In the past week Liverpool have signed a two-time title winner and 54 cap England international in addition to a proven Premier League striker who out-scored all four on their rota in 2014/15. Both arrive on frees with just compensation to resolve which represents cracking business for a club restrained by a limited budget but looking to break back into the top four.
First came James ‘Hames’ Milner, a stand-out performer last season who Manchester City were desperate to retain having been their spark plug and saviour for most of it.
Currently enjoying the form of his life Jimmy bagged more than Edin Dzeko – a player many Reds consider the solution to their striking woes – and created more assists that Juan Mata last term all while putting in one lung-bursting display after another.[embedded content]
So the reaction to the news by some Reds on Twitter was odd. Positive in the main certainly with plenty of plaudits dished out for his many attributes but also muted, almost grin-and-bearing it, like a starving man given a nutritious bowl of porridge.
It will suffice but, well, it’s no steak tartare.
Now Anfield welcomes Danny Ings, a 22-year-old bundle of intelligent movement and threat who single-handedly fired home more Premier League goals than Sturridge, Lambert, Balotelli and Borino combined last season. His haul of 11 is all the more impressive considering it was for a relegation-doomed side where chances were few and far between.
A striker Gary Lineker – who knows a thing or two about the art – has described as having ‘bags of potential’ Ings is undoubtedly an upgrade on at least two from Liverpool’s present stock of net-shy pretenders. So beating Spurs to his signature is surely cause for celebration among the Red fanbase? Apparently not.
Both Milner and Ings are astute additions to a squad patently in need of a shake-up so it’s perplexing why their arrivals have been met with such conflicted fanfare.
Maybe there is a degree of snobbery here? From supporters who demand sit-up-and-take-notice marquee signings to immediately offer hope following a disappointing campaign.
Or perhaps it is precisely because they are so astute; it is difficult to not be underwhelmed by the sensible which is why you’ll never see groupies hanging around outside accountancy firms.
Yet the double coup represents far more than a pair of bargain bin finds. Milner’s potential partnership with Henderson in the Anfield centre-circle is hustle-and-bustle personified and with Can anchoring that’s a midfield few will relish competing with. While Ings will initially provide that forgotten treasure of goals from the bench for the Merseysiders and as for his supposedly humble roots – didn’t John Aldridge come from Oxford? Rush from Chester?
This past seven days has been an extremely successful one for Liverpool in the transfer market. You just wouldn’t know it from the reaction of their fans.
Brendan knows though. The window is only just ajar and already he is streaking ahead of his rivals.
Liverpool are 9/4 to make the top four next season. Will Ings and Milner help them do it? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting @Betfair!