Just over a week after the BBC Sport reported that Liverpool had offered £21 million for Diego Costa at the beginning of August, Atletico Madrid tied down the Brazilian to a new contract to keep him at the Vicente Calderon until 2018. But could Brendan Rodgers’ inability to land Costa come back to haunt him as the season progresses.7
While Liverpool have started the season well, they’ve been lacking bite and goals in the final third. They’ve scored three goals in their opening three fixtures; Costa has managed the same in his three La Liga’s matches too. Costa also has an 80% shot accuracy this season. Indeed, Daniel Sturridge has the same amount of goals as Costa and with Suarez still to return, you could forgive Liverpool fans for thinking missing out on Costa is not a particularly big deal.
Despite his quick fire start to the season, the Costa’s game has never just been about goals and, as Rodgers seeks someone with creativity to complement Phillipe Coutinho, Costa could have proved the ticket. Last season in La Liga, on top of his 10 goals, he laid on seven more, while also creating another 30 chances. He improved as the season went on as well.
The other side of his game is what would have made any large outlay on him a gamble. Like Suarez, Costa can be a loose cannon. He committed 62 fouls in the league last season, acquiring 11 bookings along the way – four more than any other player at either Atleti or Liverpool. He also saw red in the Europa League for a head butt against Viktoria Plzen and was involved in several controversial moments in the Madrid derby and against Sevilla in the Copa del Rey.
Costa famously said that he doesn’t take his work home with him, which Sid Lowe quipped in The Guardian as a good thing, because if he did he might “elbow his wife out the way on the stairs, shrug his shoulders as she lay on the floor and whisper insults to his children.”
Fortunately he looks to have found more maturity with a more central role since the departure of Radamel Falcao. Of course, the controversy will remain, it’s what makes him Diego Costa. But will Liverpool regret not persuading him to head to England? Probably not. Sturridge and Suarez should have enough firepower and, providing Suarez is there for whole season, Costa would not have been the answer to Rodgers’ questions over his squad.
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