Well, after everything that happened in the transfer window for Liverpool, it might be high time for a quick summary of all the action.
First and foremost, the Fernando Torres Saga. I know a lot of people are upset about that (to put it mildly), and I understand that. For a player as important to his team as Torres was, for him to demand out the way he did is a huge blow to a club and fanbase. But lets face it, Torres was NOT the most important player on the club. He was no higher than second, and maybe even as low as fourth. Gerrard is #1 at Anfield, and both Carragher and Reina are critical to Liverpool's success.
Yes, Torres is one of the best strikers in the world when he's on-form, and with that comes a desire for the player to constantly do what he feels is best for him in his career. As much as fans preach for loyalty to your team first, most players are loyal to themselves first and foremost in this era of sport as a business. I can't blame Torres for seeking out what he felt was a better opportunity. I can wish that he'd would have rather stayed in Merseyside, but I can't blame him for wanting to improve himself either.
I can, however, blame him for blasting a huge hole that Torres blasted in the cohesion that Dalglish had managed to build in the club. He's set the immediate future of the team back a fair ways with this move, and that's not something that can be easily forgiven.
I have to give a lot of credit to FSG for how they handled the situation, however. Getting £50 million for a player that wanted out is an impressive feat, to say the least, and they put the money to good use right away. As a follower and writer of baseball, I can tell you this is exactly how this group operates: get the best value possible for their assets, and acquire the talents that fit what they want to do as well as possible, no matter the cost. "Moneyball" isn't about being cheap, unlike what many purport it to be. It's about being smart, and FSG has shown time and again that they are just that.
However, there was a lot more to this window than Torres. I'll look at the rest after the jump.
The biggest signing was former Newcastle striker Andy Carroll. At £35 million, the cost of acquiring him was stunning to many, including myself, but a lot of factors played in to that. Starting the process on the last day of the transfer window increased his price, as did Liverpool's obvious need and borderline desperation to add a high-level striker to replace Torres. While many have suggested that the Reds could have done better with that money, I can't pick out any other strikers superior to Carroll that would have been available for that sort of money after Atletico supposedly asked Tottenham for over £40 million to give up Aguero.
On the field, Carroll is a beast of a man up top. He's tall and thick, playing with great strength and a willingness to go up to control the ball, either flicking it to set up a teammate or trying to score it himself. He could use a little more touch on the ball when in front of the goal, but at 22 years young, he has time to develop that. Carroll should prove to be an incredibly valuable asset for Liverpool moving forward, especially when used in continental play.
Luis Suarez was the other big signing, arriving from Ajax for roughly £23 million after extended and testy negotiations. Suarez can either pair with Carroll up top or play out wide to add speed to the wings that is sorely lacking right now. Suarez is a very creative and instinctual player who showed a tremendous knack for putting the ball in the back of the net with Ajax, often doing whatever it took to put a goal on the scoreboard. It's going to be exciting seeing Suarez move to the upper levels of the sport after his impressive World Cup display (handball incident aside), and I'll watch how he winds up fitting in to the team closely.
Also arriving at Merseyside are Jason Banton (Blackburn), Yusef Mersin (Millwall), and Conor Thomas (loan, Coventry). I honestly don't know much about any of these guys, and am assuming they'll probably play more of a role with the reserves than they will with the first team. I'll be pulling a little extra for Conor Thomas, though, as he spells his first name the right way.
A few guys other than Torres left Liverpool as well, the most notable of which being Ryan Babel, who went to Bundesliga side Hoffenheim for £6 million. Babel never really got going well after he arrived here, and was unable to secure consistent first-team playing time. He does have talent, however, and hopefully he blossoms in Germany. He's still young at 23, so he has time to show the world what he can do, especially in the free-scoring Bundesliga. Andras Simon and Charles Itandje were also both let go on free transfers, with Itandje representing the bigger disappointment of the two. Hopefully they can resurrect their careers elsewhere.
A number of players were loaned out as well. Paul Konchesky was banished from Anfield (good riddance), signing a loan deal with Nottingham Forrest after a deal to go back to Fulham on loan fell through. Stephen Darby went to Forrest's rival Nottingham County to get some first team minutes, and young striker Nate Eccleston went to Charlton to show Liverpool why he deserves a first-team nod himself. Chris Mavinga and David Amoo were shipped to partner clubs Genk and MK Dons, respectively, to help those sides out. Of the four young players out, Eccleston is by far the most interesting, but Darby has something to prove as well, although his path to first-team playing time is blocked by Martin Kelly.
So how might the starting lineup look now? My best guess based on the flowing 4-3-3/4-1-4-1/4-1-3-2 look that Dalglish has employed so far:
Kelly - Carragher - Agger - Johnson
Maxi - Gerrard - Meireles
Suarez - Carroll
Lucas would largely stay around the center of the pitch, moving forward and back as needed. The midfield trio ahead of him would move around a lot, with Maxi, Gerrard, and Meireles switching places often. You'd probably also see a lot of Maxi and Suarez coming down the flanks with Carroll holding the top on his own. I wish that the attempt to bring in Charlie Adams had succeeded, as I'd rather see him in Maxi's role, but I won't complain about how it looks now.
This is a much deeper and improved club than it was a week ago. Despite Torres' departure, there are exciting times ahead for Liverpool. These next few matches will be most interesting as we see how the new roster shakes out.