Liverpool’s draw on the weekend against Manchester City was an incredible improvement on their opening day humbling at the hands of West Brom. Brendan Rodgers did well to steady the ship as many would have heavily favoured a City win at Anfield. But a notable plus on the day was Luis Suarez finally waltzing his way on the score sheet—albeit through an extremely well-taken free kick. But is it enough? I’m yet to be convinced, and Liverpool really do need a genuine goal scorer in the side.
The inclusion of Nuri Sahin last week will now add another dimension to the Liverpool midfield, one which is already stacked with bodies. Sahin can operate in a number of roles but is always likely to sit and hold in his designated position. Alongside Joe Allen and another attacking or defensive option, Liverpool have a promising combination of midfielders.
The back line also looks to be in fairly decent shape. We’re yet to see any real movement with regards to Daniel Agger leaving the club, but with him in the side partnering Martin Skrtel, the team do have an excellent list of options—especially with Martin Kelly able to fill in at centre-back, too.
But the real worry for Liverpool over the past season was their lack of cutting edge in front of goal. Brendan Rodgers has been entrusted to reshape the way the team thinks on the pitch, while offering the fans something a little more enterprising from the performances. Two games in and there’s hardly room to judge whether Rodgers will or won’t be a success, yet, there is enough from the past year to weigh into the assumption that Luis Suarez is not going to take this club places on his own.
Fabio Borini is an exciting addition to the squad, however, I’m not convinced he will be the goal scorer the club desperately need. If he is, then it’s unlikely to be realised this season. Like Suarez, Borini is extremely well-placed on the flanks of Liverpool’s attack. He’s quick, able to provide an excellent delivery into the box, and will undoubtedly add his own reasonable tally of goals or assists.
The Andy Carroll situation is still somewhat up in the air, but it does appear that he’s likely to be at the club come September 1st. Again, however, he’s not what the club need or are looking for. Rodgers was right to have his reservations about Carroll going into this season, even though the player gives the team another option when plan A isn’t working.
What the team need, though, is a Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, a Radamel Falcao, a natural goal scorer who can put away the many, many chances Suarez creates. And right now, Suarez looks much better suited to the creator role in the final third rather than the finisher.
The Schalke and Atletico Madrid forwards are well beyond the price range of Liverpool at this time. If not Huntelaar then certainly Falcao. Atletico are simply not looking to part with their prized asset following only one season at the Vicente Calderon, despite their debt. But both are exactly the type of player Liverpool need if they are realistic about finishing in the top five or even four.
The club do, at this time, need to make use of a scouting network beyond just English shores and find a bargain that can grab 20 league goals this season. Easier said than done, of course, but with a packed house in midfield, shouldn’t the club be concentrating their efforts away from loan players like Sahin and onto something with a view to the longer term?
It can be done, and good leagues around Europe have proven to hold a number of gems. Liverpool really could have done with Luuk De Jong, but unfortunately Monchengladbach were quickest to pounce. And what about Nikica Jelavic? Exactly the player the club needs and for a great price. Kevin Gameiro may be available at the right price if PSG are sweet-talked into a deal, while players like Lisandro Lopez and Loic Remy could also be smart buys.
What the club definitely don’t need is Daniel Sturridge. A good English player perhaps, but is he really going to add anything outstanding to this Liverpool squad? Goals may come, but I’m struggling to see 20-plus league goals next to his name come May. He’s also shown that he can be near ineffective in the central role, and Liverpool really don’t need another player who can play wide. How much will Sturridge cost and, more importantly, who can be brought in for better value for money?
This does look to be an interesting project to keep an eye on with Rodgers looking to change the philosophy at the club. The team, while not without it’s problems, are a good team as a whole, yet they’re lacking that important figure to launch them onto the next level.
Luis Suarez may turn out to be another hero at Anfield, but he won’t be able to take Liverpool forward on his own. His chances need to be converted and there needs to be a proven finisher in an advanced role ahead of Suarez on the pitch.
A combination of the Uruguayan forward and another poacher in the Liverpool attack could be the difference between an unlikely and successful finish in the league or just another year of missed opportunities.