Brendan Rodgers has been speaking recently about his need to strengthen his Liverpool squad, with “players that can come straight in and improve our team”. Last year’s January purchases would appear to rank as some of the best made by any Premier League side.
Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho have, in just ten months individually at least tripled in value, and have yet to taste defeat in a competitive game starting together for the Reds. Can Rodgers mine for such quality in the upcoming transfer window? Let’s have a look at who is currently available and how they may improve the first team at Anfield.
Going through the side, one would deduce that Rodgers needs a replacement back-up goalkeeper, a midfielder and a striker that can also play on the flanks. More cover for the right and left full/ wing back positions, would also be desired, but is less necessary.
Simon Mignolet is quite rightly Liverpool’s number one, but Rodgers current back-ups are…how shall we put it, somewhat lacking in quality. Brad Jones has flattered to deceive, conceding twenty-one goals in just fifteen games last season and Danny Ward is still too young to put in between the sticks, were Mignolet to suffer from suspension or injury.
Liverpool were interested in former Irish international, Shay Given, at the close of the transfer window, but failed with a late bid. Rodgers is expected to revive his interest in Aston Villa’s third choice keeper, who will be available on a free transfer. Whilst not good enough to maintain a first choice role, he would be a more solid back-up for Mignolet, than either of the current options.
Liverpool’s lack of depth in the middle of the park is a concern to Rodgers, especially with Joe Allen yet to kick on in his Anfield career. An option that would be able to cover for Coutinho in the more attacking role would also be ideal. One player that would fit the bill is Derby County’s Will Hughes, with whom Rodgers has been linked with previously. In fact, Andre Wisdom’s recent loan move from Anfield, to Derby has been considered by many to be a sweetener for this deal to go through.
Hughes has been previously compared to a young Steven Gerrard, but the player himself reckons his style of play is much more in line with Barcelona midfielders, Andres Iniesta and Xavi. With four goals and two assists from his fifteen games so far this season, Hughes is a dynamic box to box midfielder, equally adept in defensive and attacking areas. Aged only eighteen, he would most likely ease his way into Rodgers plans, rather than be thrust directly into the first team.
There is also talk of interest in Newcastle United’s, cultured playmaker Yohan Cabaye, but with the French international also attracting attention from P.S.G., Arsenal and Barcelona, the Reds look set to miss out on his signature.
Rodgers has spoken of the desire to bring in established players, and it is with that in mind that the attacking position should be filled by P.S.G.’s Jeremy Menez. The French international’s versatility would allow him to play any attacking role for the Reds; attacking midfield, either wing, or anywhere in a front two or three. With the massive influx of players at the Parc de Princes, Menez has been restricted to just three starts for the Parisian side so far this season.
Still only twenty-six, the former Monaco man would bring an abundance of experience to Liverpool’s youthful attack, with Luis Suarez the only current forward who has racked up any Champions League playing time. A fee of about twelve million pounds should be enough to secure the out of favor Frenchman.
Although Liverpool are currently in second place in the league, a Champions League spot is the least that the Reds would hope for, from a season that has begun so promisingly. With these players on the books, Brendan Rodgers would have a much more robust squad to call on, and a higher caliber of replacements for injuries to their key players.
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