Window pain: Dempsey debacle was a big blow for Brendan

BRENDAN RODGERS couldn’t have made it any clearer.

He wanted, expected, and probably demanded that there be additions to Liverpool’s squad on transfer deadline day.

Namely, he wanted goalscorers:

“I’ve been given as much confidence as I can possibly get that we will have someone to come in,” Rodgers said last week.

“I’ve said all along that I have Luis Suarez and Fabio Borini as front line strikers, and the young lads like Adam Morgan are getting experience, but between now and January I need more than that.

“Hopefully on Friday we can do some work and get something complete because we certainly need it. I am hoping for one or two. We need one, that’s for sure.”

He got minus one. No-one in and Andy Carroll loaned out, lessening the options up front further, supposedly to help pave the way for the incoming player(s).

Top target Clint Dempsey, who was desperate to join the club, was passed over for the sake of £1m or so.

For all the talk of plans, and strategies and approaches, it made no sense. No sense whatsoever. The squad is weaker, the manager is pissed off, the fans are unhappy and the fingers are being pointed at the boardroom (and Boston) again.

PR-wise, too, it’s a disaster.

Dempsey isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and, at 29, he doesn’t fit the Moneyball/Soccernomics/Whateveritscallednow model.

But football-wise, and reputation-wise, the deal made a lot of sense. Ultimately, the manager wanted him. That should have been good enough. It wasn’t a massive ask – it’s not like he was calling for the signature of Radamel Falcao…

“There’s no doubt we need to add goals to the team,” said Rodgers. “Getting people who are recognised goalscorers to come in is the number one objective.”

Dempsey scored 23 in 45 appearances last season. Hardworking and flexible positionally, the American offered a great sticking plaster solution for a squad short on numbers and for ‘just’ £6m – a million over the fee raised from Adam’s sale to Stoke and the loan fee West Ham have coughed up for Carroll.

Instead, the club’s administration has been made to look amateur. Again.

It’s not just about Dempsey – it’s more than that. Why did the club wait to so late in the window to try to strike deals? Why wasn’t there a back-up plan?

Not only did Liverpool miss out on a player the manager clearly wanted, he’s ended up at a direct rival in Spurs. That’s the second time since Rodgers arrived that he’s been gazumped for a target by the Londoners when the Reds appeared to be firmly in the driving seat.

Many say that Gylfi Sigurðsson, too, should have been a Liverpool player.

So what does this say about the club and its standing?

Club chairman Tom Werner said in April: “I would say we certainly have the resources to compete with anybody in football.”

And a club statement at Rodgers’ unveiling read: “The owners are always willing to provide funds where necessary to strengthen the squad. There will be no requirement to sell players this summer in order to fund new purchases.”

It would appear that’s not the case, Tom.

There’s conflicting accounts doing the rounds of what exactly happened on Friday. It seems someone somewhere is suggesting that Fulham tried to screw Liverpool over, asking for more cash then they’d accepted from Aston Villa.

Elsewhere, reputable sources suggest the exact opposite – that Liverpool in fact tried to undercut that offer knowing the player wanted to come to the club and never offered the asking price.

It could be argued that Fulham had every right to be pissed off and demand a premium, even if the alternative view is correct.

The article on the NESN site about Dempsey was cringeworthy and sparked the rolling of a dirty snowball that led to the manager confirming his interest which was then reported on the official LFC site. That prompted Fulham to put in an official complaint to the Premier League, accusing Liverpool of tapping up the player.

If the boot was on the other foot…well you’d be pissed off, wouldn’t you?

But back to the key point – the manager has been undermined. On the one hand, the club was seemingly happy to sanction a puzzling swap deal for Dempsey involving Jordan Henderson but on the other wouldn’t stump up what in football terms was buttons cash-wise. It makes little sense, and seems to be a classic case of cutting off the nose to spite the face.

So who should the finger be pointed at? Well FSG, or more specifically John Henry and Tom Werner, are undoubtedly pulling the strings from afar, and beyond that, well again the manager said it within the last week: “Ian Ayre, our managing director…has worked tirelessly over the course of this window to manage deals, in and out.”

A bit more successfully with the outs than the ins it seems, Ian. Dirk Kuyt, Craig Bellamy, Alberto Aquilani, Andy Carroll, Maxi Rodriguez, Fabio Aurelio, Charlie Adam, Jay Spearing, and Nathan Eccleston have all moved on in recent times, saving at least £20m a year in wages. If the club had had its way, Stewart Downing, Henderson, Danny Wilson and Dani Pacheco would have gone too.

Strength in depth, anyone? Yes, many of the names above are past their best or were never good enough in the first place, but this isn’t the 70s – the athletic nature of modern football coupled with the cramped fixture list means squad rotation is a necessity.

As it is, Liverpool are approaching four months of football with one senior striker.

The owners have been selling us a vision since they walked through the door: we’re competitive, we’ve got money, we can win stuff – we’ll be back among the elite in no time, stick with it. Many, myself included, have given them the benefit of the doubt. Now? Well, it’s all starting to feel a bit over promise, under deliver.

Judge for yourself…

  • “The owners and supporters of Liverpool have a common goal and that is to see the club play among the best teams in Europe and be the best team in England.”- Tom Werner
  • “It is critical we make the Champions League because there is so much revenue associated with that. We see our competitors not just as Chelsea or Manchester City and Manchester United but we see Barcelona and Real Madrid as teams that are iconic and playing good football. We know our competitors are working hard. We need to work just as hard and be just as smart.” – Tom Werner
  • “When we came in our goal was to be the best team in England, not just the top four, to compete with the best teams in Europe. We believe that Brendan’s philosophy and his tactics will bring us there. We have no set target for when to do that, we’ve always looked for slow and measured improvement and we believe that we will be more successful going forward, not just this year but in the future.” – Tom Werner

Where’s the logic in denying the manager Dempsey? Where’s the logic in actually reducing the options in the area of the pitch that Liverpool struggled so badly last season?

Last season, Liverpool scored just 47 goals in 38 league games. Fourth-placed Spurs scored 66, Arsenal 74, Man United 89 and champions Man City 93, almost double the Reds’ goal haul.

The season before the fourth-placed team was Arsenal (72 goals). In 09-10 it was Spurs (67 goals), 08-09 Arsenal (68 goals) and in 07-08 it was Liverpool (67 goals).

Across five seasons there’s a range of just six goals for fourth spot. It looks pretty nailed on that to qualify for the Champions League you need to score more than 65 goals. To do that, well, guess what, you’ll need a few goalscorers at the club.

In 07-08, Fernando Torres scored 24 Premier League goals while Steven Gerrard managed 11. Peter Crouch and Andriy Voronin weighed in with five, and Yossi Benayoun and Ryan Babel both scored four. All in all, 13 players scored for Liverpool in the league that season.

Last season, Suarez was the top goalscorer in the Premier League with 11. Craig Bellamy got six, Gerrard five, and Andy Carroll and Maxi Rodriguez scored four each. Again, 13 Liverpool players scored in the Premier League but five have now left: Bellamy, Carroll, Rodriguez, Kuyt (2) and Charlie Adam (2).

In the games so far this season, the same old problem has reared its ugly head – Liverpool aren’t clinical enough in front of goal. The side needs more goalscorers and the responsibility needs to be lifted from the shoulders of Suarez.

Adam Morgan and Samed Yesil – two 18-year-olds – will not provide that lift. Borini is only 21 and the jury is out. He should be eased into the side rather than be expected to notch 20-odd goals from the get go.

If Suarez is injured for a long period, Liverpool will be ridiculously short up top, relying on rookies to cut the mustard in a league that takes no prisoners.

In July, when asked about Carroll, Werner said: “Brendan is clearly the leader here. The only thing I can say is we will do what is best for the club.”

On Friday, that promise was broken. None in and one out up front was football negligence.


  1. Good article, im sure Brendan is very angry at what happened, we should have brought Dempsey in as early as possible but it looks like we waited until the last moment to try and save a few million which just doesn’t make any sense. We dont seem to have realised that we’re not the draw we once were, we can’t just assume players will play for us just because we want them, twice players we wanted have gone to Spurs that should be a pretty clear message who we’re competing with at the moment.

    Ian Ayre is clearly doing a job hes not qualified to do, hes a commercial director he shouldnt be negotiating for players.

    The reality is we’re now incredibly short in the striker department which is the one area of the team we needed to strengthen, we’ll have to write off the Europa Cup because we can’t ask key players like Suarez, Gerrard, Agger, Allen to play Thursday / Sunday.

    As a short term solution id suggest Gerrard be considered for only the front 3 positions, despite the injury to Lucas we’re still pretty strong in midfield with 3 from Allen, Sahin, Shelvey and Henderson. Hopefully we can make do and get lucky with injuries until January and then hopefully we can bring in at least 1 forward.

    • Kirk Williams

      Why try to use the Dempsey mess as justification for a “we’re not the draw we were….” point? All the reports seem to agree he wanted to come but we weren’t prepared to pay the asking price. Different issue, different problem.

  2. Another good article.

    There’s being careful with the finances and there being FSG, it seems.

    FSG strike me as the mate of a mate who slows down as you enter a bar so they don’t have to get the round in.

    If its true that they failed to sanction an additional 1 or 2m then it’s quite frankly shocking.

    What makes it even more strange is I would have thought that a U.S player would help us “break” America. Increased revenue from shirt sales, exposure etc. if this is not the aim then why are we doing the Fox “We are Liverpool”?

    If we get injuries we could be buggered.

  3. cudnt agree more, was a total shambles, and gettin sick of the fsg lies

  4. And all for money that could have been made up in shirt sales here in the states. The funny thing is that with Allen, Borini, Sahin, Yesil and Dempsey, this would have gone down as a great transfer window. Missing out on Dempsey when he clearly wanted to come to us is terrible.

    Really disappointed with this.

  5. “Dempsey scored 23 in 45 appearances last season.”

    and 35 goals in the 169 Fulham appearances before that. Also had no preseason and is 29 years old. Would not have been available for the Arsenal game and probably needs a month to get back into match fitness.

    • Kirk Williams

      Been away for last few weeks and hadn’t picked up on that, possibly very relevant to debate/decision re fee we were prepared to pay. But still should have had plan B tied down?

    • Robin Crimes

      It’s a long season as we’ll no doubt find out.

  6. I agreed with the idea of Big Andy out to get more games/goals in a system that suited him and hopefully push up his value for a sale in the future.

    But this whole situation over Dempsey is baffling. It’s an odd time for FSG to draw a line in the sand over 1m looking at their history of spending.

    It’s a long time till January and if we struggle for goals, clubs may well have us over a barrel when we look to buy a striker next window.

  7. Brendan’s overconfidence is troubling. He decided he didn’t want Andy C… Why?… Plan B is what exactly?.. Anyone watch MOTD tonight?… We are rapidly becoming a laughing stock from an ownership and management perspective.. It’s early Sun morning and the mood(my mood)hasn’t lightened!!.. Dark days ahead…

  8. The offer of cash + Henderson was baffling and seemed to suggest that someone(s) at the club value Jordan Henderson as only a £1m player, at the least.

    The whole situation leaves me (and I am sure I am not alone) with this: a feeling of great anxiety which will strengthen every time I sit down to watch a Liverpool match, expecting an injury.

  9. Steve Jensen

    …”Well FSG, or more specifcally John Henry and Tom Werner, are undoubtedly pulling the strings from afar …”

    This is an easy assumption. One that most LFC fans are understandably making. And, it may be true. But, I believe the best evidence indicates that it is probably NOT true. I believe that it’s quite likely that the sole culprit for yesterday’s fiasco is in fact Ian Ayre.

    So, what’s the evidence? It’s how FSG has run the Boston Red Sox, their American baseball club. FSG has publicly stated that they take a “hands-off” approach to the day-to-day management of the Red Sox, after doing their best to find the best people to run the club. However, we don’t have to take FSG’s word for it.

    Two of the most senior former Red Sox bosses — former manager Terry Francona and former general manager (the rough equivalent of the Damien Comolli position) Theo Epstein — have both been fired by FSG. Since then, despite having a potential ax to grind with FSG, both Francona and Epstein have told the media that FSG let them do their jobs without interference. The manager reports that he could employ any strategies he wanted for the games. The general manager reports that he could go after any players he wanted in trades (the American version of the transfer market), and FSG would often bend the budget to accommodate him. And, FSG accumulated what was one of the heftiest payrolls in all of baseball in the process.
    Now, the Scouse cynicism toward American owners has been hard-earned. And that cynicism could easily point to the conclusion that, perhaps, FSG cares less about Liverpool Football Club than it does the Boston Red Sox. Again, that would be an understandable concern. And, again, I think the evidence is to the contrary.
    Perhaps I’m wrong. But I don’t think I am.
    Finally, ask yourself this: if, as is rumoured, FSG soon fire Ian Ayre, where’s the profit in doing so if Ayre merely faithfully executing FSG’s plan? Are we really so cynical to believe that FSG will sacrifice a valued senior executive at the club in order to cover up the ownership’s true intentions?
    The inclination to believe that FSG is largely responsible for yesterday’s debacle is natural. I don’t blame you.
    But I believe the evidence shows the contrary.

    • Theo wasn’t fired. He left for a more senior role in Chicago and the Sox got compensation for him. FSG does seem to be relatively hands-off with the day-to-day mgt but are involved in signing off major deals, setting budgets etc. The Red Sox have just done a major house cleaning, offloading some high-priced recent signings that weren’t working. Now saying they’ll go for a lower risk approach based less on big contracts for players who are approaching 30. Might have had an influence with Dempsey, even if he did use to play for the Revs.

      One other parallel. LFC needs goals like the the Red Sox needs good pitching. FSG has work to do on both sides of the pond!

  10. Don’t think all is doom and gloom. Barca have only had Pique and Puyol as ‘defenders’ for a few years now but you don’t see the blame game in full effect there, do you? We are light in a position, we tried to sign a player/players in that position but it didn’t work out for reasons completely unknown to you or any other fans. Deadline day is renowned as an agent’s wet dream, most clubs signing on deadline day are usually paying over the odds somewhere or making huge losses somewhere. Who’s to say Dempsey didn’t want daft wages/sign on? If you’re a club looking to succeed under FFP, is it worth throwing budgets and money out of the window in an act of desperation? Maybe to you it is, Gareth, but you’re not the one put in charge of running a football club. Sometimes things don’t materialise, but we’ve been paying the cost of this desperate approach to stop-gaps for years. Whether it was Aurelio and Joe Cole or Voronin and Jovanovic, this type of signing has been putting the club back for years.

    • Dempsey was desperate to come to the club, so I very much doubt he priced himself out of a move wages wise and we’re talking 6m quid for a versatile player. That shouldn’t break the bank after what was shifted off the balance sheet.

      • But that’s just your impression, Gareth, you seem a decent bloke but how ‘informed’ you are I’m unsure. What if, just as an example, Dempsey wanted £80k a week, whilst our budgets only had £40k a week available for a squad player? Do you then double what you have left because you’re desperate, or do you ride out the bad times and hope to get it right in January? On paper it’s just a couple of million to us fans, but it’s still a business and if budgets have been put in place, then tough. I work for one of the biggest companies in the world, sometimes I may have to plead for £50 worth of overtime to fill a gap for my department. I’ll get told no because there’s no money in the budget. I’m left bemused as to how a multi-billion pound company can’t afford £50, but budgets are budgets and it’s about time our club started to stick to them.

        We don’t actually know why the deal wasn’t done, everybody is speculating why (the most common theme is we wouldn’t meet Fulham’s valuation) but we have little, it seems, in terms of facts. A lot of people are chucking out heavy criticism when a lot of it is unfair. I’m neither angry nor delighted with FSG, but I’m willing to give them time to erase the errors of their (and many other people’s) past.

  11. I’m sick of moneyball, soccernomics, FFP, baseball analogies, running Liverpool like the red sox and FSG as the “saviours of Liverpool football club”

  12. 1) i think henry/werner really wanted dempsey but ayre fucked up.

    2) drogba is on a free. it would make sense now, wouldnt it?

    • I second the Drogba call, if he’s available. Buying Torres meant Chelsea underplayed Didier. He has plenty of top-level game left in him.

      • Drogba? On £200,000 a week? wakey, wakey…

        • Obviously if he was available it would mean he’d been burnt by Shanghai and may be available for cheaper than that. Most clubs would have enough strikers to not take the risk on him too and we might be able to get him for just 6 or 12 months. It’s hard to imagine Owen being worth any more than a third of Drogba, so you can do your own calculation on how high the wages should be (esp considering Owen’s been at Man U…). I’d welcome Anelka as much as Drogba too, given how well he did with us last time. Or there is always Kewell… ;) As an Aussie I have to throw him in there. He’s past it, but did score some great goals for us, so he’s level with Owen on that and the injury front. Let’s get em both on a pay-per-goal/assist deal!

          • We can’t afford Drogba’s salary. If he leaves China, he’ll be off to that Russian side Anzhi, cos they will pay him a fortune! We may see him play for them against us in Europe.

            Owen? If we sign that weasel I’ll be disgusted. Greedy little tosser!

      • i would still get owen in, i know he played for man utd, left us back 2005 but it was madrid lads!!!!! not many players turn them down, He can still get goals he would be clever in and around the box and i think he and stevie would link up well allowing suarez to play on the right and drift inside when johnson is attacking. Get him in for a year and by then yesil and borini are a year older and more developed. Don’t forget we have assaidi to come in yet, this lad can beat a player one on one so this might just open things up for the rest. on a positive note anyone else think shelvey is improving all the time? he will be a very good player yet. Allen will turn out to be a steal in time. Sahin will go back to madrid at the end of the season and suso will be ready for the first team squad by then.

  13. It’s now 4 transfer windows under the new owners, and they haven’t put up any money other than what’s come in through player sales or ordinary revenue for the club. We won’t be returning to the CL without more investment, and they have given up on a stadium. So we’re screwed. They should just sell the club.

  14. The whole summer FSG and Rodgers have been a shambles, Rodgers clearly out of depth and making bad comments and decisions while the club run around like headless chickens with only Del Boy Ayre to be seen.

    Terrible season ahead and Suarez will be off on the back of it.

    Oh Martinez where art thou and bring along a man with balls to make decisions too!!

    • Rich,
      I couldn’t agree with you more.. Spot on I’m afraid.. BR didn’t make Swansea play like that, RM did… We got the wrong one… Sound familiar??

  15. Assuming that the reason we couldn’t bid higher was that we had no cash, then why did we have to buy Yesil? Why didn’t we use that money to fund the Dempsey bid?

    Nah…… For me, I believe FSG tried to play a bit of poker, using the publicly known fact that the target wanted to come to us, and thinking that Fulham would just want to get it sorted before the window closed. But they didn’t play the game correctly. They didn’t think it through – what if Fulham reject the bid or if someone else comes in at the last minute. Clubs can be fickle – and not all clubs let a player go just because he says he wants to leave. They played the game better than we did.

    I’m afraid FSG have embarassed us in a way we thought was over. Every journo and pundit out there thinks Liverpool have scored a massive own goal. When it comes to the transfer window, FSG have got a lot to learn.

    I have been wondering if there could be any other explanation for not signing Dempsey – some chance that FSG & Rodgers have seen something we haven’t. Maybe this Yesil guy -someone I must admit I know nothing about – is actually gonna be our 3rd striker? I have to come up with something like this otherwise I’m starting to see FSG as another set of Yanks who are messing us about – saying one thing and doing another. Time will tell, but not too long I hope. I’m sick of false dawns.

  16. My biggest concern over the deadline day fiasco is this:

    We all know from twitter and the various nonstop coverage that BR left Melwood early, very early in the evening. He obviously knew what was happening. Just hope he didn’t go home to consider his future, seeing as how promises made to him MIGHT have been broken.

  17. I’m a little more hesitant to blame any particular person right now. There’s too many odd things going on. I’ll wait to see if Rodgers comments further.
    Remember how it was he who rejected Sigurdson over wages.
    It could be that the owners are so badly burned after the Carroll mess that they were gun shy on a last minute deal but I really have a hard time believing that over 1M or so.
    Even if we had gotten Dempsey it’s not like he would have been the answer to our goalscoring woes. I like the player and he would surely have helped but he’s not exactly an out and out striker.
    Rodgers handling of Carroll was questionable from the off.
    And I tend to agree on Ian Ayre. There’s plenty blame to go around.
    On the other hand we have the makings of an excellent defense and midfield.

    • jonnysingapore

      except the way we set up makes our defence leak like a sieve. Have you seen how many we’re conceding? 2 or more per game.

      Rodgers has broken our defence and not improved our goalscoring.

      FSG needed to do one thing after last season. Get us a couple of goalscorers.

      They should have moved Kenny upstairs, because he doesn’t have an eye for a player and put Clarke – probably the most experienced and shrewdest coach in the league – in charge.

      That would have been the low risk logical move to make and the goal scorers would have lifted the club massively, allowing the dross to be moved out over a couple of windows.

      Instead they’ve gone for this massive change which will take some years and half a new squad to put right. That’s how ‘new’ systems work. And even then it won’t work in the EPL, as Rodgers’ system assumes we won’t lose possession.

      Dark days.

  18. I would like the owners to come out and say exactly why they chose not to support the man they appointed as their manager. What was so irresponsible about the Dempsey deal that they could not abide it? I would like them to come out and accept some responsibility – the miserable shits that they are.

  19. The Dempsey saga has been embarrassing all summer, and spiraled into what appeared the farce on deadline day. However, if you ask me, this wasnt about Dempsey, it was about Sturridge. For me, the arrival of Sahin spelled the end for Dempsey. The reason for the low bid, and not getting into the auction was that we’re looking strong enough in midfield already, and didn’t need him there, and (i expect) with wanting Borini to develop, didn’t really want him to be the backup for the forward line either; Waiting until the Friday to bid for Sturridge though was shocking. Yet while all the fingers can point to FSG, and IA, you can look to Andy Carroll for his part in all this too. He had been told he wasn’t required. An offer to go to West Ham had been on the table for weeks. Instead, he hangs on to go back to Newcastle, who, like us with Dempsey, bid low because 1) they also don’t need him and 2) actually have a better sense of Andy Carroll’s value than we do. If he goes, we can replace him; if he stays, we have an expensive bench warmer, but enough backup nonetheless. So he leaves the day before the window closes, giving us then no time to arrange anything. We ask for Sturridge – who, in my opinion would have been good to see – but again 1) he’s already away at a game for his club on that day (and they only have Torres and Sturridge) and 2) we’re relying on Chelsea having to sign someone else on the last day before they’d release him. it was never going to work.
    The players that have gone, needed to go. The club is being fixed. It is going to be / continue to be painful at times. To some, we look like we’re in a shambles, but now, with a bloated wage bill slimmed, talented youngsters being given a chance, and someone in charge that can both spot and evaluate the real worth of a player (Kenny obviously didn’t), we have a decent platform to build on.

  20. G’day fellas — firstly, thanks for the podcast. It’s top-notch to have an in-depth view of LFC available so often. I’ve really enjoyed it (and by-the-by, I’m well surprised to see that the varied voices I’ve got used to are all caucasian, but that’s well off point).

    I want to look at the transfer window in a good light, and as baffling as the failure to land Dempsey is, perhaps it is a hardline approach to developing our own young talent? Having a strong style of play that teammates grow up with is the approach of those bastiens of beautiful football, Barca and Swansea. I personally love a direct line to goal for added potency (and I’m really pleased for Andy to see him showing off his skills for the Hammers), but there couldn’t have been a stronger signal that says Bren is at the beginning of a ‘longterm project’ than our movements in this transfer window. An optimistic way of looking at it, but the weather’s sunny down here in Australia, so I gotta see it that way in the hope we smash Arsene tonight.

  21. Few general points on the whole debacle

    I don’t think you can blame Ayre-besides not knowing what the details were, fsg didn’t sanction the fee.

    Dempseys agent would’ve communicated that spurs were waiting in the wings

    For the people who don’t rate Dempsey-that’s not the point. The fact is the manager wanted a forward, targeted Dempsey and fsg didn’t sanction a reasonable asking price. It could have been another player.

    Goals win games, we don’t have players who are clinical enough, this should have been addressed and made no.1 priority in the summer, not wait until last minute.

    Budgets smudges, there’s always variances, 6/7n in footballing terms would’ve been reasonable when you actually remove yourself from the spreadsheet and recognise the wider issues.

  22. Great article, sums up the feeling amongst vast majority of supporters at this time!

  23. Regardless of whether fsg refused to sanction the money for Dempsey Rodgers has to take the majority of the blame. He pushed one of only 3 strikers out of the door without giving him any time to see if he could adapt or be useful and he didn’t make sure of a replacement before he was gone. In addition both himself and Ayer simply gave up and left melwood with almost 3 hours to go rather than try to find an alternative even on loan. it doesn’t bode well for the future

  24. Interesting post, but one thing I am surprised at is that you seem portray Brendan as the innocent victim in this situation. Surely its the job of a manager to work with what you have until you can get the players you want in place?

    Why alienate players that you might have to rely on, just to give yourself an image as a hard man? He may think he is being honest with the players, but he is being a fool to himself and the club.

    So far Brendan has not proved himself a great manager, we were never going to get a good price for Carroll once he told the world he wouldn’t fit into his plans.

    It seems FSG is the easy target in all this, They backed him in the signings of Allen and Borini, Allen is a success, Borini, the jury is still out. Brendan cannot be blame free from this situation.

  25. Nice article Gareth.
    The football club were negligent with not just Dempsey though. You perhaps could of added how we gambled on Chelsea bringing in a striker so we could bring in Sturridge on loan. I think there is enough evidence to suggest this is true. That’s 2 potential acquisitions that ended in disaster but the departures was a huge mess too. Pacheco, Cole both still at the club & the failure to get market value for Adam & Carroll. Signing off on the Carroll loan 24 hrs before we had even entered negotiations for his replacement was madness. Football management gone mad indeed!

  26. Nail on the head mate. An important article.

  27. Frank Walter

    Steve Jensen is right, why is it so difficult to understand that FSG are setting up Liverpool to be able to run itself they are not just rich people who want an EPL club to play with. The Dempsey failure was all Ian Ayre, that transfer was his job what exactly is it that you think the owners are meant to do at the club? This isn’t Chelsea or Man City.

  28. Poker game gone horribly wrong as one of the past posters seemed to suggest.

    The pressure we were putting on Fulham to sell at a cut price was reliant on Dempsey insisting on coming to Liverpool.

    It seems we didn’t anticipate Spurs coming in with a deal last minute and Dempsey actually wanting to
    go there. When that happened, our plan fell apart.

    That kind of thing happening on deadline day is par for the course so the bit that winds me up is not having a backup plan.

    I’m not so despondent about losing Dempsey but the lack of foresight and sensible planning is criminal. Even as a negotiating tactic we should have had an alternative.

    You could argue it’s a collective failure on that basis but the truth is a lot of the stuff I’ve read over the last couple of days is pure speculation.

    I think the club should have explained their actions by now and they haven’t, yet another let down.

  29. It would be nice and simple to be able to blame one of FSG, Ian Ayre or BR but the reality is far more complicated: all three should share blame.

    We have owners still finding their feet in the very different world of ‘soccer’. Fair enough, you can’t get things perfect over night but we would have liked to have seen clearer structures in place by now and a less reactionary approach.

    Ian Ayre is obviously not a Managing Director. Should never have been put in this position, so his failings can be appropriated partly by FSG’s.

    And Brendan Rogers. He has quite clearly wanted shot of Andy Carroll out of some belief that he can’t fit in any way with his ‘system’. A clearly promising, coming into form and relatively young striker should have been given another year minimum to build on his performances last year and over the summer. The cutting loose of Andy Carroll essentially created this little debacle as it put us under pressure to get someone and everyone knew full well we needed Dempsey, which weakened any negotiation position.

    • ‘Soccer’ might be a different world, but this is their 4th window. If I do things 4 times even I start to understand it.

      If we are looking to find the person to blame for this, we should go back a bit. Ever since the owners arrived, they have been advised by one, possibly two people. Obviously when they arrived, they knew Fuck All about football, but somebody advised them that Roy was doing a good job, somebody told them that Comolli was the way to go, and amazingly, even after 35m was spunked on Carroll, a deal which the entire footballing world and his dog knew was a disaster AT THE TIME, that person or persons either advised them that it was value for money, or more likely, failed to tell them that it was insanity. Whoever it was kept their mouth shut over Downing and Henderson too, but guess what, they had a lot to say about Rafa, oh yes they didn’t miss and hit the wall there.

      So FSG, advised by commercial and ‘football’ experts to give Rafa a miss, promptly did.

      Werner and Henry have mentioned many times that they have advisors. What they describe as good football people, and somewhere in the back of my mind, lurking very quietly, is the notion that one of these advisors is Graeme Sounness. He was the man that drove Abramovich, not to LFC, but to MUFC first. And when that didn’t work, down the M6 to Chelsea. NOw where the fk did that come from? Who the fk told a billionaire who was looking to buy a club that Graeme Sounness was the man to talk to??.

      Here was the man who bulldozed the bootrom. Who cuddled up to the rag.

      Yes, if bizarre football decisions is your thing, you have to hand it to Sounness, the Ayatollah of Up-Your-Hola. And if it emerged that he has been the shadowy advisor, then the whole thing would begin to make sense to me.

      This whole 18 month affair, the waste of money, the bad PR, the indecision, and finally the deadline day debacle…it all makes sense only if you factor Sounness in.

      God I hope not. Can somebody ring Jen Chang just to be sure?


  30. Excellent read. Agree 100%. Would be good if the club made a statement about what went wrong perhaps. Brendan will no doubt be quizzed at the Arsenal game. Bit of an embarrasment all round on Friday, whatever the circumstances.

  31. God forbid we were Arsenal fans…

    Be thankful for what we have gents.

    We spent about 25-30M net this summer on players, that’s not taking into account the cost it took to sack Kenny and his team, and the compensation to get Rodgers and his…

    Yes, we fucked up on deadline day. Is it worth all the absolutely embarrassing amount of bogs written and ridicule of FSG?

    Absolutely not. When did we all turn into spoilt little brats?

    We’ve just got a new manager in with new ideas and new faces. We’re laying the foundations for the next few years. We managed to keep a hold of our solid enough defence, we’ve added real quality to our midfield. In my opinion, we have one of the best midfields in the league. Maybe second only to City. In the coming transfer windows we’ll strengthen our attacking options, yes it would have been great if we could have done it this window, but it didn’t happen. For reasons not yet known, other than newspaper speculation and guesswork.

    Next summer, or in January, we can now focus on purely strengthening our attack.

    Is the premier league finishing after the end of this season? It was always going to be tough to finish top 4 with or without a new attacker, it’s the first year of a new era. We’ve got to clean up the absolute mess left by previous managers and owners. The money wasted by Rafa, Hodgson, and Dalglish is absoultely embarrassing snd has set us back quite a bit, i feel we are heading in the right direction under Brendan now, but fans bickering and demanding answers from owners on why we didnt spend £8M on a 29 year old isnt going to help.

    Obviously in an ideal world we’d have started work on a new stadium and have bought new strikers this summer, it didn’t happen. Let’s regroup, take a sit back and look at the bigger picture and back the manager and the owners, especially the manager.

    The Anfield Wrap guys know to well the difficulties with building a new stadium etc, after that fantastic article with John Henry.

    It would be irresponsible and damaging for the club if FSG went an put us £300M in debt for an extra 15’000 seats.

    They’re looking at other ways of generating match day revenue, we just received planning permission for a cope rate marquee across the road from anfield, we’ve just opened up new bars and restaurants within anfield, and we’ve opened a family fun zone for parents to bring their kids before a game on match day. In my opinion, it’s likely that anfield is going to be re-developed with the help of a naming rights partner.

    Or we could always spend £300M on a new stadium and sell the likes Luis Suarez and Agger every summer and have a negative net spend like Arsenal?

    Cant we just calm down for a while?

    • Why should it cost 300million to build a new stadium. Look at the cost of Eastlands & the old trafford rebuild & ask why a stadium would cost 300million

    • Sir Darth spent 24 million on a 29 year old with a year on his contract. Result? Hat trick which would have been four save for the missed dink and three points. Is it good value? Nope. Does it score goals and win titles? Yup.

      Wenger got Bould in to tighten up the porous defence, and contrary to habit actually bought two established players who incidentally won the match. And unlike a lot of Arsenal’s composed but fruitless play in recent years, it started with a blistering counter-attack. Diaby bossed the midfield, the main thing missing since Viera and then Flamini were sold. Who exactly do you think will do the job Lucas was doing two years ago now that he is injured again and Spearing is out on loan? Shelvey can’t tackle, Allen is a great passer but hardly a gritty midfield general, it’s not Sahin’s game as far as I know, Henderson seems unwanted which leaves Coady, who has one cap in a pre-season friendly (he did play well though).

      More importantly, who do you think will score goals? It’s very simple, if you don’t score, you can’t win. Excuse me if I fail to look forward to 5-10 years of goalless, but very, very fluently attacking draws.

      You can dice it and splice it any way you want, if you have any experience of football, it does not add up. It’s a brain fuck to try and make a coherent team with what is left of the squad. The worst thing is that it was mostly avoidable, evolution is a much surer way than revolution. Especially if you have one each summer.

  32. Jonathan Phillips

    Very sad that most points made in the comments section are derived from heresay on Twitter and forums. A bandwagon rolling from conjecture and rumour.

    No one knows the facts and the judge and jury have made their decision and recommendations.

    Bitterly disapointing from a fanbase that was once renowned for their knowledge of football…

  33. On a funnier note…
    How about owen???
    He’s free….can still finish / is past his prime (n doesn’t suit our style)….
    would be a signing that would definitely divide opinion.

  34. I’m choosing to believe that this was one big cock up rather than being anything more sinister. But it would still be nice to know what actually happened, who said no to spending what Fulham wanted, until then it’s impossible to draw any meaningful conclusions. Possibly we tried to play it too clever, sure the player was dying to come and Fulham needed the cash.

    Meanwhile Spurs get in the players ear, apparently offering him £90k/week, his head is turned and we’re left with our dicks in our hands. I think it would be pretty hard to get a deal done for someone else at that point, especially without a scouting department in place – another question that FSG need to answer.

    I still think FSG are trying to do the right things, but along with making mistakes have had some shit luck. the important thing is that i think they will give Rodgers time, and Rodgers is the right man for the job, but he needs to be backed 100%, not just in the transfer market because if the money isn’t there, it isn’t there.

  35. The reason FSG would not stump up the cash for Dempsey was because Fulham wanted an extra £1m as compensation for the fact that Liverpool had tapped him up.

  36. The flaw in the logic applied to Rogers’ arrival is that he would be able to do even better at Liverpool with “better” players than he had done at Swansea. Fact is that the current Liverpool squad are not “better” in the context of the way Rogers wants to play. Reina, Enrique, Skrtel, Johnson, Gerrard, Suarez don’t have the technical ability to receive and distribute the ball adequately whilst Suarez, Sahin, Johnson, Gerrard, Enrique can’t or won’t press when out of possession. Question therefore is can Rogers emulate what he did at Swansea with “worse” players?

  37. From my understanding, both Arsenal + LFC were interested in Nuri Sahin on loan, correct? Reportedly, Arsenal offered up a £2million loan fee to Real Madrid for him. If correct, why did LFC offer, what I hear to be £5million for him (Sahin) ? Wouldn’t it be better economics to offer. say £3million? Then if needed, the remaining amount i.e. £2million could be saved and invested elsewhere. In this case, toward the fee that Fulham wanted for Dempsey. In short, LFC could have got both Sahin + Dempsey, if they didn’t pay the £3million extra for Sahin loan fee. If Dempsey was a target before Sahin appeared on the radar, why could not LFC work harder to get Sahin for less than £5million.
    Hope you understand what I am getting at here. Am just baffled here at what goes on at LFC, specifically in the transfers of Sahin + Dempsey.

    • 1. Arsenal offered 705 of his wages i.e. 2.85 million.
      2. He wanted Arsenal as they were in the UCL.
      3. If we had offered only say 1m more or 3.85m, he’d still have gone to Arsenal as RM pay his full wages (part subsidized by us or Arsenal) so it doesn’t make that much difference to him. It does make a bit of a difference for RM tho’ as they’d only spend a little more than what we offer them to pay Sahin’s wages.

      4. BR wants him badly. We offer full wages (~4m, which like you said is a million and a bit more than Arsenal’s offer) but we also add another 1.6m in loan fee, This is where RM has the power to force the player to either stay with them/their reserves or go to LFC as they’d pay his entire wages + some more money as loan fee.

      5. Therefore he chose us. Add to that Arsenal already had a zillion mid fielders, it was easier for him to move to us for play time.

      It was a good bit of business. He’s a classy player. We didn’t overpay. We paid market rate.

    • 1. Arsenal offered 705 of his wages i.e. 2.85 million.

      2. He wanted Arsenal as they were in the UCL.

      3. If we had offered only say 1m more or 3.85m, he’d still have gone to Arsenal as RM pay his full wages (part subsidized by us or Arsenal) so it doesn’t make that much difference to him. It does make a bit of a difference for RM tho’ as they’d only spend a little more than what we offer them to pay Sahin’s wages.

      4. BR wants him badly. We offer full wages (~4m, which like you said is a million and a bit more than Arsenal’s offer) but we also add another 1.6m in loan fee.

      5. This is where RM has the power to force the player to either stay with them/their reserves or go to LFC as they’d pay his entire wages + some more money as loan fee.

      6. Therefore he chose us. Add to that Arsenal already had a zillion mid fielders, it was easier for him to move to us for play time.

      It was a good bit of business. He’s a classy player. We didn’t overpay. We paid market rate.

      • Red – Thanks for replying, and offering a clearer picture. Don’t doubt Sahin quality, and if you’re happy that it is good bit of business, then fair play. Just thought with what I know, LFC finances could have supported a Dempsey transfer as well as Sahin. Clearly not as you pointed out to me.

        Side note: Despite Sahin performance yesterday, think its just a matter of time he’ll adapt to LFC style + thinking. He has the quality to do so. Wouldn’t mind him at my club.

        All the best.

  38. Red – Thanks for replying, and offering a clearer picture. Don’t doubt Sahin quality, and if you’re happy that it is good bit of business, then fair play. Just thought with what I know, LFC finances could have supported a Dempsey transfer as well as Sahin. Clearly not as you pointed out to me.

    Side note: Despite Sahin performance yesterday, think its just a matter of time he’ll adapt to LFC style + thinking. He has the quality to do so. Wouldn’t mind him at my club.

    All the best.

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