Summers that boast major international tournaments always introduce a new star or two to the world at large, and this year we got an amazing introduction to new Liverpool striker Divock Origi as he helped Belgium to a the Quarter-Finals of the World Cup.
“For me, he can be one of the most exciting talents in world football. I genuinely believe that” Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers told the clubs official website following Origi’s unveiling. “”You see a lot of good players, but this kid – for 19 years of age – he burst onto the scene at the World Cup, but we’d tracked him before that, we’d seen him as a young player playing in the youth internationals.”
Ever since Jamie Carragher retired, Liverpool just haven’t looked the same at the back. For a team that once prided themselves on defensive solidarity, shipping 50-goals last season came as a shock to the system.
Maybe it lost them the title, maybe it didn’t — you can pretty much debate that until you’re blue in the face. Now matter what side of the fence you fall on, the fact of the matter is that Reds boss Brendan Rodgers wasn’t about to go through another season with his back line looking like mushy pudding and has spent a large portion of the summer tracking, negotiating and hashing out a deal Southampton for defender Dejan Lovren. These things take time, but as of yesterday, that chase is well and truly over.
If you can believe the increasing number of reports in the media today, it looks like QPR striker Loic Remy will be a Liverpool player in the coming days after both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur dropped out of the race to sign the talented Frenchman.
Those his wage demands may be a bit of a concern, his price-tag certainly isn’t; with the Reds on the cusp of selling Fabio Borini and Oussama Assaidi for a combined fee somewhere in the region of £21mil, the 27-year old is available for less than half of that with his buy-out clause for clubs who finished in the top four set at a mere £8.5mil – a figure, in all fairness, we shouldn’t have a problem shelling out.
Benfica winger Lazar Markovic became Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers fourth signing of the summer when he put pen to paper on a long term deal yesterday following a bid in the region of £20mil to secure his services.
The highly rated youngster made a number of waves in Portugal last year after trading Serbian side Partizan Belgrade for a decidedly sunnier climate. With a domestic treble in the bag and a spot booked in the Europa League final secured, the 20-year old was the subject of intense speculation linking him with a move away from Benfica after only one season in the Primera League. Although his likely destination appeared to be Chelsea with Jose Mourinho a known admirer of the speedy winger, it was Liverpool that won the race for his signature and the youngster couldn’t be more pleased.
I was at Anfield for his début v Stoke on a cold, dark winters night- sat in the corner of the Kop as he warmed up. I remember saying to my mate that he looked like a little boy lost. He tentatively acknowledged the applause as he loosened up- eagerly anticipating getting on the pitch. He looked like the new kid in the class. That lost look didn’t last long however…..
Albeit a slightly bumbled goal- he scored on his début, and as he jumped into the arms of Dirk Kuyt a few rows in front of me I also remember saying to my mate that “it’s going to happen for Suarez here”. You could hear it in the way that the crowd cheered that first goal. You could just feel it. Sometimes inside Anfield you get feelings that are different and almost in-explainable – almost spiritual. That’s what I felt the minute Luis Suarez took to the field. I just knew.