Stats can prove anything, really. Some football fans love the numbers game, while other prefer a more traditional approach, but it’s fair to say whichever camp you’re in, Dejan Lovren has been a flop since his £20m Liverpool move.
The Croatian was one of the Premier League standout performers last season with Southampton, yet this term his confidence appears shot and errors (shown above) have been commonplace. It may seem early to axe the defender, but Liverpool cannot afford to stand still in the top four race, so here are FIVE upgrades to consider ahead of the re-opening of the transfer window…
A late starter in the footballing world as he focused on a career as a Bank Clerk, Schar has risen from the Swiss amateur game to become one of his nation’s best defenders astonishingly quickly. Set to be 23 by January, the classy Basel enforcer has been a key member of his club side and international set-up over the course of the past 12 months, and even impressed at the World Cup.
But with his contract due to expire at the end of the season, a cut-price £10m January move has been mooted, and it’s believed that Schar himself is ready to test himself in a bigger league. His composed playing style would suit Rodgers’ Liverpool, while his age and cost meet FSG’s strict transfer policy.
Like Schar, Reid’s contract expires at the end of the season and he’s keen to move on to bigger and better things, according to rumours, Liverpool may have to fight off Arsenal to land the New Zealander, but an £8m bid for one of the Premier League’s more impressive centre-backs, on current form anyway, may be wise.
Reid is strong, composed, brave and remarkably good on the ball, making him a potential solution to Liverpool’s inability to keep the ball out of their own net.
A major target in 2013, the Papadopoulos pursuit went quiet almost overnight. The Greek ace’s questionable injury record may have been a factor, but it seems odd that a leader from the back was passed on so quickly by the Reds, despite genuine efforts to land him.
A fearsome individual who is full-blooded in his playing style, ‘Papa’ would appear to be suited to the English game and could provide the sort of influence Liverpool desperately need at the back.
Vlaar’s sock is at all all-time high. The Dutchman seemed to go from average Premier League enforcer to all-conquering centre-back over the course of one summer after impressing at the World Cup, and the player himself is thought to be aware of the interest in his signature.
Vlaar himself is understood to be holding off of contract talks with Villa – his current deal expires at the end of the season – and while Liverpool have not yet been linked with a move, it may be worth Rodgers rivalling Man United and Arsenal for ‘Concrete Ron’.
While Liverpool’s crop of players at the back are failing to impress, the Reds actually have one defender on their books impressing in the Premier League. Wisdom is currently on loan at West Brom, where he has been a composed and impressive performer at right-back in a solid Baggies set-up, earning much praise.
Although playing on the flank, the 21-year-old long-term role is expected to be at centre-back, which could be handy for Liverpool now. English, strong and familiar with the club, a January re-call is an ‘out there’ option on Merseyside.