Andy Carroll, Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing, Fabio Borini, Oussama Assaidi and Alexander Doni are some of the signings which come to mind which have not worked out. There have been exceptions such as Luis Suarez and the ever improving Jordan Henderson.
The January transfer window saw two exciting youngsters, Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge, who were deemed surplus by their respective clubs, join Liverpool for a combined fee of £20.5million. Though it’s still early days their combined fee looks like one of the bargains of the century. Sturridge scored an impressive 10 goals in 14 Premier League appearances, while Coutinho has recorded 5 assists and 3 goals in 12 games since joining the Reds.
The capture of these two youngsters has given the Kop a glimmer of hope for the upcoming season and with that in mind it makes the upcoming transfer window one which will be filled with uncertainty as far as Liverpool fans are concerned.
For a side which over the past season flittered from championship winning form one week, to resembling a mid-table team the next, signings must be made in key areas if they are to improve and fight for a top four place.
Liverpool scored 71 goals this season compared to just 47 last season and conceded 43 goals as compared to 40 last season representing a goal difference of +28, which was a significant improvement from last season’s goal difference of +7. Only Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea scored more. This is a testimony that Brendan Rodgers’ project is heading in the right direction, though the league position says otherwise.
In my opinion the area which needs to improve the most if Liverpool is to challenge for the top four and domestic cups is the defence.
The retirement of Jamie Carragher who has been as solid as any defender in the 21st century represents the first headache as far as replacing him is concerned. Players of Carra’s stature are irreplaceable and whoever is going to be brought in surely has big boots to fill.
Two names have been thrown around the papers as potential replacements: former Man City captain Kolo Toure and 21 year old Schalke defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos. The main concern at Anfield is finding someone with Carra’s experience and that’s why Kolo Toure has been drafted in.
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Kolo Toure is a free agent and comes with a wealth of experience and leadership which is much needed by a current squad which has an average age of 23. At 32 he is a two-time Premier League winner with Arsenal and Man City, has played in the Champions League final, and won the FA Cup twice.
With Martin Skrtel being linked with a move away from Anfield the capture of an experienced proven defender who will bring about leadership qualities into the dressing room was top of Rodgers’ priorities this summer.
Papadopoulos is more of a long term fix as he is only 21, though he is mature beyond his years as he has played over 60 games since joining Schalke from Greek side Olympiacos in 2010 and has been capped 16 times by Greece. Papadopoulos may also bring a few extra goals which are much valued with 7 goals for Schalke since joining them and 4 goals for the Greek national team.
The highly rated Papadopoulos will not come for cheap as he is valued at around £15 million and a number of European giants are after his signature. If Liverpool are to buy him it would be a significant step towards the top four.
The club may also need the buy a few forward players who will add a few more goals onto the season total.
Christian Eriksen and Tom Ince are some of the players who have been linked with the club over the past few months. Both are young and bring in the much needed extra goals which will be needed to improve on the current season’s total.
Tom Ince scored 18 goals in 42 championship games for Blackpool which is a pretty good total for a winger. Eriksen scored 13 goals in all competitions this season and has played in the Champions league and been capped 34 times for the Denmark national team. The Denmark international has attracted a lot of interest from Europe’s elite particularly UEFA Champions League runners up Borrusia Dortmund who are looking to fill the void left by Mario Gotze who is joining Bayern Munich this summer, thus Liverpool have to pull off something special if they are to get the Dane.
Therefore Rodgers has to play his cards right and sign the appropriate players who will improve the squad as I believe this team to be only one excellent transfer window away from the top four.
If the club can manage to get three of these players then we will not be far away from the top four next season which at this point of the rebuilding phase is the primary target.
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