By Kevin Koczwara
In Part 1, I looked over Chelsea’s move for Fernando Torres, this is my look at Liverpool’s side of the deal. If you missed Part 1, click here.
What did Liverpool get with the sale of Fernando Torres? Well, it got $80 million to spend on Andy Carroll from Newcastle and to help pay off the fee for Luis Suarez from Ajax. The Reds got a two-for-one deal in a way, and they got some younger players at that.
Torres is 26-years-old and entering the pinnacle of his career, while Suarez is 24 and just emerging into the full-blown player he can be and Carroll is still 22 and beginning to understand how good he can be. If everything pans out with Suarez and Carroll and they become top-level players, then Liverpool swindled their rivals from London.
But, the bigger problem with the forced move was the lack of interest from Torres in the club itself. Liverpool fans and players tend to pride themselves on the theory that “no one is bigger than the club”, and they’re right. Players come and go, managers and fans too, but the club stays and continues on. The club is the ultimate and the players are only pieces. The goal of the manager and the management is to fit the right pieces together and make the best team as possible, making the best club as possible. Kenny Dalglish is trying to do just that.
Dalglish has been stressing the “Liverpool way” since he started managing the side again after Roy Hodgson lost to Wolverhampton at Anfield on December 10. That way, the Liverpool Way, has been on display since the Scot took over as manager and brought the club back to life, performing a miraculous CPR routine.
With the quick purchase of Carroll to replace Torres and supplement the attacking capabilities of Suarez, Liverpool and its owner Fenway Sports Group, avoided any backlash and should be avoiding a dip in form. Carroll bring another element to the Liverpool attack. He is big, strong, really big, has a ponytail and a mean streak in him. If Dalglish can perform another miracle, like the one he did with Torres after he took over, with Carroll and turn him into the all-around player everyone in England is waiting for, there may be no stopping Liverpool in the future.
This is a big if of course. Carroll has his drinking and partying problems, but what multi-millionaire doesn’t when they are 22 and making huge sums of money? Carroll isn’t yet polished, but he has shown that he can get the job done. Should he be the most expensive English player of all-time? Probably not, but now he is, and he and Liverpool have to deal with it.
Carroll has a lot of pressure on his shoulders coming into Anfield. The price paid for his services will weigh on his shoulders. He has to prove right away that it was worth it or he may end up like Robbie Keane when he moved to the Merseyside, struggling under the weight of expectations and eventually meeting the exit sooner rather than later. Carroll takes over the No. 9 jersey from fleeting legend who bailed on the club he loved so much that he tattooed it’s most famous saying on his body, “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and the pressure to put out the same kind of output will be there, but the England international just needs to keep growing and keep contributing, the Anfield faithful will take to anyone who works hard and never quits.
What may be missed the most at Anfield is the fact that Liverpool were able to pay the demanded fee from Ajax for Suarez and still recoup the money with the sales of Torres and Babel (to Hoffenheim of the Bundesliga) this transfer window. Suarez will add a touch of skill and hard work to an aging Liverpool side in desperate need of youth and class. The Uruguayan is a proven goalscorer – 49 goals in all competitions for Ajax last year, 35 league goals – and his ability to play anywhere in the attack makes him an indispensable player come game day, the type of player Liverpool has been short of in recent seasons.
Chelsea could end up making a run for the EPL title this year or winning it next season with Torres leading the charge, but its aging side and ambition could be faltered by the big spending of its owner while Liverpool keep making ambitious, yet smart moves with money it has and an outlook on the future and titles down the road. It could all be bad news for both sides if none of the players pan out the way people expect, but Liverpool has the better odds, 2-1 outplays 1-1 any day.
Kevin Koczwara can be reached at Kevin.Koczwara@thesoccerguysonline.com.