After the flurry of early business, Liverpool spent the rest of the summer months chasing big name attacking stars like Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Diego Costa, and Willian. Watching these flirtations develop, then uniformly unravel through the media was a rather painful Sisyphean exercise designed to crush the spirit.
When Big Sam Allardyce came calling to take Stewart Downing to
Inter Milan Real Madrid West Ham United I fell over myself laughing at Allardyce's quips about Downing's crosses being "the perfect service for Andy Carroll." But with no names coming through the door and the deadline's shadow growing before nightfall, I began to dread a repeat of the disastrous close to 2012's window. Then, we watched Carroll's Ponytail join Allardyce's Forehead but a failure to bring in any kind of attacking reinforcement essentially grounded the Reds' season before it began.
Whereas the club failed to bring in Clint Dempsey or any able-bodied human being at the 2012 deadline, lessons were learned this time around and Brendan Rodgers secured the loan services of Chelsea winger Victor Moses. Despite flashing promise under Rafa Benitez in 2012/2013 and displaying serious bite in his game this preseason, Moses was stuck watching Jose Mourinho sign midfielder after midfielder all summer long. Andre Schurrle, Marco van Ginkel, and Willian were all brought aboard, while former loanee Kevin de Bruyne has played a key part in Mourinho's designs thus far.
With his spot on the depth chart somewhere above Florent Malouda's "you train with the reserve team" shame but below pretty much the rest of the roster, Moses became a very convenient dance partner for Liverpool at just the right time. The Reds may have failed to acquire the big name star they sought, but they succeeded in bringing aboard a talented young player with an extremely limited financial commitment.
Moses's name and story is a familiar one to followers of the Premier League (and if it's not, click here). Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Moses suffered the horror of losing both his parents to religious-based riots in 2002. Alone, he emigrated to London to stay with a foster family and it was there that he was spotted by Crystal Palace scouts.
A hot prospect as a teenager, 11 goals from 58 Championship appearances with Palace was enough for Moses to secure a move to Wigan Athletic in January 2010. With playing time a guarantee, his switch to the Latics proved a solid move for his development. After 74 appearances and eight goals in the Premier League, Moses made the step up to Chelsea last August.
Under Roberto di Matteo and then Rafa Benitez, Moses was largely used as a substitute in the Premier League. 12 starts and 11 appearances off the pine only saw the former England youth international grab a solitary goal and the lone assist to match. In cup competitions however, Moses proved himself a valuable contributor. Five starts and a substitute appearance in Chelsea's triumphant Europa League saw the winger grab four goals, the What-Are-We-Calling-It-Now Cup brought two goals from three starts, and two more came from five appearances in the FA Cup. All in all, not a bad season for a 21 year old winger trying to crack his way into the lineup of the European champion.
Despite his mixed success in the Premier League last term (I've declined to include a comparison of his stats to those of Stewie D's. Hey, I've never pretended to be objective have I?), Moses's extensive domestic experience and strong cup record bode well for his Liverpool future. Rodgers has brought in a tremendously quick player capable of operating on either flank. The Nigerian demonstrated a lethal directness on the break under Rafa last year and, unsurprisingly, the Spaniard's tutelage looks to have taken Moses's game up a notch or three. His performances over preseason (my footy cravings resulted in catching way too many Chelsea friendlies this summer) showed a player on a mission to prove his worth and, despite it just being preseason, the winger looked at home alongside his more renowned colleagues.
At the very least, Moses's arrival will afford some much needed patience in the development of Jordon Ibe and Raheem Sterling. At best, well there's a reason Chelsea consistently rebuffed Liverpool's attempts to include a purchase option in the deal. Moses has outgrown the age limits to still be considered a top prospect but seems to be just inches away from tapping into his full potential. Should he take advantage of the minutes afforded to him and develop a cold-blooded ruthlessness in the final third, management will be tripping over itself to acquire his services full-time. If not, well Liverpool has a no-strings-attached agreement with a very serviceable squad player and, once again, can spend next summer hoping to catch a bigger fish.
Here's the video you've been waiting for, again don't be afraid to get trigger happy with the mute button.