Despite this glaringly obvious fact, Rafa Benitez has, so far, been unwilling to prepare for the times in which he will be without his top man. No disrespect to David N’gog but he is hardly a suitable replacement.
Liverpool have shown a worrying reliance on the Spanish striker and Steven Gerrard that has sometimes been their downfall. Buying a new striker would not necessarily solve the problem. A statement perfectly proven by the short-lived career of Robbie Keane at Anfield. Keane is a very good striker and undoubtedly a player who could have proved a worthy replacement for Torres in times of need. The thing with Keane was that he needed to play games in order to be ‘match fit’.
What Liverpool need is an Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. A player who, without a run in the team, can come in and provide an instant impact. These players are widely sought after but rarely found. In fact Harry Redknapp has shown exactly this at White Hart Lane. In letting Robbie Keane go and bringing in Eidur Gudjohnsen the Tottenham boss has signed a player who is willing to be on the bench and will make an impact when called upon.
Another worry for Liverpool is a lack of goals from midfield. Javier Mascherano has one goal while Lucas, Riera, Maxi and Aquilani are all yet to score for Liverpool this season. Benayoun, Kuyt, Gerrard and Babel make up the remaining 29 goals. Between them all, they match the amount scored by Fernando Torres in his first season at Anfield.
Liverpool lack creativity. Mascherano is one of the best players in his position but Benitez’s decision to play Lucas alongside him is depressingly negative. Lucas has just one assist all season. New signing Alberto Aquilani has shown a desire to go forward but Benitez has strangely left him out of the majority of games.
If Liverpool are to flourish next season they need some new players. An injury to Gerrard or Torres completely changes the team and at the moment they don’t have players capable of filling the gaps. Benitez must find an impact striker who, without a long run of games, is capable of coming in and scoring goals. Along with that he needs to sign a goal scoring midfielder or at least somebody who will create goals. A player as good as Xavi would be asking too much but somebody in the mould of the Barcelona midfielder would be perfect.
For the future of Liverpool, the scouts have to start searching now.