Friday 21 October 2016

Comolli: Liverpool taking big gamble on signings

Ex-Director of Football questions quantity of new faces

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will face huge pressure to succeed next season with the club spending big this summer
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will face huge pressure to succeed next season with the club spending big this summer
Former Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli with the club’s owner John W Henry in the foreground
Christian Benteke

Liverpool's former director of football Damien Comolli claims the club are risking a second successive season of disappointment with their summer transfer policy.

Comolli has questioned the wisdom of bringing in so many new players when such an approach failed to bring the desired results last year.

Liverpool's £32.5million signing of Christian Benteke this week took their number of new players for the summer to seven after deals for James Milner, Danny Ings, Adam Bogdan, Nathaniel Clyne, Roberto Firmino and Joe Gomez.

Some of the spending has been facilitated by the £49million sale of Raheem Sterling but Comolli fears the mistakes made after the club received £75million for Luis Suarez in 2014 could be repeated. Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Lazar Markovic were among last year's disappointments.

Comolli said: "Without talking about individual players, it is always a big risk to make so many changes during one transfer window.

"I thought it was a huge risk last year after selling Suarez and bringing in, I think, nine. Now they have decided to change a lot again and totally rebuild. That is always a massive, massive risk.

"They have bought in players who have got talent, but they are going to compete against some very settled teams.

"Arsenal, (Manchester) United, (Manchester) City and Chelsea are making some very subtle adjustments to their squad and Liverpool are changing everything every year. I'm not convinced it is the right approach. It is too much in two off-seasons." Comolli was brought in by Liverpool's owners Fenway Sports Group after their takeover of the club in 2010 but left 18 months later after mixed results in the transfer market.

Suarez was the headline success story during his tenure but other players such as Andy Carroll, Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing and Sebastian Coates made little or no impact at Anfield.

Jordan Henderson, signed for £16million in 2011, was also considered a disappointment at the time but has since blossomed to become one of the team's integral players and was appointed captain this summer.

He said: "When you gamble as much money as they did last summer, you have got to give players a chance, and changing everything again sends the message to the players brought in last summer that they will not get a chance.

"By the time everyone settles into the team, and the players coming from abroad get used to the Premier League, they might be well behind fourth place.

"It is a huge risk. If you look at the stability of City, Chelsea, Arsenal throughout the years - the proof is in the pudding."

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, meanwhile, has welcomed the arrival of his Belgium international team-mate Benteke.

Striker Benteke, 24, was the Reds' top target and has a good reputation in England after scoring 49 goals in 101 appearances for Aston Villa.

Mignolet told the club's website, www.liverpoolfc.com: "I'm very pleased that he's signed.

"I'm sure there'll be a lot of Belgian fans coming to Anfield next season. I'm looking forward to that.

"We had some good duels against each other with Aston Villa. I won't be challenging him any more, like I did last season, so that's nice!"

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