Well, we wanted a winger, especially with Benayoun’s sub-standard performances on the left in the past few games. Now Liverpool’s close to finalizing a deal for Albert Riera, an out-and-out left winger, subject to a medical and agreeing personal terms. The Liverpool Echo reports the fee’s “in excess of £8m,” which is a steal compared to Espanyol’s previous demand that any club meet Riera's buy-out clause, which is £16m.
Riera’s 19 appearances on-loan at Manchester City in 05-06 isn’t a fair judge of how he’ll bed into this Liverpool side and the Premier League in general. One, Pearce’s side started the season well, but absolutely fell apart in the second half and finished in 15th. Not the most stable club to move to at the age of 23 for his first experience in English football. It’s little surprise he didn’t make an impact there.
But more importantly, with Benitez and the Spanish lads at the club, Riera should settle far quicker. I’m not suggesting he’ll adapt as well as, say, Fernando Torres, but there’s certainly a precedent. Mascherano couldn’t get a game at West Ham; look at the impact he’s had at Liverpool.
And finally, let’s take this opportunity to again laugh at Everton, who were pipped to this signing just like they were in the case of Momo Sissoko. And what makes this even funnier is some media reports claim Everton offered a higher fee, only for the player to insist on a move to Merseyside’s better half. It couldn’t have hurt that Espanyol’s sporting director is Paco Herrera, who was a coach at Liverpool from 2004 to 2006.
Riera can’t start out on a much better foot.
Preview for the Liege match up sometime this afternoon or early evening.