Time to conclude the look into how the new players in Liverpool FC has fared so far. Five newcomers has been under the microscope, now we turn to Emre Can, Lazar Markovic and Mario Balotelli. None of them has, regrettably, set the world alight.
• Emre Can, signed for £10m from Bayer Leverkusen.
Brought in to be a defensive monster in midfield. He played quite a lot, and well, in pre-season and seemed to have made the starting eleven. But when the regular season started he didn´t get any pitch-time in the first league match and in the following two he replaced Joe Allen twice coming in from the bench in the scond half. And after that he was injured and has not returned yet.
So the 20-year old German with Turkish roots has not been able to show what he can do. Even if he had stayed fit it would have been a lot to ask from such a young guy to be the anchor man in midfield in a big club like Liverpool. Perhaps he can be in the future, he certainly has got the physical attributes, but right now he nothing but an unknown quantity. Okay, he played a lot of games for Leverkuen last season and has represented Germany at a number of levels but not until he has played some matches for the Reds is it possible to know if he is going to make it at Anfield.
• Lazar Markovic, signed for £20m from Benfica.
Another 20-year old with a incredibly huge transfer fee weighing him down. It´s namely plausible to think that the pretty penny paid for him is holding the Serb back. So far Markovic has hardly showed anything to justify his price tag. Only a few pacy runs has indicated that he can be a threat to opposing defences. His contrubution has otherwise been sparse. Has bottled a few goalscoring chances and is drifting out of matches for long periods. His game-time has also held him back. Two starts and two subtitutions in in the league is nothing to build anything on.
The opinions about him was divided among experts when he arrived. Some people said Liverpool had signed a gem, others claimed it was a waste of money. At present the latter is the correct statement. But it´s too early to dismiss the winger cum attacker. He has just left his teens and can still be a valuable player for the Reds. Time will tell but right now the prospects doesn´t look so good. And to pay so much money for him was undoubtely a gamble of russian roulette proportions.
• Mario Balotelli, signed for £16m from Milan.
Talking of gambling with money and the name Balotelli pops up in a flash. The self-willed Italian is only 24 but has already made an name for himself both on and off the football field. When he played for Manchester City 2010-2013 you never knew what you would get. A lazy 90 minutes or a world class display. It was more of the former and some odd things off the pitch meant City sent him packing. In Milan he was calmer and played quite well and scored a decent amount of goals.
Many says Liverpool is his last chance saloon. So far the saloon door is more than ajar and Balotelli is standing in the doorway on his way out. Okay, perhaps he´s not so close to leaving but the talented striker must show a lot more to justify a longer stay with Liverpool. No league goals yet and only a couple of performances better than average is not of required standard. He can be menace, he can work hard, he has shown that. But he can also be infuriatingly uninterested and too selfish in his actions. Hopefully manager Brendan Rodgers can drive him in the right direction. Then he can be a top striker for the Reds. Right now he is nothing of the sort.
The verdict on these three newcomers is thumbs down. None of them has convinced that they are made for Liverpool or Liverpool made for them. (Sorry Shanks for loaning your words). But it´s early doors so let´s hope they can come good, stay inside the Kop door and declare:
We Go Again.