“Premier League Proven” Proves NOTHING!

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Nothing quite grinds Liverpool fans’ gears like the words “Outstanding” or “Character”. However, that doesn’t stop Brendan Rodgers from using them at every opportunity presented to him. The reason why those phrases get fans backs up against the wall is because they’re simply not true. We are not outstanding, haven’t been all season. We certainly don’t show character when the chips are down or when we’ve played a high-pressure game; we’ve bottled it and that’s putting it politely. This season has been far from great, and I can’t help but wonder:

“Is it because our manager favours Premier League proven players as a top priority when targeting transfers?”

Now being a Liverpool fan I detest this “Premier League Proven” phrase more than any other. It’s certainly done its rounds on Twitter by the fan base. If recent history has taught us anything we should steer clear from such a label. Just look at Downing, Adam, Carroll and more recently Lallana and Lovren, you could even throw Balotelli into the mix of flopped Premier League proven players. I look at those players and shudder at how woeful we’ve been in the transfer market. I find it impossible that any manager be it Dalglish or Rodgers would genuinely believe that these said players are the solution and saviour of this great football club. As far as I’m concerned Premier League Proven means mediocre, limited technical ability and massively overpriced players because they’re either home grown players or because they’re settled in England. These said proven players that we have bought come from mid-table teams too, so how do they add depth and value to Liverpool Football Club? If I can see it, the average fan can see it, why can’t our manager see it?

Premier League Proven

Now, I’ve given this a lot of thought and I personally believe Rodgers doesn’t believe in the hype of “Premier League Proven” talent. It’s more the case of playing the hand that he’s been dealt with. The hand being, he doesn’t have the pull over European players because he’s not a big name in European Football. He knows deep down he can never attract players from other leagues and without a Director of Football (someone he refuses to work with) it makes recruiting even more difficult.

He’s tried, and god loves a trier. We only have to rewind back to last summer. Suarez was on his way out and Brendan wanted Sanchez as his immediate replacement. Wanting and getting, are of course two very different things, we all know what happened, Sanchez shunned Brendan and opted to go to Arsenal. Lets be honest, Brendan would never have dreamt of going for the former Barca man after his first season in charge of Liverpool. He wouldn’t have the confidence after his modest 7th place finish in the league. However, last summer was a different story, the confidence was high as he’d overachieved and he decided to treat himself to a luxury player as he thought he had the goods to persuade the Chilean to make the move to Anfield.

It’s the football equivalent of getting a big promotion at work and you decide to treat yourself with a new power suit to go with your new found high status within your industry. So you walk into Dolce and Gabbana. pick the on-season trend garment, try it on, it fits like a glove and it looks good. You take it to the cash register and during the transaction your credit card is declined. Your custom isn’t good enough for the top end stores so you have to face reality and go back to shopping in High Street stores. You impulsively pay similar money to buy an Adam Lallana, the football equivalent of a Next suit, and then you have to pretend that you’re happy with your low quality item but you have to save face in public to hide the embarrassment.

Lallana Vs Sanchez

Thanks to the stats from Squawka.com we can see the difference in buying from a High Street store like Next or designer house like Dolce and Gabbana. The stats clearly show that Sanchez has totally out-performed Lallana in the Premier League this season. Note, Sanchez arrived from La Liga after an impressive World Cup showing and had never played in the Premier League before. This is one example of how the “Premier League Proven” status is an urban myth and Liverpool should look to foreign shores to bolster their squad.

The same principles apply to football, and certainly Brendan Rodgers. Last summer he had the world at his feet, his stock had raised, he thought he’d turned from a nobody into a somebody over the course of the season, and he was bold enough to bid for Alexis Sanchez. However the rejection has probably left a psychological scar on Rodgers and he feels safe bidding for players in the Premier League as he has more of a chance of signing them. Whilst deep down he would like to sign the high-end players the sad reality is that he can’t make it past the doorman, aka the agent, and he’s likely not going to ever make it past the first hurdle if he insists on working on his own without a Director Of Football watching over him. It’s a frustrating time for Liverpool fans as we all know too well how these so called “Premier League Proven” players don’t perform at our great club and our manager who has tricked himself into believing that these said targets will help us progress. Whichever way you look at it, it’s going to be a long transfer window, so fasten your seat-belts because if Brendan has his way he’ll be hitting the charity shops and be bringing back the likes of Ings and Milner.

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  1. Nina Kauser – will you marry me? You don’t even have to move here to Maryland. Your article was dead-on — even though it’s depressing as heck to think how this summer will turn out if the Befuddled One is still in charge and “like any manager…will have the first call on a player and the last call” on any transfers. God in heaven: next season could be worse than this one.

    • Fantastic article! Another point that I would like to bring up is that British managers generally falls into the same category of Premiere League Proven which means, forgive me, shitty quality. I honestly believe that BR is not able to maximize the talents in his squad. LFC needs to find a proven manager from overseas in order for LFC to return to being a constant top 3 EPL teams.

    • no dude, i am after her… 😀
      anyways, points are correct… But behind every Balotelli and Lambert, there are Rooney, Van Persie; every Rodwell is answered by Gerrard… And for Lovren, Gary Cahill,Ferdinand are a neat response..

      Its a gamble, but yes, history suggests that the Premier League proven players often fail… But there is nothing you can do about it..

      As for Lallana, i find it harsh that people keep blaming on him. Team isnt built around him- instead it is Coutinho and Sterling, he is often played out of position, injuried for a majority…

      Still, 6 goals and 3 assists this season vs 9 goals and 5 assist last term…. Not bad. eh?

      ps- im a blogger as well.. so i have an advantage over you! 😉

    • Lallana will be a big player for us next season if he can remain fit – he’s actually been very impressive for anyone who’s watched him closely when he hasn’t been nursing an injury.

  2. I don’t recall too many crirics of Rogers last season. Yes, we overachieved and had the benefit of Suarez and a fit Sturridge, but he produced a system which suited the talents we had. This year he, or ‘the club’ have made the huge mistake of buying poorly with never any real hope of replacing Suarez and being able to play the same system – especially with Sturridge being unavailable, but he eventually hit on a system which at least haif-way worked mid season, for a while at least. These new systems don’t happen overnight. It takes time to make them work properly. Anyone who thinks otherwise is naiive or has another agenda. Credit him with finding one that worked with our depleted talent.
    Sadly with no CL this year buying will be tough and attracting world class players almost impossible. There is a lot of dead wood that should go – not all of it from last years purchases, but certainly some – Ballotelli, Lovren, Johnson, Allen, Sakho (scares me to death whenever he recieves the ball). Borini, Lambert and Lallana have never had enough game time and will never show their best with a few cameo appearances. Either give them a decent run to prove themselves or get rid – but at least be FAIR on them. Lallana is an excellent player who, with Coutinho can terrorise defences.
    Get rid of Sterling, spend the money more wisely and move on. You don’t become a poor manager overnight and Rogers deserves another season at least with all the problems that he had to contend with this season. However, good purchases will be vital.
    One more season for Rogers after narrowly missing out on the title last year? Not too much to ask is it

    • Completely agree with you on Rodgers and it’s nice to see someone judging lallana a little fairly for once -trust me he’s going to be a big player for us next season if he gets a good injury-free run. However, couldn’t disagree more on sakho, he’s without doubt the best centre back at the club and another player who we desperately need to remain fit for an extended period. Also, we should hold onto Allen as he’s a solid squad player (don’t fall into the trap of abusing him as many fans choose to,he’s an easy scapegoat but a reliable midfield option). As for borini and lambert, I’m afraid it appears that borini isn’t of the required quality and lambert just doesn’t fit our style of play and would seriously benefit from moving to a club where he fits in a lot better.

  3. I think this is close to spot on. One of the biggest differences for me between Liverpool and the other 4/5 teams pushing for top 4, is that we buy from “mid-table” clubs, rather than from our rivals, both in Europe and domestically. United bought RvP from Arsenal, City buy half of Arsenal yearly etc etc. Massive difference is the mentally of those players arriving from top clubs, vs. arriving from mid-table clubs. They’ve been proven to handle the pressure of playing at the top level, with the expectation. Just buying a Lallana type player is all well and good, but he’s never dealt with the expectation of it all. Sanchez has. That’s a huge difference in mentality. Obviously it’s not always the case – Di Maria springs to mind immediately, but I think it’s worth thinking about.


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