Sunday, January 22, 2012

Liverpool's British signings fail to justify transfer cost

Liverpool have spent somewhere in the neighborhood of £78.5 million in transfer fees on English players Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing, and Jordan Henderson and Scotsman Charlie Adam since the 2011 January transfer window. Carroll was brought in last January while Adam, Downing, and Henderson were all purchased over the summer. The table above looks at their respective transfer fees and offensive output after 22 games in the 2011-2012 Barclays Premier League season.

Liverpool currently sit 7th in the table. They have scored just 25 goals, 8th fewest in the league. Seeing as Carroll is a center forward and Adam, Downing, and Henderson are all fairly attack-minded midfielders, it’s safe to assume these four players were purchased for their ability to score and create goals. That Liverpool have struggled so heavily to do so must be frustrating to fans given the amount of cash they’ve splashed to improve their attack. Carroll, Downing, Henderson, and Adam have 71 league appearances between them this season (out of a possible 88). They have managed to score only 5 goals and generated just 6 assists. None have more than 2 goals. Adam, whose £7.5 million transfer fee makes him the cheapest of the four, has been the most productive with 2 goals and 4 assists, contributing to slightly less than a quarter of Liverpool’s goals (contribution to goals being defined as either scoring directly or assisting a goal). Stewart Downing has yet to register a goal or an assist despite playing in all but three of Liverpool’s league games. Carroll, with his £35 million transfer fee, has netted just twice and contributed to 12 percent of Liverpool’s goals. Henderson has just one goal and one assist. To determine the exact number of Liverpool goals the four have contributed to we’d have to figure out the goal scorers on each of their six total assists to avoid double counting. For instance, if Charlie Adam assisted one of Andy Carroll’s goals this would count as contribution to one total Liverpool goal and not two. If any of their six assists were to one of the other three players, than the four have contributed to fewer than 11 Liverpool goals. For the sake of this article, we’ll leave that data out. I think we can safely conclude that £78.5million is far too high a price for five goals and six assists.[1]

[1] Cristiano Ronaldo, whose £80 million transfer fee just exceeds the combined total Liverpool paid for Henderson, Adam, Carroll, and Downing, has already produced 21 goals and 6 assists in just 19 league games.

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