London – In keeping with the start they have made to the new season, Liverpool were quickest to deliver a statement on transfer deadline day.
Liverpool wrapped up permanent deals for £18million France defender Mamadou Sakho, Sporting Lisbon’s £7m Tiago Ilori and also concluded a season-long loan move for Chelsea winger Victor Moses.
The triple move, which added to the feel-good factor in the city following Sunday’s 1-0 win over Manchester United, took Liverpool’s spending for the window to £44.8million.
Brendan Rodgers has significantly reshaped his squad, bringing in eight players this summer.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing. He wanted to bring in a marquee name and was left bitterly disappointed when Henrikh Mkhitaryan chose to join Borussia Dortmund. There was also no disguising his frustration when Liverpool failed to complete a deal for Willian.
He was in a much better frame of mind last night, though, and was able to attend a gala dinner to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Bill Shankly’s birth, having completed his business early. The situation contrasted with 12 months ago, when deadline day ended in farce for Liverpool.
Back then, they failed to add any new faces and went into the international break having collected just one point from the first nine available. This time, they lead the way, having made their best start since 1994-95 with three consecutive victories.
“I’m very pleased,” said Rodgers. “The window this summer has been very productive for us. Sakho was probably a surprise for many people because he was highly rated at PSG and a French international player.
“I think it’s a massive coup. He is a player PSG were not wanting to lose, but he’d made it known he wasn’t going to sign another contract and it’s something that our people at the club were very much on top of. It’s credit to them we were able to attract someone with that calibre.
“We’re trying to build something here. We’ve certainly got more competition and as a manager you always want more, but we’re more than happy. We’ve added freshness to the group.”
Rodgers added: “Victor can play anywhere across that front line, but his best position is on the left cutting in on to his right foot. That may allow Philippe Coutinho more opportunities to play as third man and be the connection between our midfield and front players.”
Retaining Luis Suarez was also a prime objective for this window – there was no contact from Real Madrid on Monday, regardless of suggestions the Spanish giants were planning a last-gasp bid – and Rodgers says he will be looking to strengthen again in January.
“We have all of our players and we’ve done great business over the course of the summer,” said Rodgers. “We will run with that until January and see where we are then. I’m sure we’ll look to strengthen again and finish off the second part of the season like we did last season.”
There is certainly buoyancy at Melwood and Brazil midfielder Lucas, who was excellent in the victory over United, believes the positive window can give Liverpool’s quest to qualify for the Champions League momentum.
“The squad is getting stronger and the team spirit is there, we just have to keep doing what we have been doing,” said Lucas. “It’s always positive when you have a good transfer window. When you let a lot of players go like we have done, it’s important to replace them.
“The manager and the people in charge have done that. It’s a special time right now for any player coming in here.” – Daily Mail