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Interesting snippet from the Guardian


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Number six on their list of six "Terrible Transfers"




6) Ian Rush (£2.8m, Juventus to Liverpool, 1988)


Coming back to Liverpool after that spell at Juventus – which wasn't the total disaster it's usually painted as, but that's an argument for another time – Ian Rush would win a league championship, two FA Cups (scoring four goals in two finals) and a League Cup. Scoring 90 times during his eight-year second stint at Anfield, he became the club's leading goalscorer; you can hardly finger the man as a waste of space.


But context is everything. And the wider picture tarnishes this transfer. The season Rush spent in Italy, 1987-88, coincided with the emergence of Liverpool's greatest-ever footballing side. Yet coincidence it most assuredly wasn't. Rush's replacement, John Aldridge, was a different sort of player: a poacher too, but better at bringing others into the attack. In a much more fluid, attacking side, this was a crucial difference. The return of Rush unbalanced the famous and wildly successful triumvirate of Aldo, John Barnes and Peter Beardsley. It didn't happen immediately, as Aldridge and Rush took turns to spearhead the side – but something had to give eventually, and with Rush the younger man by nearly three years, he was always going to win that particular battle.


Aldridge had no option but to move, leaving for Real Sociedad, where he would score 33 goals in 63 games. An impressive stat, but not quite as impressive as the one he'd totted up at Anfield, where he scored 50 times in 83 matches (0.60 goals per game). By comparison, Rush's legendary first stint at the club – unquestionably his peak – had produced 139 in 224 (0.62 goals per game). It's an instructive comparison, and a startling insight into what Liverpool lost – no, threw away.


It's worth reiterating: poor Rushie didn't do much wrong after his return – check that CV again – but Liverpool were never quite the same, Rush's transfer symbolic of the management's penchant for looking backwards rather than forwards. If anything else, it was this transfer, rather than anything your Grahams or Fergusons did, which began to make Liverpool look a tad unsteady up there on that old perch.

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