Have Liverpool FC overpaid for Downing, Henderson and Adam?

Henderson is just one player Liverpool FC have spent big money on this summerOn paper, these are excellent signings. Henderson created the 5th most chances of any player in the league last year, and Adam was just one place behind him on that particular list. Andy Carroll, probably the best header of the ball in the league after Didier Drogba’s decline, will be glad to know that last season, Stewart Downing put in 135 crosses, which is more than anyone else has managed in the past three seasons. Downing, incidentally, was the 4th highest chance creator, meaning Liverpool’s new trio were the 4th, 5th and 6th highest chance creators.

And they all have long term value too; Downing is the oldest, at 26, meaning he still has a good 4 years to go till his peak. The hallmarks of David Beckham were top notch positioning, and most importantly, fantastic crossing ability. Downing is as close to a natural successor as Beckham has had for England, though he is quicker than his celebrated predecessor (he does, obviously, lack the set piece quality that made Beckham one of the most famous people on earth, but we can’t hold that against Downing).

Charlie Adam is 25, so just coming into his best years, and has just had the season of his life, pulling the strings in undoubtedly the most attacking team in the league. His long distance passing range matches the best in the world, the likes of Xabi Alonso and Cesc Fabregas, but his consistency, fitness and defensive ability don’t match his Anfield predecessor, as a passing success rate of 66% and numerous penalties conceded will atone to. It is worth taking note, though, of what Sir Alex Ferguson exclaimed regarding his compatriot; ‘his corner kicks were worth £10million in themselves’.

With Adam pretty much a dead cert before the window opened, the signing of Henderson was a surprise to all. Capped for England already, the 21 year old shows skills similar to Steven Gerrard at the same age (as Steve Bruce said – ‘composed, athletic and powerful […] the best young British footballer there is’). A fatigued showing in the second half of the season and at the U-21 Euros have made many fans doubt his ability, but with Damien Comolli opting for a methodical, statistical approach in scouting players, Jordan Henderson blatantly has something special about him.

All of those players, however, have been at sides lower in the table, with lower quality players surrounding them, and training and playing with the likes of Gerrard, Suarez and Carroll will see an improvement too.

Charlie Adam’s stunning crossfield balls will make the most of Stewart Downing’s anticipation and movement, and in turn, he will be able to put in the accurate crosses for Andy Carroll to power home or nod down to the waiting Steven Gerrard. An alternate chain reaction could involve Alberto Aquilani could playing through a signature killer ball for Luis Suarez to cut back for Jordan Henderson’s late run. Raul Meireles, Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez went goal crazy under the Dalglish administration. The combinations and possibilities here are endless, and Liverpool will certainly become the neutral’s favoured team.

At the back end of last season, Liverpool were on a par with Manchester United and Chelsea in terms of points accumulated, but ahead of both teams in terms of attacking football, and this trio will only serve to further that gap. It is roughly £40million spent, but if that is enough to ensure that there is no reliance on Gerrard and Torres as there was for the last 3 years, then it’s well worth it.

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