Liverpool have wasted no time following the curtain drop of last season. Where PSG have taken an almighty swing at the transfer window with the signing of David Luiz, the rest of this summer’s transfer activity from Europe’s elite is simmering, waiting, more than likely, for the end of the World Cup before the scramble begins and the football world is sent into an off-season frenzy once again.
Liverpool, however, have gotten in early because the club can’t afford not to. While most were enthralled by the swashbuckling displays from Brendan Rodgers’ team last term, it wasn’t hard to identify the weaknesses, both in terms of quality and quantity.
The signing of Rickie Lambert was a surprise move by Liverpool, but one that made plenty of sense. The 32-year-old, who will take part in Brazil, isn’t arriving at Anfield to displace Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. Liverpool don’t need that. As the best one-two punch in the Premier League last season, there is no need to permanently disrupt that chemistry and winning formula.
But like Roy Hodgson’s selecting of the former Southampton forward for his England squad, Rodgers isn’t oblivious to the qualities Lambert can provide. As he’ll do for Liverpool next season, England’s answer to a direct option will back up Sturridge and Wayne Rooney, both comfortably better but without question in need of someone like Lambert to get into the mix when Plan A isn’t running smoothly. Age aside, £4 million is a snip for an international forward who knows the Premier League.
And Liverpool and Rodgers haven’t stopped there. They’ve recently tied up a deal for Bayer Leverkusen’s Emre Can. The 20-year-old former Bayern Munich player is known for his versatility. Last season he performed regularly at left-back, despite arriving from Bavaria as a midfielder. The number 10 on the back of his shirt isn’t exactly fitting of a full-back.
But that’s what Rodgers likes and wants. Can isn’t arriving off the back of a stellar season. He’s a good prospect with a high ceiling, but there are things in his game that need to be ironed out. But then again we could have said the same about both Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho.
For around the £15 million mark, Liverpool have added to their squad in areas requiring address. As mentioned, the best attack in the league didn’t need much work, rather sufficient depth to successfully handle the addition of Champions League football to the calendar. Emre Can, however, will help out at left-back, where Jon Flanagan is also able and looking promising, and in the midfield. Liverpool’s best midfield partnership of Steven Gerrard and Jordan can’t play every game of the upcoming season.
Liverpool’s work in the market looks to be building to a crescendo. Neither Lambert nor Can are stars of the game, they’re not household names and they won’t singlehandedly transform this team. But they’re not being asked to do that. The team do, however, need something major, a blockbuster signing, something that befits a club who are clearly on the up and in need of making an announcement as such.
Luis Suarez’s future is hazy at this time, but even if the Uruguayan stays on for one more season, the club will need to spend big in order to take that step forward and remain there. This is a club who are after Champions League football on a year-on-year basis. It’s no secret to say they need that added revenue in order to consistently compete. But there are no guarantees for next season, where each of the other four major Premier League clubs will have improved and will be as ravenous for a place in the top four.
Liverpool’s no-nonsense policy in the market is pleasing to see and it will certainly appease supporters. The club look to have a taste for adventure now under Rodgers, and there can be little doubt that these shrewd buys in the market are the prelude to a much-needed hammer fall this summer.