The signing of Virgil Van Dijk means that since the winter transfer window began in 2003, Liverpool have recruited 23 players halfway through the season. Whilst current manager Jurgen Klopp has publicly spoken about his dislike of the January window, citing that the majority of time there are not the right players available to buy; he has confirmed three signings during his Liverpool reign, Steven Caulker on loan, Marko Grujic who would then be loaned back to Red Star Belgrade and now £75 million-man Virgil Van Dijk. With the reds now making a big move in the January transfer window, here is a look back at the top five transfers made in the first month of the year:
- Daniel Agger
Establishing himself as a Brondby first team player aged 19, Daniel Agger was clearly talented. A career tarnished by constant injuries meant that in his eight years on Merseyside, Agger only managed to accumulate 232 appearances; scoring 14 goals. Signed on the 12th January for £5.8 million; Rafa Benitez claimed that “He will be a Liverpool centre back for the next ten years.”
Despite his debut coming on 1st February 2006 in a 1-1 draw with Birmingham at home, Agger wouldn’t feature consistently for Liverpool until the start of the following season. In only his second game he scored Liverpool’s goal of the season with a fine strike from outside the box against West Ham on 26th August 2006. Agger had some big boots to fill, from the start of the 2006/07 season the Dane was soon the managers preferred centre half to pair Jamie Carragher, ousting Sami Hyypia in the process.
Injuries meant that Agger would soon have inconsistent runs in the Liverpool side, Martin Skrtel was brought in to cover for the always injured defender and soon Daniel Agger found himself as the third-choice centre back at Liverpool. It wouldn’t be until 2012/13 that Agger would regain his fitness fully and make 35 appearances in the Premier League, more than he had managed in any of his six full seasons as a Liverpool player.
Daniel Agger would make his final Liverpool appearance against Newcastle at home after the Premier League looked out of reach for the team, he would mark the occasion with a goal before moving back to Brondby in the following summer transfer window
- Javier Mascherano
Signed at first on loan on 30th January 2007, Mascherano would eventually complete a permanent move to Liverpool from West Ham for a fee of £18.6 million a year later. Mascherano would make his debut in a red shirt on 24th February 2007 as Liverpool thrashed Sheffield United 4-0 at Anfield. In the three years he was at the club Mascherano made 139 appearances in all competitions and with the role he played, wasn’t known for his goals and wasn’t expected to score any either; only notching one league goal against Reading in March 2008.
Despite not winning any silverware during his time at the club, Mascherano was a part of the best Liverpool sides in the past decade. During the 2007/08 season he was part of a midfield three consisting of the Argentine, Xabi Alonso and club captain Steven Gerrard with the likes of Pepe Reina, Fernando Torres and Jamie Carragher also starting as Liverpool ran United close in the race for the title, eventually finishing second to their north-west rivals.
Mascherano would later get his revenge on the Manchester club however, after joining Barcelona from Liverpool he would win the Champions League with his new club, beating Manchester United in the final. In an interview after the game he dedicated the win to all the Liverpool fans after the way he had left the club the previous summer.
- Daniel Sturridge
Only one of two players on this list to still be at the club, Daniel Sturridge was an inspired January signing by Brendan Rodgers. Sturridge hit the ground running at Liverpool by scoring on his debut against Mansfield Town. Since then he has scored 48 league goals at the club in just 98 appearances and formed one part of the ‘SAS’ one of the deadliest Premier League striking partnerships in 2013/14. He scored 21 league goals in that season; second only to partner Suarez as Liverpool fell just short of their first Premier League title in 25 years.
Similar to Virgil Van Dijk, the transfer of Daniel Sturridge to Liverpool went through really early in the window. It was on the 2nd January that he became a Liverpool player for a fee of £12 million and his first game in the side would come just four days later. Since that incredible 2013/14 season, Sturridge’s Liverpool career has been marred by injuries, the season after Liverpool’s title run star man Luis Suarez was sold to Barcelona and it was expected that Daniel Sturridge would take over as the team’s star man. Constant reoccurrence of injuries meant that during 2014/15 Sturridge only made 19 appearances in all competitions and Liverpool had to rely on new signings Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert for the majority of the season.
- Philippe Coutinho
The second player on the list to still be at the club (but who knows for how long), Phil Coutinho has proved to be one of the biggest steals in recent football history. Signed for just £8.5 million in the same window as Daniel Sturridge in 2013 Liverpool could be looking to make a £150 million profit if recent reports are to be believed. Whilst the little magician was clearly a great player for Liverpool, his form could be inconsistent at times; that was until this season where the Brazilian has been in a class of his own for Liverpool, contributing to 12 goals and 9 assists in 20 appearances this season. By comparison, the biggest contribution that the midfielder had made in a single season was 14 goals and 9 assists in 36 total appearances last season.
With a move to Barcelona seemingly on the horizon, Coutinho can look back on his four years at the club as a successful one despite the lack of silverware. In his time at Liverpool he was a part of the 2013/14 squad that came so close to the league title and got to the final of the Capital One Cup and Europa League before falling short at the final hurdle. His time at Liverpool signified the Brazilian getting his career back on track; having been dubbed as Inter Milan’s next big player he soon failed to live up to expectation hence the reason why the Italian club shipped him off to Liverpool for such a cheap fee. Each season Coutinho has been getting better and better and he is now well and truly living up to his full potential as a world class footballer. As mentioned it is looking increasingly likely that Coutinho will get his move to Barcelona and hopefully for him his career will kick on and the little magician will be able to show off some silverware that a player of his ability deserves.
- Luis Suarez
By far the best signing that Liverpool have ever made in the January transfer window, Suarez followed a similar path to what Phil Coutinho is going through at the moment. Inconsistent showings but clear talent in his early Liverpool days, met by a transfer request which was rejected and the player entering the form of their life in that following season. The signing of Luis Suarez from Ajax went slightly under the radar in the January of 2011 as the higher profile move of Fernando Torres to Chelsea and Andy Carroll to Liverpool as the Spaniards replacement took the news headlines. Signed for £22 million the Uruguayan would score on his debut as he came off the bench at home to Stoke city and would score 82 times in all competitions in 133 Liverpool appearances. Whilst there have been three members of the 2013/14 squad in this list, Suarez was at the pinnacle of the title charge; in that season he contributed to 31 goals and 24 assists in just 37 appearances in all competitions and was named the PFA Player of the year for the season before his move to Barcelona.
During his time at Liverpool, he had built up a notorious reputation in the Premier League. Punished for racism and biting by the FA it was clear that Suarez hadn’t learnt his lesson as Uruguay came up against Italy in the 2014 World Cup. Suarez bit Chiellini and was subsequently banned from all footballing activity for four months, this move meant that he wouldn’t make his Barcelona debut until 25th October in the El Clasico against rivals Real Madrid.
Since his move to Barcelona Suarez has had tons of success for the Catalan club, winning one Champions League trophy, two league winners medals and three Copa Del Ray winners medals.
Article by Louis Connor
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