Are Liverpool struggling because Brendan Rodgers has signed too many Premier League players?

Liverpool are not doing very well this season. It has been a slow and disappointing start following their second placed finish last season. Liverpool have not built on this and having lost Luis Suarez it looks unlikely that they will realistically push Chelsea or Manchester City to win the Premier League. The absence of Suarez has been cited regularly as a reason why they are struggling. One factor though is Brendan Rodgers’ transfer policy and more specifically his insistence on buying Premier League players.

Signed fromCostRickie LambertSouthampton£4 millionAdam LallanaSouthampton£25 millionDejan LovrenSouthampton£20 millionSimon MignoletSunderland£9 millionKolo ToureManchester CityFreeJoe AllenSwansea£15 millionDaniel SturridgeChelsea£12 million

Rodgers in his three years at the club has spent £85 million on Premier League based players. He has also spent a further £26 million bringing in Mario Balotelli and Fabio Borini, both of whom have had Premier League experience in the past. Rodgers targets Premier League based players and has been building a side around them. The £50 million outlay on three players from Southampton this summer didn’t look like great business. Philippe Coutinho cost £9 million and plays the same role as the £25 million Lallana for example. It’s also worth noting that Lovren cost Southampton just £8 million a season prior.

The signing of Lovren for such an inflated transfer fee demonstrates how it is cheaper to buy players from abroad, than from the Premier League. This is point one. Rodgers hasn’t gotten good value in the market signing Premier League based players other than on an aging Rickie Lambert and on Daniel Sturridge, who must be seen as a bargain given his impact at the club. Mignolet’s form has slipped but £9 million wasn’t a great deal for him. The £60 million spent on Allen, Lallana and Lovren was a lot of money though. Greater value would have been available elsewhere.

The lack of value in Premier League players isn’t the only issue though. There is arguably a lack of quality in the Premier League as well as value, relative to other divisions. Chelsea for example raided La Liga, spending just two million more than what Liverpool paid for Lallana bringing in Cesc Fabregas (who hass won everything there is to win), a player of far greater pedigree. They also signed Atletico Madrid top goal scorer Diego Costa for £32 million. Arsenal similarly raided La Liga with Alexis Sanchez coming in for £35 million, he has made an instant impact and looks a really good signing. How badly Liverpool could do with him in attack (they did attempt to sign him apparently, but he preferred Arsenal).

Manchester United obviously didn’t get much good value this summer but they went for quality and got it paying £60 million for Angel Di Maria. Liverpool needed that big marquee signing to replace Luis Suarez and instead signed a few Premier League players plus Balotelli. It wasn’t good enough. There are a lot of reasons behind Liverpool’s relative struggles but a wealth of Premier League level players is one such factor. The general level of Premier League performers is low and without Suarez there is arguably no real world class talent in the league. Perhaps Hazard, Sergio Aguero and maybe Angel Di Maria are the level below, but it’s not what it once was. Rodgers should have looked further afield and been more decisive, really looking to bring a marquee player in from abroad. Failure to do so is costing Liverpool.

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