Liverpool have already spent over £100million on new signings this summer but there’s still work to be done on Merseyside.
The squad is impressive but by no means perfect, and with just 11 days of the summer window remaining, Brendan Rodgers is expected to be a busy man between now and September 1st.
In that time, a number of loose ends need to be tied up if Liverpool are to stage another audacious charge for the Premier League title, and considering the immense strength of the top flight, even achieving Champions League qualification could take a few smart pieces of business before the summer window slams shut.
With that in mind, here’s a list of FIVE loose ends that the Anfield gaffer needs to address.
Liverpool have already spent £100million this summer but they’re still yet to replace Luis Suarez, a striker in some way responsible for 43 of their 101 league goals last season.
They’ve brought in Rickie Lambert from Southampton who always plays with conviction and offers them something different in attack. But if the Reds want to challenge anywhere near as successfully as last season, a successor to Suarez is a necessity.
It appears Brendan Rodgers now shares that view after Liverpool limped to a 2-1 win over Southampton last weekend, with reports today suggesting the Mersey outfit are in negotiations with AC Milan over star striker Mario Balotelli:
— Liverpool Echo (@LivEchoLFC) August 21, 2014
The Italy international’s mercurial nature is well-known but his quality is equally undoubted. Take this wonder-goal for example:
He’s well-proven in the Premier League too, having won the title with Manchester City back in 2012, and since returning to the San Siro six months later, has amassed an impressive haul of 30 goals in 54 appearances.
The Reds have also been linked with prolific Ligue 1 pair Radamel Falcao and Edinson Cavani, but it’s believed both would prefer to join Real Madrid if they’re to be sold this summer.
Here’s a look at Balotelli’s ten best ever goals:
Even with youngster Tiago Ilori going out on loan, Brendan Rodgers has six centre-backs to choose from next season which is obviously far too many.
Quality in depth is important, and the Reds flirted with the notion of three centre-backs on occasion last term. But it’s simply too much money caught up in one area of the squad and at least two of Liverpool’s central defenders are unlikely to receive anything near the game-time they’d like this season.
And although Kolo Toure’s future is in doubt, speculation thus far suggests it could well be Daniel Agger who eventually gets the boot. The Daily Mail claim he wants to leave Anfield after plummeting down the pecking order last season and he’s now been linked with a move to Atletico Madrid:
— Anfield Bond (@AnfieldBond) August 19, 2014
Rodgers’ decision to drop the Danish international last term seems justified too. Just take a look at his stats compared to Liverpool’s other centre-halves: The Anfield faithful will undoubtedly miss their eight-and-a-half year servant however, so here’s a look at some of his best moments with the Reds:
Are Liverpool really going to enter another season with hap-hazard Aussie Brad Jones as their only cover in the goalkeeping department? The former Middlesbrough goalie offers vital Premier League experience and fits his role in the squad well – you’ll hardly hear him complaining about a lack of first team football. But should No.1 Simon Mignolet suffer a long-term injury, the Reds will be dependent on a ‘keeper that struggles to last a whole 90 minutes without conceding a goal of his own doing. It’s late in the summer but there are some options out there. Cardiff City’s David Marshall for example, who made more saves than any top flight goalkeeper last term: This display against Tottenham particularly stood out: Reading hotshot Alex McCarthy is an option too. The 24 year-old rose to acclaim after this sensational performance against the Mersey outfit in April 2013, which Brendan Rodgers described afterwards as ‘absolutely staggering’: Or perhaps Wigan’s Ali Al-Habsi. By no means a world-beater but a talented shot-stopper who has been linked with a move away this summer after losing his place in the Latics’ starting XI last season. Here’s a look at the Oman international in action:
Liverpool pair Oussama Assaidi and Fabio Borini find themselves in nearly identical transfer situations this summer. After an impressive loan spell with Stoke, the Potters agreed a fee to acquire the Morocco international permanently:
Likewise, Liverpool accepted a £14million bid for Borini from Sunderland, having netted ten times on loan at the Stadium of Light last season, including this winning goal in the Tyne-Wear derby:
But both have turned down the opportunities to join their respective suitors. The former reportedly demanding excessive wages and the later determined to prove himself on Merseyside.
Liverpool however, need to sell. Neither player will enjoy more than a cameo role in the Reds squad next season and their departures would add in excess of £20million to the summer kitty.
Lucas Leiva’s long-term future at Anfield has been a subject of debate for some time.
With the exception of Premier League novice Emre Can, he’s the only midfielder on the Mersey roster that offers natural defensive awareness in front of the back four, and admittedly, that gives him a rather unique advantage.
But the Brazilian isn’t the most consistent performer and his place in the starting XI is constantly under threat. Brendan Rodgers now needs to decide whether there’s a place for Lucas at Anfield, amid rumours that he wants to join Rafa Benitez at Napoli:
— It’s LFC (@itslfc) August 15, 2014
Here’s a look at the 27 year-old in action: