Liverpool: We Won The Transfer Window (& We'll Win The League Too)
So the transfer window has ‘slammed’ shut and Manchester United are the winners. Well, apart from the guy with the sex toy at Finch Farm but, strangely, he isn’t making the highlights of the day. United are the winners. United, with all their left backs and all their attacking midfielders have won. They’ve won because they got Falcao. Because they paid however many million you believe to borrow a player on 400k a week who’s been injured for 6 months. And because they signed the admittedly wonderful Di Maria.
Sorry lads, you’ve not won. You’re not going to win. We win. We win because we revamped an entire squad. You’re still missing a midfield. You’re still stuck with a coach who wants to play three at the back with the three worst central defenders on the planet. We win. You’ve written us off but we win. Just like Saturday.
Spurs were supposed to be the challenge. Spurs were supposed to be the in-form team. Free scoring, non conceding, everybody from last season finally settled under a proper manager at last. Liverpool? Liverpool were slipping. Battling for the top four at best. Never mind the fact that we only came second by two points to City last season, we were in trouble. No Suarez so no goals. No Suarez so too predictable. The reverse at City proved that. Never mind that we out-played them for the first forty minutes. Last season was a blip.
We dismantled Spurs and we did it casually. We controlled them. We were imperious. We were a real Liverpool, a new Liverpool, the Liverpool of last season with added control, added arrogance, added swagger. And this added swagger all came from the wisdom of our transfer policy. Came from the way we’ve given ourselves alternatives both in personnel and tactics.
United are signing left backs like they’re going out of fashion, signing an (according to his manager) unfit Luke Shaw for £27m and Dailey Blind for £14m. £40m for two left backs while we’ve signed the best in the league for £12m. Forget the mistakes in his first game, did you see him? Did you see him dispossess Andros Townsend, run the length of the pitch and kill Spurs last slim hope? Did you notice that he’d fought like that all afternoon? The lad’s brilliant.
And his new mate on the other side? Manquillo? Solid, reliable, constant. A new Arbeloa (and nobody realised how great he was until he went back to Spain). Between the two, Lovren is settling as you’d expect from a £20m central defender (Central defender, United fans? It’s the guy that stops the other team scoring, think about getting one at some point, they’re useful) For 45 minutes he mopped up everybody else’s mistakes - mostly Sakho’s given the French defender’s slightly wayward distribution. And when he made his own mistake? Mopped that up as well.
The midfield three had balance and cohesion; had the fight of Henderson which seems to have become the fight of the new version of Joe Allen - yes, Allen went down easily for the penalty that Gerrard converted but the simple answer is ‘Dier, don’t put your hand up in the box, lad’ - battling, surging, dropping back, everywhere. Everywhere like Jordan Henderson. Henderson who isn’t just battle and tenacity now - look at that ball for Sterling to score the first, it’s perfect. Absolutely perfect. And it comes from our passing, our possession, the fact that we bossed every inch of the field.
It comes from the fluidity of our movement, the fact that we are beyond systems now, the fact that we changed formation as we felt necessary, the fact that you don’t know where our players are anymore.
And the players that benefit most from this? The players you’re least likely to be able to keep track of? Balotelli, Sturridge and Sterling.
Mario, you want to know about Mario don’t you? On another day he has a hat-trick. The fact that he didn’t on Sunday doesn’t matter; he worked. We have a Balotelli that works, that puts in a shift, that battles for his team mates. We’re giving the Premiership a new Balotelli, you can thank us in May when we have title 19 in our hands.
Sturridge was Sturridge. Under-rated, under-valued, the centre of everything that happens up front and the man that allows Raheem Sterling to put in another unbelievable, electrifying, awe-filled Man of the Match performance.
The argument that we would miss Suarez was a valid one. He gave us something else on the pitch; an unpredictability, a sense of chaos. Mario may not give us the same thing but he gives us enough to come close, to be another body for the opposition to worry about, to be an alternative.
We now have so many alternatives that we can make three substitutions at the home of a team that thought we were rivals when 3-0 up and outclassing them and bring on Markovic and Can for experience while giving Coutinho and Lambert a nice rest. Adam Lallana hasn’t even made the bench yet.
All this because we’ve bought well, because we’ve bought everywhere, because we’ve strengthened the entire squad in every possession. All this and we’ve only really spent £33m. We’re not going to miss Luis, he’s rebuilt the squad for us and we’ll thank him for that when we pick up the title in May; when Costa has done his hamstring yet again and Chelsea have stopped scoring and City haven’t strengthened and have, bizarrely, let Negredo go and United realise that defenders and midfielders are useful. We’ve won the transfer window and we’ll keep on winning.
We’re going to win the league, you know...