There’s an old saying that you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. But this is what Brendan Rodgers has to try to do with Stewart Downing.
His record last season was zero goals and zero assists. Apart from one decent season at Villa, his ‘previous’ was hardly spectacular (his last season at Boro and first at Villa yielded a hardly impressive 2 goals and 4 assists from 62 games). Yet ‘King Kenny’ and Damien Comolli between them managed to spend £20m on him.
If he was sold tomorrow, he probably wouldn’t bring in much more than £5m. So what to do? With the arrival of Assaidi and the emergence of Sterling, he is not going to start a game as first choice- not in midfield any way. To sell him would mean an embarrassing loss. So the manager has to tryto find something for him.
Perhaps he might make a decent full-back, but many fans remain to be convinced and it smacks of desperation.
But then again, Brendan Rodgers is finding other problems left from his predecessors. An over the hill Joe Cole on wages that mean he isn’t going anywhere. Jordan Henderson, who may have ‘promise’, but if you spend £16m on a player you expect the finished article.
Then there is another midfielder who looked good at a club that was relegated in Adam; and a striker who cost twice his value and to sell will involve a huge loss in Carroll. A loan deal, most likely according to the latest reports, will not do the club any favours financially.
Yet, despite this, there are still people on the fans forums who are monotonously going on about how ‘King Kenny’ was badly treated and how he and Steve Clarke would have attained a top four finish this season.
The villain of the piece, according to this view, is Damien Comolli. It was him, the Dalglish worshippers argue, who negotiated the prices of these players. What the apologists don’t acknowledge is that Dalglish agreed who they should be. Apart from Liverpool, there wasn’t exactly a queue of clubs beating a path to the door of Blackpool, Villa or Sunderland.
The fact is that, even if they had been much cheaper, Downing, Henderson and Adam were simply not good enough for a team that wants to challenge for the top four. I reserve Judgement on Carroll and think he was badly done by.
The new manager has had to start a season with a lack of real quality in some areas of the pitch and (apparently) limited funds to do anything about. It is difficult to ‘sell to buy’ when nobody really wants the goods on offer.
The ‘silk purse to sow’s ear applies in many ways to the squad as a whole, and not just Downing.
Are Liverpool hamstrung by their previous poor dealings? What would you like to see happen?
image: © dannymol