Brendan Rodgers has already sought to beef up Liverpool’s defence this summer with the confirmed signing of Dejan Lovren from Southampton and Atletico Madrid’s Javier Manquillo expected to soon follow suit in a two-year loan deal.
But the Reds boss will be well aware that further recruits will be needed to avoid the inadequacies of last season, where the Anfield outfit finished up with the worst goals conceded record in the Premier League’s top eight.
With that in mind, here’s a list of FIVE signings that would completely transform Liverpool’s struggling backline, making it more resilient and worthy of their Champions League status…
Liverpool are in desperate need of a resident left-back ahead of next season, and with little progress thus far in their attempts to prize Alberto Moreno from Sevilla, it’s time for the Reds to turn their attentions to Wolfsburg sensation Ricardo Rodriguez.
The 21 year-old absolutely destroyed the Bundesliga last season and transitioned his potent form into the World Cup, as shown below:
The Switzerland left-back’s defensive attributes still leave something to be desired, but going forward he’s nothing short of prolific and would resultantly be a good fit for the Reds’ progressive philosophy. Here’s a look at his highlights from last term:
But Rodriguez is hot property and Die Wolfe appear determined to hold onto the defender this summer:
Rodriguez going nowhere say Wolfsburg, despite Manchester United links – http://t.co/gvtaXh7MPS
— Martin Moser (@MoserMaCH) July 24, 2014
Liverpool were strongly linked to Toby Alderweireld last summer, before the Belgium international eventually elected to join Atletico Madrid in a £6million deal.
But the Mattress Makers’ sensational rise to La Liga title and Champions League final glory saw the Belgium international make just ten league starts last season.
No doubt, the 25 year-old is a talented defender, capable of playing at centre-back or right-back (as he did for Belgium at the World Cup) and famed for his consistency, as visible below:
A product of the total football academy, Alderweireld comes with an impressive all-round game. Here’s a look at him in action for the Amsterdam outfit:
The 6 foot 2 defender has already made plenty of noise about leaving Vincente Calderon and was reportedly offered to Napoli in January:
Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham on alert as Toby Alderweireld offered to Napoli http://t.co/XUkCb2e5jU
— Daily Express (@Daily_Express) January 22, 2014
And according to reports in Italy, an Anfield switch could well be on the cards this summer:
— Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) June 25, 2014
Should Glen Johnson depart for QPR this summer as alleged by many, the Reds could soon find themselves on the hunt for an established No.2.
One option still open to Brendan Rodgers is Manchester City’s Micah Richards, who is widely expected to leave the Etihad this summer after entering the final year of his contract:
Micah Richards to leave Manchester City at the end of the season. Liverpool, West Ham and Newcastle are keen http://t.co/GnZ1cLYXpI
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) April 8, 2014
The 26 year-old contributed a vital six assists to the Citizens’ Premier League title in 2012 – the most of any top flight defender that season.
But a combination of injuries and the rise of Pablo Zabaleta has seen him make just seven league appearances in the two years since.
Regardless, the occasional England international has a lot to offer the Liverpool defence, most notably pace, power, strength, aerial ability and versatility, as demonstrated in the below video:
The Reds’ backline could certainly do with an injection of physicality, even if it’s only utilised sporadically by Brendan Rodgers.
The Daily Mail believe Richards could be available for as little as £5million this summer, but Tottenham are currently his likeliest suitors:
Manchester City right-back Micah Richards targeted by Tottenham with Sagna buy spelling end for defender: With… http://t.co/7uPKojgRY2
— Football-News (@Bot_Football) July 26, 2014
Liverpool have already been strongly linked with Colombia prodigy Eder Balanta, a centre-back who would add youth, power and ability on the ball to the Reds’ struggling heart of defence.
The 21 year-old has thoroughly impressed following his debut for River Plate in 2012, making 30 appearances since and muscling his way into Los Cafeteros’ senior squad.
He’s described on FIFA’s website as “left-footed, powerfully built, strong in the air and a fearless tackler … blessed with skill and speed.” Here’s a short clip of Balanta in action:
Impressive stuff indeed. Did I also mention that Balanta is an absolute monster on Football Manager?
— Daylami (@firdaylami) December 28, 2013
But quickly emerging as one of the top centre-back prospects in world football, top class suitors for the 6 foot defender are hardly in short supply:
— Express Football (@ExpressFootball) June 25, 2014
Defensive responsibilities can’t only lie with the back four, and if Liverpool are to improve themselves off the ball next season a holding option in midfield is a must.
Enter Lille youngster Idrissa Gueye, who made the most tackles of any Ligue 1 midfielder last season, as detailed below:
The 24 year-old furthermore dominated the French top flight’s passing charts:
2547 – Top 3 most successful passes in Ligue 1 this season: Thiago Motta (2547), Marco Verratti (2151), Idrissa Gueye (1846). Generous.
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) May 19, 2014
And also fell over, quite hilariously:
Rated at just £6million by TalkSport, the Senegal international is a transfer gem in the making.
But recent speculation suggests he’s already on the radars of Arsenal and Everton:
Arsenal and Everton have made inquiries about Lille midfielder Idrissa Gueye. (People)
— Football Addicts (@FootballAdd1cts) June 15, 2014