The latter half of 2014 has been somewhat different to the opening six months of the year for Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool side. The amazing run which took them to within a whisker of a first ever Premier League title is now a distant memory, as three losses in a week send the Reds into the international break in the bottom half of the league after being talked up as title contenders before a ball was kicked.
Luis Suarez is gone, Mario Balotelli has been a disaster, so far, and Daniel Sturridge cannot retain any sort of fitness. Rodgers himself has recently talked up being “smarter” in the transfer market after missing out on big names during the last window, prompting talk that the fabled ‘marquee’ signing craved at Anfield will be coming in in January. But which players could transform the Merseysiders from midtable strugglers into genuine top four candidates? We’ve had a look around and put together this list of TEN.
We’ll kick things off with the ‘dream’ signing for Liverpool fans. Anyone who follows Reds supporters on Twitter will know that the majority of Kopites want to see Reus at Anfield, and it’s not entirely illogical to call for him. The German attacker is set to leave struggling Dortmund in January before his £20m release clause kicks in, with Liverpool rumoured to be ready to pay around £30m and offer the 25-year-old wages of around £200,000-per-week.
Reus would undoubtedly transform Rodgers’ attack, with his pace, skill and stunning goals and assists numbers in recent seasons awesome weapons to have.
Fresh from tearing Manchester City apart in the Champions League, Doumbia has emerged as a target for the Reds. Unlike Balotelli, the Ivorian matches physicality and pace with amazing work rate, as he showed in both Moscow and at the Etihad Stadium as he netted three goals against the Sky Blues.
Doumbia’s energy and composure (just look at his stats with Young Boys and CSKA) would certainly be a big boost at Anfield.
Even though he embarrassed himself with this above own goal over the weekend, Kramer is still a top-class holding midfielder. Parachuted into the World Cup Final to replace the injured Sami Khedira, the young German was composed on the very biggest stage, helping his nation to secure the trophy.
His call-up was reward for some fine showings in the Bundesliga with Gladbach – whom he’s in the second year of a two-season loan deal from Bayer Leverkusen with. A January deal may be tricky due to the terms of his current transfer, but something may be able to be worked out for the right fee.
From being the ‘one to get’ last January for Liverpool, Konoplyanka seems to be a forgotten name at Anfield right now. The Ukrainian was within hours of joining the Merseysiders earlier this year, but his club, Dnipro, dug in and Rodgers’ side could not beat the deadline to push through a £16m swoop.
With his current contract due to expire at the end of the season the 25-year-old is available for around £5m, and could certainly contribute to Liverpool’s fluid 4-3-3 set-up given his ability to play on either flank or in a central attacking midfield position.
Big, powerful and likened, by some, to Patrick Vieira, Carvalho is a formidable defensive midfielder. Liverpool are believed to have recently entered the battle for the commanding Sporting CP ace, who is valued at around £20m.
The Portugal international could certainly transform the Reds’ midfield, with his imposing playing style something the Merseysiders currently lack.
Luis Suarez’s move to Barcelona may actually benefit Liverpool in January, with Pedro set to make way. The Spaniard is frustrated by a lack of playing time, which has opened the door to a £25m move away from that Catalan club.
Rodgers is keen, and really could use the diminutive attacker’s pace and intelligence to transform his attacking set-up from blunt to incisive.
With Simon Mignolet now a genuine concern at Anfield, a new goalkeeper is on the Reds’ list of priorities. Victor Valdes seems a no-go, while Kiko Casilla is relatively unknown, leaving Ochoa as an option.
The Mexican really shone as a free agent at the World Cup before signing for Malaga, but his lack of game time in Spain has prompted talk of a January move. Liverpool are ready to pay £5m, and it’s fair to say that the curly-haired stopper would be an upgrade between the sticks.
Not dissimilar to Suarez, Lavezzi could be the man to inject the spark the sale of the Uruguayan has left Liverpool lacking. At 29, the Argentine is by no means a long-term option, but a short-term transformation may be just what is needed at Anfield to get the top four quest back on track.
With Dejan Lovren looking out of his depth, getting in a new centre-back appears to be a priority, Schar is a bargain option, given that his contract is due to expire with Basel at the end of the season, and his classy brand of defending could help to shore up the Reds’ colander-like backline.
Glen Johnson is looking unlikely to be rewarded with a new contract before the season ends, so getting a new right-back to replace the misfiring Englishman is another issue for Rodgers. Alves is another player soon to be out of contract, and a cut-price move for the Brazilian may be a wise pursuit.
The Barcelona ace is by no means the player he was five years ago, but he is certainly the sort of star to transform Liverpool’s threat down the right flank.