Agree with giving Kenny and his signings time and patience, especially the younger players, and have posted to that effect a few times, but Xabi and Skrtel performed to a good level from the get - go, Skrtel's form dropped after the two major injuries (knee against City) and then jaw against Carragher, Xabi's performances dipped a bit in his third and fourth seasons iirc, then went back up. Lucas is true.
If you read carefully - you can see I said they developed into GREAT players with time. I have always been a huge fan of those three players and defended them when they were attacked on forums for various reasons. Alonso and Skrtel had good start and great performances - but it took time for them to develop into great players. Just like it will take with Henderson and Carroll.
While the gist of some of what you're saying is true, asking a fan on a forum to provide an alternative signing (+wage costs ha) in an attempt to convince (yourself, more than anything?) that the underwhelming signings so far are among the best we could have gone for has to be one of the most bizarre things i've read on here. Not to mention the tedious repetition.
This is what happens when you take things out of context and only read a single post - you miss how the discussion developed to the point you are addressing. I asked those posters who repeatedly claim there were many, many, plenty, plenty of better options and never say a single name - not one. I ask for accounting for wages because many posters say stuff like for the same money as Carroll we could have Aguero etc. Ignoring the last-day circumstances of Carroll's purchase and even assuming Aguero would come to Liverpool, this is simply incorrect as Carroll cost 35 mil and his wages are max £90k a week - this makes it just over £60 mil for the five and a half years of his contract (at this wages). Aguero cost 38 mil and his wages are min. £160k a week - this makes it £80 mil over 5 years (and it is likely his wages are more). At £220k (reasonable estimate, considering the money city pay, his Atletico wages and UK tax differences) Aguero would have cost £95.2m.
What a fan has access to (unless there are actually professional scouts posting on here) is clear enough. If we're linked strongly to a player, then if you've watched enough of him, you can judge his individual quality. Applies particularly to English league players who many would have seen more than once due to them being in competition against us. Once the player is here, you can judge his quality in a Liverpool shirt and his fit with the club. Beyond, that, it's speculation. Including the reasons you give for why certain players absolutely could not have signed for Liverpool. There's some merit in saying clubs with Champions league or can offer better wages are a better prospect, but making that a certainty to rubbish claims that we could have gone for certain players is poor judgement. Ne one outside knows the situation at the negotiating table, we don't even know for certain whether Henry et all wouldn't be willing to sanction a higher wage level for a top level player.
If a fan makes claims that we could have made many many, plenty plenty better signings- they must be prepared to give an example. If they constanty refuse - all it is is speculation. The facts are - we are no longer as attractive to players as we used to be and if you read my posts from the start of the discussion - you would have seen me list the reasons. I will repeat them here:
1: there used to be four teams competing for four place (with little real challenge from Everton, Villa). We had guaranteed CL football until two years ago when we fell out of the top four due to H&G allowing Spurs to take our place.
2: Now there are 6-7 teams competing and because of well known reasons we have been left behind. We can no longer offer guaranteed CL football. Most of the top players that are constantly mentioned here want to play in CL - or at least have a high chance to get to CL after one year.
3: We dodged administration recently and the new owners are not coming in like Mansoor/Abramovich, they have their own ideas how to select players and run the club for the long-term - this is not that attractive to players in their prime as it is a plan to rebuild the club rather than do Chelsea or City.
4: In recent years we sold our best players. Torres summed it all up for us when he explained why he wanted to go. He did not want to wait 2-3 years for us to have time to rebuild. He disagreed with sales of Alonso, Masherano and not replacing them with the same or better class of player. He saw a coach that won things replaced by one that never won anything and after that with a caretaker. He was disappointed we were out of all challenges for trophies long before MU, Chelsea and Arsenal for most of his time with us. He is still a big name and don't forget, even Reina was almost gone last year because he lost faith in the club. The truth is we are not as atractive to players as we used to be because we don't have CL, we don't have the highest wages, we didn't have trophies to show, our best players left or wanted to leave.
The facetious answer to your question of 'who, who who' is to provide a list of good signings that any club who finished below us (poorer attraction in a black and white world?) last season made in the window in all the major leagues. They're performing better than Carroll, Hendo, Downing and Adam aren't they?
Who, who, who are they? How can I answer you if you don't mention them?
Furthermore, how would you have reacted if Liverpool signed Larsson on a free? Or Demba Ba, a crock from relegated West Ham on a free?
But then, you know as well as I do that's a 10 year old's way of looking at things. When you sign a player, there are a lot of factors that determine whether he can be a a successs - other than this quality, his mentality, his comfort level being at the club, the set up of teams who come up against his new team among other things - similar to how Downing did for Villa in contrast to how he's done for us this season, how N'zogbia does for Villa this season doesn't indicate much on how he would have done for us. What is usually constant and can be relied on is the player's quality: some of us pointed out in the summer thread on Downing that he was reluctant to take on his man, and that would be a serious problem if he were to play for Liverpool due to the deep set-ups of opponents / lack of counter-attacking opportunities against teams who play against us. N'zogbia is far more willing to run with the ball and be direct, so it could have worked out better. Downing suited Villa due to the space he got there and the set up of their team, N'zogbia may have suited us.
Do you really thing that professionals at our club who were making the decissions overlooked such things?
Of course we will never know what would have happened, but that is the point - it is easy to imagine that N'Zogbia would have been great at Liverpool, but you have no basis to suggest that. More speculation.
It's things like that where a manager in the market can distinguish himself with his signings, picking up players where their recent form belies a better fit for the new manager's club.
I think it's important to give more than a season to the manager when he's shown his quality already, as Kenny has in periods (caretaker season and trophy won now), but there has to be a clear eyed approach to his signings. The best ones we have made are usually players that quite a few didn't know much of beforehand, signings like Hypia, Riise from Ged, Arbeloa, Alonso, Skrtel from Rafa . In fact, from memory I would put the players who I didn't really know much of but turned out a good bit of business to outnumber those who came with big reputations and succeeded at Liverpool. In light of that, seeing the borders of a fan's knowledge, including yourself, using that as a base to support the club's signings is misleading, although the idea of being patient with some of those players is right. Under the right tutelage, Henderson for example can improve in a centre midfield spot. I would hope he is given that opportunitiy.
It is easy to forget that Kenny come to a club that was a pure mess. His first role was to salvage what he can from the demoralised squad. He has done brilliantly. When he took over - we almost made it to the top four - but so many fan were bleating about poor performances in Europa league and against some 'weak' teams that cost us Europa glory and the 4th place... forgetting that we were talking about avoiding relegation before he took over! Torres left, Gerrard was first red carded, then injured - Kenny had to play with 17 year olds and had very little options on the bench. In the summer- the signings were made with to stabilise the club, to build the squad whilst cutting out the dead wood, reducing wage bill and releasing players who did not want to or were not good enough to play for Liverpool. We were clearly told by owners- they have a longterm plan and a clear strategy they want to use - you may disagree with it and see flaws in it - but it is their right to try something they believe in. The clear logic behind our signings was in bringing players that will create chances (and integrate Carroll) and are home grown - to settle in faster ( the club is still trying to stabilise) and in anticipation of home-grown requirements. Rebuilding a team is a mammoth task, it is unreasonable to expect it to happen over night.
I do take your point that the best signings are usually cheaper and no-one knows about them beforehand, but again, it is not that easy - these type of signings are rare, very rare. It is no good speculating that there is someone out there. You can only name of a few from the past fifteen years and for every Lucas there is a Plessis. For every Riise there is a Degen. For every Alonso there is a Babel. Thinking about it, I'd argue that Coates, Henderson and even Enrique could all fit the bill as an unknown/underrated signings with great potential. So far only Enrique has really impressed, but rarely do these type of players burst onto the scene. Give them time and Henderson, Coates and Carroll will (hopefully) blossom. Potential requires patience. They are cheaper for a reason and they all take time to settle into a team and develop into the player the manager felt they could become. None of the players signed by Ged and Rafa that you mentioned were instant superstars the moment they hit the first team. If you expect every signing to be perfect, then you are holding the manager to an impossible standard and will always be disappointed.
When you actually look at how we performed, we have outplayed all the teams above us ( and yes, our poor goal-scoring form cost us there as well). Should have beaten Utd, City, Spurs, Arsenal at home in the league, we came away with only three points rather than twelve due to poor finishing. This is a frustration to us all, as are the draws to Swansea, Norwich, Blackburn, but it will frustrate no-one more than Kenny.
We won the first trophy and have a chance for another one. We have played, with exception of 3-4 matches, some attractive football; with just a little more clinical finishing would see us firmly in top four place. All those really poor signings people are going on about are new to the club, did not come to established team and never played at our level before. It would be much easier for them to perform better if the new players were introduced at the rate of one or two at the time into an established team, but this is not the case. When you look at City squad - you will find they also have players from Villa, Middlesborough and that even the most expensive signings took some time to gel with the team (Silva, Dzeko, Nasri) - and they are now three years into rebuilding - with much more investment and the type of player people here dream about - and still struggling to be as dominant in reality as they are on paper.
That said, I imagine the approach the owners take with their outlay is far more straightforward and speculation-free. They've sanctioned deals for certain amounts for certain players, if the players haven't significantly improved the club which is the case for all except Luis, Enrique and Bellamy imo,...if they are good owners, they'll be willing to give their management team more than a season and will back them with funds, they'll wait to see for a pattern to develop to gauge the management's quality. Hopefully that's the case. But if, again, this time next season, the new players signed / current players haven't helped improve the club, it's in their right to review Kenny's position. It won't be because we did the best with what we could in signing players, the transfer market is a lot wider than one fan on a message board's knowledge, it will be that we didn't do it well enough. No amount of arguments made for his signings, even the most ambitious of arguments, are any use in the real world. Results or you out. As it should be.
Talking about Kenny's position at this point is ridiculous and I will not engage in that. The club is now run differently - commercial side is improving, debts are cleared. We spent only what we earned. We have our first trophy. We have better working academy and hopefully will reap the benefits soon. We are right on track and yes, would be nice to have more points in the league, especially as our performances have improved so much - but this will come with confidence, with the team gelling more. I feel the club is in safe hands of people who know what they are doing - despite so many online experts knowing better.
Most of this angst (from everyone) is due to an unlucky defeat to Arsenal followed by one poor performance against Sunderland resurgent under MO'N who have beaten City and Arsenal (FA cup) there this season. When we beat Everton tomorrow, I suspect the mood will be very different.
Also, even though you didn't give me any names, thanks for being the first person to at least attempt to answer my question.