After the disappointment of losing out on the Premier League title last season, Brendan Rodgers will be planning on a big summer transfer window to get his team over the line next campaign. Replacements for a leaky defence that cost the Reds will be needed, whilst they will also be looking to build a squad able to handle the exertions of playing midweek Champions League football. This all could be without Luis Suarez too, who is still heavily linked with a move to Barcelona despite his 4-month football ban.
With Champions League football back at Anfield next season, Rodgers will need some of the best players in world football to take on Europe’s elite teams. With that in mind, who is currently proving they have what it takes to play on the biggest of footballing stages, and staking a claim to earn a transfer to Liverpool? Here are 6 players that are playing their way into Brendan Rodgers’ plans.
Liverpool have been linked with the Bayern Munich winger for a fair few months now, but there never seemed to be talk of any substantial interest being shown by Rodgers and Ian Ayre. But his World Cup performances seem to have changed that. Switzerland’s hat-trick hero in their group stage match against Honduras, Shaqiri booked his nation’s place in the knockout stage of the World Cup, setting up a thrilling tie against Argentina. The 22-year-old scored a stunning, top-corner curler from outside the box as well as two simple finishes to take the match ball home.
The speedy Bayern winger is always going to have a fight on his hands to get into the first team at the Allianz Arena on a regular basis, with Robben, Götze, Ribery and Müller all looking to play in that attacking 3. But with Liverpool wanting to add some depth and flair to their attack from the midfield, the Swiss star could be a brilliant addition to Rodgers’ squad. He has an SAS upfront with Sturridge and Suarez, but there could be a midfield SAS of Sterling and Shaqiri creating the goals.
Most Liverpool fans would admit they hadn’t heard of Origi ahead of the World Cup. With all the talk of Belgium’s potential success in the competition, the focus was on Hazard, Du Bruyne and Lukaku. But it’s been 19-year-old Divock Origi that has stolen the show for the Red Devils, scoring the 88th minute winner to beat Russia, whilst his powerful effort against South Korea was spilled into the path of Jan Vertonghen to tap home. He’s made just 6 appearances for the first team, but he’s already causing questions about Lukaku’s starting place in the next round of the Belgium.
Origi scored 5 times for Lille last season, as he helped the french club get back into the Champions League after last year’s absence. Belgian attackers are currently enjoying life in the Premier League. Lukaku had another successful loan spell, teaming up with fellow Belgian Kevin Mirallas at Everton. Whilst in the midlands, Christian Benteke continued to cause issues for opposition defenders when he was off the treatment table. Could Origi earn a transfer to Anfield, and add to the Reds’ quality strike force already in place.
The Reds haven’t kept any secrets over their pursuit of a new left-back. The loan signing of Aly Cissokho last season turned out to be extremely disappointing for Brendan Rodgers, especially after losing Jose Enrique for most of the season. Had Jon Flanagan not stood up to the plate in such fine style as he had, Rodgers’ side could easily have fallen down the table from 2nd. Ian Ayre had been pursuing Sevilla youngster Alberto Moreno, but has been put off by the La Liga side’s £20million demands for the 21-year-old, and is set to look elsewhere.
One man playing his way into a summer transfer is Daley Blind. The left-wing-back has had an enjoyable tournament in Brazil this month,both defensively and going forward. Playing in a 5-3-2 formation, Blind has shown how he would fit Rodgers’ desires for an attacking left-back, able to run box-to-box. His incredible assist for Robin van Persie’s goal in the 5-1 victory over Spain will always be remembered, whilst the Ajax defender has still made sure he’s protected the 3 centre-backs when opposition teams try and hit Holland on the counter attack. Part of the Ajax academy a few hers ago, the 24-year-old could be ready to fight in the Premier League.
One of Liverpool’s issues in the midfield has been their lack of natural width. Whilst Sterling has had success playing out wide, Philippe Coutinho, being a central midfielder, has often found himself drifting in off that left flank. But Memphis Depay could easily change that. The 20-year-old has had a storming World Cup so far. Coming off the bench in Holland’s last two matches, Depay has made an impact in both games, scoring in the last minute in Holland’s 2-0 victory over Chile, and then in the next match assisting Robin van Persie for their equaliser against Australia, before scoring the winner himself.
The 20-year-old scored 12 goals in the Eredivisie last season, and could be a real threat in a Liverpool shirt next season. His pace and flair would fit Liverpool’s counter attack style of football, whilst Kopites would lick their lips at seeing Depay, Coutinho and Sterling fight for a place in the first team. Young and impressionable, Brendan Rodgers could mould the Dutch youngster into his game plans perfectly, and terrorise Champions League defenders next campaign.
Croatia’s World Cup campaign was smeared after their first game defeat to Brazil. You got the sense that the nation would always struggle to overcome the bitterly disappointing loss to the hosts, after Fred was awarded an extremely soft penalty with just 20 minutes to go. But one man who came out strong was Ivan Perisic. The Wolfsburg man was a constant threat down the lefthand-side for Croatia, scoring twice and setting up Ivica Olic in the tournament. His goal against Cameroon showcased his blistering pace and composure to finish at the near post.
Perisic would be a cheaper purchase too. Whilst Southampton want £30million for Adam Lallana, Perisic would cost potentially just £8million according to the Daily Mail. The 25-year-old can play on the winger or as a more central attacker, meaning Rodgers could tinker with his formation again like he did last season. Strong in the air and a player who likes to cut inside, Perisic could be a cheap but effective purchase for Rodgers next campaign.
Liverpool’s pursuit of a left-back could see them turn to Argentine Marcos Rojo, who has performed strongly in La Albiceleste’s pursuit of a third World Cup. Rojo got a fortunate winner against Nigeria, but it’s been his strong defensive performances that could earn him a move to Anfield. His first performance against Bosnia in particular stands out for his ability to predict the attack. Proving himself to be a difficult defender to beat, Rojo could be ready to fight Flanagan for a first team place.
Just 24-years-old, Rodgers has time to work with Rojo to turn him into his ideal left-back, adding security at the back while providing a wide attacking threat, something Liverpool lacked last season. With Argentina progressing to the knockout stages, now is the best chance Liverpool’s Northern Irish manager will get to see Rojo perform against some of the World’s top players.