Raul Meireles’ last-minute move to Chelsea was one of the major talking points on a frantic deadline day, as the Portuguese workhorse was reunited with former manager Andre Villas-Boas in a £12m deal. The energetic box-to-box midfielder stunned Reds’ fans as he submitted a written transfer request late on Wednesday night, but Liverpool were able to rid themselves of an unhappy player before the transfer window closed.
The Kop only began to appreciate Meireles’ talents following the arrival of Kenny Dalglish in January. Prior to that, Roy Hodgson’s costliest signing found it somewhat difficult to settle at Anfield, although this was largely down to the manager who played the former Porto man out of position on a number of occasions. But Meireles’ quality was there for all to see between January and February, when he scored five goals within the space of a month to help Liverpool climb the table.
But his time on Merseyside would soon come to an end after he fell behind summer signings Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam in the pecking order. Meireles has not started a Premier League game for Liverpool this season and although both he and Luis Suarez came off the bench to change the game at the Emirates Stadium a few weeks ago, he was obviously not Dalglish’s first-choice to play in the middle of the park.
Liverpool have coped relatively well without Meireles early on in the campaign, but his loss may come back to bite the Reds later on in the season. With Steven Gerrard injured and attacking midfielders Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani out on loan, the Anfield side do now arguably lack some creativity. However, the arrival of Craig Bellamy could atone for the loss of Meireles.
Bellamy jumped at a chance to return to Liverpool, just four years after he left Rafael Benitez’s Reds. The fiery Welshman became available on a free transfer after he agreed a settlement with former club Manchester City and will now bring some pace to Dalglish’s new-look side. Bellamy can play out wide or up front and his versatility will give the manager some interesting options in the months ahead.
The experienced, hard-working forward, who has scored 118 league goals in a 15-year career, will not be expected to play every week, but he will be appreciated by the management staff and particularly the coaches – Kevin Keen and Steve Clarke – he has worked with before. The boyhood Liverpool fan is also looking forward to teaming up with Dalglish.
This has been one of the most constructive transfer windows in Liverpool’s long history and within the space of just a few months Dalglish has managed to offload much of the deadwood and in doing so has significantly trimmed the wage bill. New arrivals have also excited the fans, who now believe that the Reds have a stronger squad than they have had for a few years. Whether it will be enough to mount a title challenge remains to be seen, however Liverpool will certainly be looking to claw their way back into the top-four following some excellent bits of business.
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