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Liverpool for top four? Not for me

After a great end to the 2010-11 season, Liverpool started the season with realistic hopes of regaining a top four finish, with Mark Bright incredibly even tipping them for the title. However a recent run of poor form has left them seventh in the table despite spending a net £44million since King Kenny’s Liverpool return.

Has King Kenny got his transfers wrong?

Since the return of the Liverpool legend to the helm of the club; he has brought nine players, all with differing success.

Good purchases

Luis Suarez- The Uruguayan striker has been an undoubted success. Suarez took no time in adjusting to the English game and was fantastic towards the end of last season. The former Ajax man has scored just twice in eleven games before his recent ban; but was still a consistent threat. Since his ban Liverpool have struggled and if they are to achieve their goals this season, they will need Suarez in good form.

Jose Enrique- Liverpool’s left back represented a bargain move at £6million, in doing so solving their problem area. Defensively Liverpool have actually been strong this season, with Enrique’s addition a vital one. The former Newcastle man is as comfortable in his own half as the oppositions, with many calling for him to be selected in the Spanish national side.

Craig Bellamy- A free transfer from Manchester City, Bellamy has been good whenever he’s pulled on the red of Liverpool. A versatile player, with his ability to playing on the wing or up front, meant the dealt was always worth the gamble. Bellamy has often been selected in the key games ahead of out and out wingers, and his goal threat is still as good as ever.

Poor purchases

Andy Carroll- Dalglish quoted him as the ‘minus £15million man’; however the £35million deal has backfired spectacularly on not on him but Liverpool, with a return of just four Premier League goals in 25 games for the former Newcastle man.

Stewart Downing- Was brilliant for Villa, distinctly average for Liverpool. Without a goal or an assist in the Premier League, it’s fair to say Downing’s start with Liverpool has yet to get going.

Jordan Henderson- Another overpriced move for a young English midfielder, Henderson is another who has struggled in the red of Liverpool. Of the three signings in this category, Henderson has been the best and I’m sure will get better over time.

All three have lost or are struggling to keep a hold of their England squad place ahead of Euro 2012.

Done ok

Charlie Adam- Liverpool got their target after attempting to purchase the Scottish midfielder in the transfer window of January 2011; however for me he isn’t as good as two of the centre midfielders Dalglish let go in Alberto Aquilani and Raul Meireles. With Lucas injured, the partnering of Adam with Steven Gerrard in the recent defeat at Bolton only highlighted that the similar duo probably can’t play together, meaning Adam may be edged out of the side in favour of a holding midfielder.  

Doni- A free from Roma, the second choice keeper is yet to figure for Liverpool; however his addition adds strength to the area as Doni is a better goalkeeper then Brad Jones.

Sebastian Coates- The defender was voted young player of the recent Copa America tournament and is seen by many as the replacement to Jamie Carragher when the Liverpool legend hangs up his boots. Due to Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel’s form, he has had limited chances to impress this season; however he is young and looks a good prospect.

Where can Liverpool finish this season?

For me Champions League football is out of the question for Liverpool. They’ve been fortunate in the sense that Chelsea and Arsenal have been poor this season, but Liverpool’s inability to score goals have resulted in far too many home draws. In the big games this season Liverpool have actually been good; with wins away to Arsenal and Chelsea particular highlights, but their recent failure away to Bolton only highlighted how desperately they need Luis Suarez, with Carroll again poor. The defeat to Bolton wasn’t only a poor performance, but its timing couldn’t have been worse, with all of their rivals for a Champions League spot failing to win, meaning Dalglish’s side missed an brilliant chance to close the gap, against a side whose home form was the worst of all 92 League clubs. I think Chelsea will have too much for them in the fight for fourth, so a Europa League spot is the best they can achieve.

They currently hold a 1-0 advantage going into the home leg against Manchester City and with either Crystal Palace or Cardiff in the final, the League Cup is theirs to lose, and with Manchester United in the F.A cup, the League Cup is their best chance at silverware this season.

Kenny Dalglish heavily criticised his players in the recent defeat at Bolton stating they won’t be here long if they continue to under-perform, yet he must take some of the blame for this, as six of the 13 who featured were his purchases. Don’t get me wrong, Liverpool have improved under Dalglish since his return, but for me they are still miles behind not only both Manchester clubs, but also Tottenham.

Joshua Jones