After the nightmares of yesterday evening, the last thing Liverpool fans probably want to talk about right now is Champions League football. The Reds needed all three points against FC Basel to secure their place in the next round, but were held to a 1-1 draw at Anfield by the Swiss champions.
Yet, there’s still a Premier League campaign to think about and that’s not going too smoothly for the Reds either. Their ultimate aim this season is to guarantee another spot in the Premiership’s top four, but they’re currently six points off the pace in ninth.
The January transfer window is just around the corner however and a few bold signings could well get the Anfield outfit’s campaign back on track. So with that in mind, here’s FIVE winter acquisitions that could get the Reds back into a Champions League spot.
The wayward form of Simon Mignolet has been a major talking point at Anfield this season, with his more notable recent gaffes including this shocking pass against Chelsea:
…and this blundered save against Ludogorets in the Champions League:
It’s believed Brendan Rodgers is already earmarking potential alternatives to the hap-hazard Belgium international, with the budget-busting Hollywood option coming in the form of Chelsea’s Petr Cech:
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 10, 2014
The Czech centurion may have been dislodged by a goalkeeper ten years his junior at Stamford Bridge this season, the world-class Thibault Courtois, but he’s undoubtedly one of the greatest goalkeepers in Premier League history, only truly rivalled by the likes of Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar, and at 32 is still amid his peak years. Here’s a countdown of Cech’s best ever saves for the Blues:
He’d be a major improvement on Mignolet and The Express claim the Anfield outfit are already planning a £7million bid for the New Year. Cech’s agent, on the other hand, claims the Premier League veteran will be staying put until the summer:
— Standard Sport (@standardsport) December 5, 2014
Finding the right formula in midfield has been a real problem for Liverpool this season and Brendan Rodgers is still struggling to find the best role for Steven Gerrard.
Clearly, the Reds need something a little different in the middle of the park and knowing Rodgers’ adoration for possession-based football, he should turn his attentions to Monaco’s deep-lying playmaker Joao Moutinho.
The Monaco midfielder is a real talent with huge technical quality, famed for his industry, anticipation and ability to orchestrate play from deep, as shown in the stats below:
That would allow Gerrard to operate further forward without sacrificing Liverpool’s ball retention and January is undoubtedly the ideal time to buy the 28 year-old, following news that he’s handed in a transfer request:
— FootballFanCast.com (@FootballFanCast) November 26, 2014
There’s understandably huge competition for the Portugal international’s signature however and The Express value him at a whopping £30million, which may be just outside of Liverpool’s financial reach in the coming window.
A likeminded and potentially cheaper option comes in the form of equally disillusioned Ligue 1 playmaker Yohan Cabaye.
Summer signings Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli have failed to replace the talismanic firepower of Luis Suarez this season and the prolonged injury absence of Daniel Sturridge certainly hasn’t aided their cause.
Resultantly, rumour has it Liverpool will move for another goalscorer in January and one of the prospects on their radar is Shaktar Donetsk’s Luiz Adriano:
— HITC Sport (@HITCsport) November 12, 2014
The 27 year-old boasts a healthy return of 71 goals in 151 league appearances for the Ukrainian side, claiming their top flight’s Golden Boot last term, and has also risen to the top of the Champions League’s scoring charts this season, as detailed below:
That’s in no small part due to netting an incredible eight goals past whipping boys BATE Borisov spread across back-to-back fixtures. But blessed with speed and a powerful 6 foot frame, the Brazil international boasts the physical requisites to transition that netting prowess to the Premier League. Here’s a clip of Adriano in action:
Furthermore, his contract at the Donbass Arena is set to expire at the end of the season, suggesting the Reds could prize him away on the cheap in January.
He’s been tracked by Tottenham and Arsenal in the past too however, so don’t be too surprised if both north London clubs revive their interest.
Liverpool have lost their pace and intensity going forward this year, especially on the counter-attack, and in my opinion Fiorentina star Juan Cuadrado would be the perfect mid-season remedy.
The road-running Colombian international wreaked havoc in Serie A last season and brought his form to the World Cup in Brazil, as detailed below, finishing up with the joint-most assists of any player at the tournament:
He’s continued in a similar vein this year:
And the 26 year-old’s unique versatility, having featured in a plethora of diverse capacities last season as shown below, will particularly strike a chord with Brendan Rodgers:
Cuadrado only agreed a new contract at Fiorentina in October this year, but it included a £28million release clause.
In my opinion once again, he’s worth every penny. But interest from Manchester City and Manchester United could prove problematic for the Reds:
— FootballFanCast.com (@FootballFanCast) November 20, 2014
It seems virtually every major club in Europe will be battling it out for Marco Reus’ signature this January, so Liverpool may as well throw their name into the mix too.
Having won two Bundesliga Player of the Year awards over the course of the last three seasons, the German international is undisputedly one of the most exciting attacking talents in world football. Here’s the vitals from his recent campaigns:
The 25 year-old Borussia Dortmund star’s contract includes an astonishingly cheap £20million release clause, set to come into effect at the end of the season.
But with the Black-Yellows lingering just a point above the relegation zone in the Bundesliga this season and revised terms looking increasingly unlikely, it seems a number of clubs will test the Westfalen outfit’s resolve in January:
— LFC Infinite (@LFCinfinite) November 20, 2014
The likes of Bayern, Chelsea and Manchester United certainly provide some intense competition, but Reus could be the world-class successor to Luis Suarez Liverpool desperately lack. Here’s a clip of the attacking midfielder in action: