Had Liverpool had a world-class striker yesterday they would surely have blown Arsenal away. The Reds out-shot, out-possessioned and out-played the Gunners for much of the 99 minutes at Anfield, but were unable to put the ball in the back of the net with any form of regularity, and were only saved by a late Martin Skrtel header at the Kop end.
The Gunners netted twice with just five shots – only two on target – while the home side’s scatter gun approach saw 27 efforts fired vaguely towards Wojciech Szczesny’s goal. The wildly different conversion rate shows just what Liverpool needed on the day, with Raheem Sterling, for all his qualities, not an out and out goalscorer. So with that in mind, here are FIVE players Rodgers could look to to repair his side’s ailing top four hopes…
Ligue 1’s runaway top scorer with a tally if 17 goals already, Lacazette appears to be the ideal player for Liverpool’s preferred set-up. Electric fast, a willing runner and deadly in the box, the Frenchman has all of the traits missing in the Reds’ current attacking set-up, and appears to be Daniel Sturridge-lite.
Liverpool chased the 23-year-old over the summer, and their decision to opt against snapping him up may prove to be an unwise one, with Lyon sure to have slapped a few £million onto his price tag now. Although comfortable as a striker, Lacazette can also play from wide, which suits Rodgers’ fluid attacking set-up.
Reports from the Daily Star last week revealed that Rodgers is eyeing a £50m move for the Frenchman. Although a little pie in the sky, the Real Madrid ace would certainly be a major boost for the Merseysiders, who lack of player of his clinical edge.
Benzema himself rejected reported advances from Liverpool over the summer, but with Los Blancos closing in on Marco Reus, he may be more inclined to discuss a deal now, as first-team action in his peak years is key for the ex-Lyon ace.
This is one to divide opinion… Torres is both loved and loathed on Merseyside, with his goalscoring heroics following his 2007 arrival etched into Reds fans’ memories, while his decision to force a £50m move to Chelsea in 2011 left bridges burning all around him.
In truth, ‘El Nino’s’ career has only gone in one direction since he slipped away from Anfield, with his spell at Stamford Bridge one to forget. Although still a Chelsea player, Torres is currently on loan at AC Milan, who are said to be looking to terminate the two-year deal in January after growing frustrated with his return of one goal in ten games. Although the stats and general common sense suggest that the 30-year-old is no longer ideal for Liverpool, if he can be kept fit and is able to fall in love with football again – he hasn’t appeared happy since leaving the North West – then he could rediscover his mojo in the red shirt.
Since his 2012 move to Porto from Mexican side Chiapas, Martinez has been a massive hit. The Colombian has averaged a two in three strike rate in the blue and white shirt, while lifting the Portuguese title at the Estadio do Dragao.
And now he’s 28, Martinez is thought to be looking to leave his current side in a bid to have a crack at one of Europe’s very top leagues, which has alerted Liverpool. Blessed with pace, power and desire, the South American looks to have all the ingredients to be a success in England, and would be a definite upgrade on Mario Balotelli. A fee of £30m may be needed in January, but such an outlay may be worth it to get into the top four.
Not an addition, but to use the little book of football clichés, getting Sturridge back will feel like a new signing for Rodgers. The England international has been out of action with three separate injuries since the end of August, which has been a major blow for the Reds. The highs of last season were always going to be some way off without Luis Suarez, but the removal of the other half of ‘SAS’ has robbed Rodgers of half his side’s goals, not to mention the movement in the final third that made the Merseysiders irresistible to watch last term.
The club’s medical staff have been working hard to get ‘Studge’ back to full fitness, with rumours suggesting that early January may be a realistic time to expect the hit-man back in full training.