AS the temperature dropped to below freezing at Anfield on Wednesday night and three answered goals were scored in the FA Cup third-round replay against Exeter, none of them could match the amplified volume of Jon Flanagan’s return – 619 days after he last competitively kicked a ball for Liverpool.
Even as fingers and toes felt like they were glued together by the cold, it was warming to see the reaction as the defender entered the pitch on 51 minutes after finally shrugging off a knee injury, which required three separate procedures. Even Brazil legend Cafu took to Twitter to celebrate the comeback of the Scouse version of himself, with the post going viral.
On Thursday morning, it was a different Brazilian trending in Liverpool. And supporters were applauding a different dose of positive news as the club moved to try and tie up a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Alex Teixeira. The 26-year-old from a city in the southeast of Rio de Janeiro, has smashed opposition defences in Ukraine’s Premier Liga, recording 22 goals in 15 games this season.
Ian Ayre headed a delegation that departed to Orlando, where Shakhtar are playing in the Florida Cup, to negotiate a transfer for the attacker expected to be in excess of £25 million.
As ever in these situations, nothing is guaranteed. The Donetsk side, currently atop of their league, could decide to set the price at a ridiculous level. Chelsea, who are also sizing up Teixeira, may opt to flex their financial muscle. The unknown variables in football transactions often outweigh the knowns.
But it is hugely positive that Liverpool are in Florida looking to, well, buy goals.
Five of the club’s top scorers in all competitions this season are injured: Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Danny Ings. The fifth, and the one who heads the list, is Christian Benteke.
The Belgian has struggled to fit into the first team, and worryingly, looks out of place in the second-string side too. He played a combined 33 minutes against Arsenal and Manchester United last week, and while he directly contributed to two goals against Exeter last night, it was painful watching both his full run-outs against the League Two outfit.
In Devon, Benteke looked disinterested despite wearing the captain’s armband. And during the reverse fixture at Anfield, he actually tried to dominate, but was undone by touches as heavy as his £32.5 million price tag, as well as poor positioning, being awful aerially and over-complicating his game. The striker’s decisive play for the first and third goals were in complete contrast to the rest of his performance.
So, Teixeira then. His 22 league goals dwarfs the combined total of 14 by Liverpool’s five strikers. His haul of 26 in all competitions is better than the 21 they have managed too. And he is not even a centre-forward!
Teixeira is predominantly an attacking midfielder, who can also play off both flanks and has been used as a focal point too.
Based on a few glimpses of the Brazilian in the Champions League, he is quick, robust and tricky, links play excellently and sharply finishes off moves. Apart from being technically brilliant, he also looked tireless. Bonus point: he hardly ever gets injured, with his last reported setback in the 2013-14 season when he missed just two games.
Liverpool have spent in excess of £180 million on attacking players over the past two summers, yet still remain heavily reliant on the injury-riddled Sturridge. That the club have erred so much in the market is a large contributing factor to their on-pitch problems.
While no transfer is guaranteed to be a success and mistakes will always occur, the Reds cannot continue repeating their errors. More importantly though, neither can they afford to dwell on them. The bid for Teixeira is a signal that Liverpool want to repair some damage, instead of simply looking the other way. That they can admit they’ve fucked up and are attempting to atone for it.
A deal may yet not get over the finishing line, but at least Liverpool realise they’ve got to run these races.
Speaking of “righting wrongs”, how would signing another number 10 address the unbalanced squad which is already bloated with these type of players?
Because he apparently scores goals, unlike are other no.10’s…
what was Firmino’s record in Germany again? Hell if Lallana’s at Southampton?
Um, Teixeira has scored more goals this season than Firmino’s last two seasons in Germany combined. Same for Lallana and his two seasons previous with Southampton.
There is no question that Teixeira is a goal scorer with goal scoring instincts. Firmino is a creative attacking midfielder that can score goals. There’s a big difference.
I suspect the plan would be to start Firmino up front, Teixeira in the 10 and Coutinho, Lallana either side. These players are all flexible enough to switch positions of course, but from what I’ve seen of Firmino, his best games have been in the 9 position. Plus, looking at Teixeira’s figures he is a beast of a 10. This would make the most sense to me anyway. Of course if Sturridge ever comes back we’ll also have true quality behind him and a great selection headache for the manager.
We haven’t been very good at ‘buying goals’ of late. Hopefully we get a bit of luck and this potential target.
“but was undone by touches as heavy as his £32.5 million price tag,”
He’s injured now though.
I hope they close the deal and he gets us the goals (and the hammy’s alright, but might get us a discount). For whatever it’s worth, he’s #89 on that Guardian Top 100 list – so he’d double our representation on there joining Coutinho at #46.
Even if we are successful, I’d still be in the market for a proper striker this summer. And a first choice GK, of course.
Isn’t he more like Firmino/Wijnaldum/Ayew (more effective in front of goal maybe?) than anything else? His output is really exciting though. Hope we get the deal done. We need a player with his alleged skill set badly.
On another note. The thing of getting on Benteke’s back is becoming a bit much now. Yeah, the dress (Benteke) doesn’t fit the bride (Liverpool) right, but what do you do? You alter the dress, maybe the lady gains/loses a few grams till it fits. It’s telling that even in a team thats not on the same wavelength as him he’s still the top scorer and averaging roughly a goal every two games per 90. He wasn’t even that bad yesterday, missed two he (should’ve) scored and that’s a shame, but overall it was a decent performance.
Just lay off a bit.
Hope Ian Ayer comes back with a signed contract (condition to passing medical of course: maybe give him special tests on his Knees and Hamstrings : -)
Agreed with Les’ comment above about Benteke. Last night, he did his best for the team and it was a big improvement compared to past few games for us. He was involved in two goals and opened up lots of space for others. He maybe rusty because of start-stop opportunities.
Honestly, I would support 100% to whichever team Klopp put out there. (including Big Ben of course). Hope he is given a run of games starting from Norwich, and judge after these games?. At least he will be a goal threat, and as someone mentioned before he could defend corners too. (note: I was frustrated as much as most supports here; but just want to give the big fella full support as long as he wears our shirt).
I hope Ian Ayre comes back too.
“And he isn’t even a centre forward”
That’s what worries me.
Yeah, …I just hope that he is an upgrade on work rate and goals over our current “Three Tenors”.
Yep, apart from the two assists and being our best defender st set-pieces, Benteke underperformed.
What did the Romans ever do for us?
Yeah. That’s what we need. The shopping list says ‘a shit hot striker’ and we go for another fucking, “attacking midfielder, who can also play off both flanks and has been used as a focal point too”.
How many is that we have now?
Clueless you got that right.
We need goals. This guy scores loads of them .
How is it a problem ? oh he’s not playing the right position. Fucking hell he has played all over their front three scores goals creates goals but still the fucking whining…
Never even heard of this fella but if he signs and starts banging them in then I’m ready to make him my favourite player. I’m just desperate to believe in something after last Sunday.
Don’t think we have a bad set of strikers if we can get them fit and although he hasn’t been great surely it’s a bit early to completely write off Benteke.
Interesting though that the owners are prepared to spend big money in this window. Are they convinced we still have a chance of a top 4 finish? Or going for a Europa League win.? And where does it leave the likes of Lallana?
Would be great to get a prolific goal scoring midfielder though- for the first time since whatshisname was in his pomp.Fear we are gonna have to pay stupid, Carroll type money though.
We paid Carroll-type money several times over the last 3 seasons. It burned a hole in Rodgers’ pocket.
Yes. In the two games against Arsenal and the Mancs. We got one point AND Benteke did not play. Our top striker that cost 35mill and has a one in two strike rate. Thought he played much better in the cup and looked like he was having fun.
Quick! Pass me my lap-top and get me the number of the “Transfer Committee” right away! For a modest consideration I’ll give them a long list of goal scorers.£100,000 a name.Each and every one a proven goal scorer!
But here’s the rub…you’d have to buy the other 3 or 4 players who provide the assists.
And if this doesn’t make any sense then you ain’t really watching.
Considering our shortage** of No.10s right, Teixeira’s arrival could not be more welcomed.
Coutinho is a false No.10 who plays like a No.10.
Firmino isn’t a No.10. He is a false No.10 and false No.9 who sometimes play as a No.10 and No.9.
Lallana isn’t a No.10. He is a false No.10, false No.9, false No.8, false No.7, false No.6, false No.5, false No.4, false No.3 and false No.2. He sometimes makes tea for the rest of the lads.
don’t forget, we have a false No. 1 in the team too, with an extended 5-year deal :)
Very good. Ha ha. Must have taken an age to type out all those “No.”s. Kudos!
Copy and paste, my friend, copy and paste…
What does it say about Klopp if he rates Lallana and Mignolet? A lot of people have a hard time reconciling that. Doesn’t overly phase me, but I’ve never been one for extreme, black-and-white thinking.
Walter, lad, time to let go of BR :-) cheers.
Granted that Benteke is not really firing on all cylinders right now and a lot of that might be due to the circumstances he finds himself in. Clearly untrusted and doubted by his manager, strikers are like goalkeepers, creatures that thrive on confidence. Once the confidence is gone and you are left with a shell.
Rooney couldnt borrow a goal a few weeks ago and suddenly he has 5 from 4 games albeit 2 of them undeserved penalties and suddenly he is not as bad as he was being said to be a few weeks back. It does not help Benteke that he can not have a prolonged run in the team and comes in during high pressure situations when defeat is staring us in the face. it would do his confidence a world of good if he knew that his manager has faith in his ability, its not like we signed a one season wonder Andy Carroll, He has scored lots of goals before and can do so again. All he needs is time and patience, a rare commodity in football unfortunately.
Miss the days when a striker’s main job was to stick the ball in to the auld onion bag.
When assessing a first season, we should bear in mind De Gea, and Ozil. Neither seemed to be EPL quality. We are too quick to write off new players. I thought Markovic showed great potential, but poor management and fuckwit fans destroyed his confidence to the point where he didn’t want the ball and cacked his kecks when he got it. Benteke is almost at that point now.
Yep, this. You can throw in Henry as a player who didn’t exactly set the world alight in his first season. Most Arsenal fans were convinced they should have signed Trezeguet instead.
Pires was awful in his first season
as was Lukalu,
Closer to home both Beardsley & Hendo spring to mind who took time to settle,
These are not robots and things like transfer fee/expectation plus settling into a new city/culture isn’t easy for some.
turning around the equation, among recent signings by us who have delivered during the first season for us? None, apart from Dan and Phil.
Loves a Brazilian does our Mel.
Don’t we all :)
Hahaha. Love this comment too!
Yeah dirty get!
Once Chelsea get wind he’s actually available they’ll quickly sort the deal while Ayre will be jetting back across the Pacific with an improved deal of £28m,some signed Gerrard Warrior shirts and a few boxes of Dunkin Donuts.
More lowball rather than moneyball.
For political reason and for pride, Ukraine billionnaire will not sell player to the Russian billionnaire at Chelski. (Especially during the invasion)
That’s why Ian Ayer flew to Miami.
certainly hope that he comes.back with more than Subway sandwiches and Dunkin donuts though.
Good point that Josh,
Never thought about that.
…about Ukraine? or Subway?
Feel a bit for Big Ben. Not a bad striker, but we don’t play to his strengths. Can’t understand why you look at a player, see what his strengths are , buy him and then expect him to adapt his play? Get some crosses into him!! If he’s still shite after that, then there’s no argument.
After all this time, I still think it’s square pegs and round holes syndrome.
PS As for Ayre…………he can stay in Florida for all I care.
It certainly was cold in Liverpool Wednesday night.
Which probably explains the real reason Ayre is in Florida… The hot Ayre.
Funny how half the people are saying layoff Beneteke – who hasn’t look like a 15 million pound striker let alone a 32 million pound one.
Who has the lowest conversion rate in the PL
Has no characteristics to his game which work with LFc, and doesn’t seem to be arsed enough to try and change.
These people then go on to make fun of lallana and the other attacking players – not false 9’s, three tenors, makes tea for the rest of the lads.
Amazing the players actually trying to play are being made fun of, while the one squandering chances should be given a shoulder to cry on.
I wish we handled Benteke like Rafa with Robbie Keane sell him off to a team like Spurs after 6 months!
Report us that we offer 25, they want 30, and AYRE is back in England. He seems addicted to brinkmanship and always eggs up our best efforts. He is a Blue/OT fifth column at Anfield.
*Autocorrect changed ‘effs’ to ‘eggs’ four times!!
Very much doubt we’d pay up coz they’re asking for proper insane cash