Carroll, Suarez faces challenge to replace Torres
Liverpool completed an unexpected record-breaking final day of the January transfer window by signing Newcastle's Andy Carroll for £35m to offset the loss of Fernando Torres to Chelsea.
Having broken their transfer record earlier in the evening with confirmation of the completion of Luis Suarez's £22.8m move from Ajax the Reds eclipsed that with the capture of Carroll. Chelsea returned today with a £50m offer for Torres, having had a £35m bid rejected on Thursday, and with the player having handed in a transfer request the Reds eventually decided to cash in.
However, even with the arrival of Suarez they could not sanction the Torres deal without having a replacement but after their initial offer to Newcastle of £30m was turned down an improved one was accepted after Carroll asked for a transfer. With Torres already on his way to London a few hours later Carroll slipped seamlessly into the void left by the Spain international, even inheriting his number nine shirt.
At 22 Carroll has the age advantage over Torres, 27 in March, and although his goalscoring record does not yet match up - with 34 in 91 matches for Newcastle and a brief loan spell at Preston - Liverpool's owners Fenway Sports Group are investing in the potential of a player who made his England debut last November.
He will form the new attacking partnership with Suarez, 24, whose prolific record in Dutch football - 111 goals in 159 matches - was one of the reasons he was Liverpool's primary target. His arrival has been somewhat overshadowed by Carroll's surprise signing and Torres' departure but Dalglish was keen for the Uruguay international not to be left out of the spotlight.
"I think he is a top player. He is a fantastic goalscorer," said the Reds boss of Suarez, who will wear the iconic number seven shirt synonymous with Dalglish the player. "He's a good leader and he was captain of Ajax, which is unusual for a forward to be captain - that tells us something really positive about the lad. He will come here and we'll try to get him playing the way he played at Ajax.
"We have to make sure that Luis Suarez, who is a fantastic footballer, is given due credit for coming in and the owners are given due credit for putting their hand in their pocket. Don't let that be lost with everything else that has gone on. He's someone who's been on our radar for a while and someone who can only add to this club."
Dalglish thanked the owners for their huge support in a transfer window in which they had not planned to be that active, if at all, and probably would not have been had they not been forced to sack Roy Hodgson after difficulties on the pitch continued. The fact the Americans have backed Dalglish so heavily suggests they consider 59-year-old has a long-term future as manager, having initially been appointed until the end of the season.
"The owners have been absolutely fantastic in their support during the transfer window," said the club legend. "Our reassurance for the supporters out there is that they are really determined to get the club moving forward and I think a great indication of that is the signing of Luis Suarez. It's not a PR exercise either, it's a real determination from [the owners] to step forward and move Liverpool Football Club forwards and upwards."
The day began inauspiciously with defender Paul Konchesky going on an "emergency" loan to Championship side Nottingham Forest until the end of the season. Konchesky, who only arrived at Anfield on August transfer deadline day, was intrinsically linked to Roy Hodgson's failed six-month reign and lost his place to Glen Johnson playing out of position at left-back.
"There was talk of me going back to Fulham and it didn't happen," he said. "It was a tough start [at Liverpool] and then the manager that took me there got the sack and it was a big change. But that's part of life. I had to go to try it and it hasn't worked out."
Reserve team centre-back Daniel Ayala was due to go on loan to Derby but he will now remain on Merseyside to continue rehabilitation from a hamstring injury with a view to joining the Rams on emergency loan. Coventry's 17-year-old midfielder Conor Thomas has joined Liverpool's reserves on loan until May.