothing.
Despite signing two new forwards, the following season it was clear to everyone that Liverpool still lacked a natural goalscorer. Chances galore were made and missed, the Anfield woodwork was battered and countless points were dropped. Amazingly, the January 2012 spreadsheet didn’t find a new goal scorer either– which was even more frustrating when teams like Everton and Newcastle did.
Soon after, another Liverpool manager lost his job, and the Director of Football packed up his USB stick and pressed the escape key. In the meantime, Fernando Torres had played under 3 different managers, picked up two winners medals, but only by spending more time on the bench than John Terry’s lawyer.
In another twist, Liverpool’s new number nine has now moved on, following another new LFC manager arriving. Kuyt and Bellamy, alternatives who could play upfront, also left, with just Fabio Borini coming in. The transfer deadline day anticipation went into overdrive again, about who would be next to lead the LFC line. We are still waiting for the answer, as Carroll’s replacement didn’t arrive.
So, for the fourth January transfer window running, since Robbie Keane left in 2009 without being replaced, Liverpool will enter the mid-season market desperate for another striker. Just like in January 2011.
Check the match programme, back page, squad list. Number 9 is empty.
LFC need to get this one right and quickly. Searching and buying potential is fine for the future, but not for now. We need someone with a proven record of scoring goals at home and abroad, comfortable playing up front on his own as we play 4-3-3, with experience in the Premier League that can go straight in to the team.
Not asking for much, eh? I can think of one, without the need for Microsoft Excel.
Chelski’s number nine. Despite a decent start to the season he has still not matched the consistent heights of his time at Anfield for the rent boys. Whenever I watch him though, I still see glimpses of the touch and movement that time and again made Nemanja Vidic reach for the Imodium.
I can imagine the doubters reading this. He’s not the same player. He’s lost some pace. He shit on us by walking out when he did. They say never go back, because it doesn’t work. Ian Rush. Robbie Fowler. Craig Bellamy. No one complained when they returned.
I don’t care why Torres left, all I know is we have not replaced him since he did, and we would be a better side with him in it. I’d have him back in two flicks of a Yanks cheque book.
With Drogba gone, I suppose it’s unlikely Chelsea would let Torres leave. In January 2011 though, Liverpool hardly held the door open for Torres to walk out either. Player power made it happen. Despite the medals and the plastic flags, not even Torres would argue it has been a good move.
Liverpool cut their losses with Andy Carroll, why won’t Chelsea?
They’ve done it before with Istanbul legend Andrei Shevchenko, why not again?
Torres has had his head turned once, so why not ask the question?
Lets turn the ladyboy back into a legend.
Come on Brendan, give Roman a call.
Written by Simon Ward, you can find him on Twitter @SiWard316