Back in January, few would have predicted Liverpool would be the Premier League's biggest spending team at the year's halfway point. Then again, few would have predicted Kenny Dalglish being the one to spend the money. Andy Carroll, Luis Suarez, and Jordan Henderson have all arrived for a combined total of more than £70m in the past six months, and there are murmurings of discontent from those who fear the money is being wasted on players who are simply not world-class.
I can understand this view, and as a Newcastle fan I would particularly like to mention that I don't think Andy Carroll is worth any more than £20m. But then, a big part of what Kenny Dalgish and co are gambling on is potential. Should these signings go on to be masterstrokes, they will either have helped Liverpool to the higher echelons of European football once again, or be poached for similar fees to which they initally cost. Should they all flop, which is already looking extremely unlikely in the case of Suarez in particular, they are at least young enough to rebild their careers elsewhere, and young enough to still attract large sums of money.
I think what Liverpool are doing is much more admirable than the lazy cherry-picking that Chelsea have resorted to do in recent times, with Fernando Torres at £50m looking increasingly like the move of a desperate man in Abramovich. While Chelsea-esque amounts of money are being spent, each signing has still to prove themselves as top-class footballers to an extent, and they do not turn up at Anfield with trophies already in the bag. Success is there for the taking, and faith is there to be repaid. Many footbll fans have reacted with derision to Kenny Dalglish's extraordinary faith in British (and Urugayan) youth. Imagine the motivation that gives him and his players. All he has to say to them is - "Go out there and prove them all wrong. Prove we were right to break the bank to get you."
As for Liverpool's actual chances next year, I think they stand an excellent chance of returning to the top 4. Their failure to reach the Europa League could well be a massive blessing in disguise, and I think this alone will see them leapfrog Spurs back into 5th. There are still question marks over the whole current top 4 to an extent, and should Carroll and Suarez continue their blossoming partnership I think the Anfield boys will be well-placed to take advantage of any slip-ups.