Liverpool’s disappointing goalless draw with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday was painful enough in their bid to close the gap on the top four, only for Everton to rub further salt in the wound by beating rivals Manchester United the following day to leave the Reds with a sense of what if?
Despite ending the weekend a point closer to their target, their failure to score at the Hawthorns could prove costly as it would have reduced the gap to the Champions League places to just five points with a game in hand.
Another good performance and another clean sheet should have been enough for the visitors but their failure to find the net once again emphasised the problems they have in attack, something that looks like costing them a top-four spot.
Since the departure of Luis Suarez last summer, Daniel Sturridge has been unable to fill the void after missing much of the season through injury, and so it has been left to the likes of Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini to step up; something they have failed to do.
Brendan Rodgers stated his need for a new striker in the summer following their latest draw, and it’s clearly an area they need to address during the next transfer window if they are to come close to the success they achieved last year.
Their failure to qualify for the Champions League could have a big say in who they are able to attract to the club, but on this season’s evidence it’s still vital they do all they can to bring at least one proven goal-scorer to Anfield.
And with this in mind, here are five men who could be the answer to Liverpool’s problems and help solve their woes in front of goal…
Out of favour at Old Trafford, Javier Hernandez is expected to leave Manchester United this summer when his loan spell at Real Madrid comes to an end, and is someone who could prove the ideal man for Liverpool.
Despite finding first-team opportunities limited at the Bernabeu this season, the Mexican has proved how effective he can be when called upon with three goals in his last two games since his return to the side following injuries to Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.
A predator in the box and a top-class finisher, Hernandez would be an ideal striker for Liverpool who would guarantee them goals given a run in the side. The Reds could offer him regular football which would prove a huge plus point as he bids to revive his career and with their rivals willing to sell, he is a player Liverpool should be doing their upmost to sign this summer.
Liverpool witnessed at first hand just how effective Christian Benteke can be in front of goal, as the Belgian scored in Aston Villa’s famous 2-1 victory in the FA Cup semi-final just over a week ago.
A powerful centre-forward with plenty of pace, Benteke has all the attributes that will have attracted a number of the league’s top clubs. Someone who can hold up the ball, good in the air, and clinical in front of goal, the 24-year-old may well be looking to further his career at a club with European aspirations and certainly has the potential to be a success at Anfield.
Villa will be desperate to hang onto their star man, but even without Champions League football; Benteke may prove one of the more realistic targets as they look to bolster their attacking options this summer.
Having fallen out of favour with Manuel Pellegrini, Stevan Jovetic’s future at Manchester City looks in doubt and could offer another realistic option for Brendan Rodgers in the transfer window.
Having started just 10 league games this season, Jovetic was unhappy when he was left out of the club’s Champions League squad this year following the arrival of Wilfried Bony.
The 25-year-old looks destined to move on in search of regular first-team football, something which Liverpool could well offer him, particularly given the fact they tried to sign him two years ago.
The Montenegrin is still a very talented player, and with the Premier League experience under his belt could prove a shrewd signing at around £16m.
PSV star Memphis Depay is thought to have already held talks with Liverpool over a potential summer switch, however the Dutch international is also being chased by Manchester United, Bayern Munich and PSG meaning they face a huge battle for his signature.
A battle which could well depend on their success or failure to finish inside the top four over the coming weeks, the 21-year-old has seen his stock rise after breaking the 20-goal mark to help his club secure the Dutch title despite playing on the wing.
Valued at £25m, a powerful player who is full of pace and trickery, the dead-ball specialist looks destined to play at the very highest level and would represent a huge coup in Liverpool can persuade him to sign this summer.
Another player whose future may well be decided by Champions League qualification is Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain.
His future at the Italian club was put in some doubt when it was revealed he wouldn’t settle for another season in the Europa League. Napoli find themselves two points adrift of the top three in Serie A, and failure to overtake the likes of Roma and Lazio or win the Europa League itself, mean he could be on the move this summer.
Obviously Liverpool would find it difficult to attract the Argentine if their situation doesn’t improve, however he is the calibre of player that they require to make them a force once again.
The former Real star has 26 goals to his name so far and remains one of Europe’s top strikers that would no doubt improve Liverpool fortunes in front of goal.