2014/15 has not been the success that Liverpool had hoped for. A return to the Champions League was rather ruined by group stage elimination and one win, while the top four now looks to be that bit too far away after losing to bitter rivals Manchester United on Sunday, ending an impressive run of form which had looked to have repaired the damage of a woeful start to the campaign.
However, there’s always next season and the Reds are sure to “go again”, in the famous words of Steven Gerrard – albeit without their captain who will be sunning himself in California, we mean playing for LA Galaxy – but one thing Brendan Rodgers must do is bring in some fresh talent.
With no major tournaments to muddy the transfer window waters, the Merseysiders should have a clear run at targets, and it’s vital that Rodgers gets the players he needs, with avoiding another last gasp Mario Balotelli gamble something the club will be keen on. Selling and buying will be on the agenda, and here are THREE to come in and THREE to go out…
The goals may have dried up a little for Alexandre Lacazette of late, but the Frenchman has still hit a staggering 23 in 26 appearances for Lyon in Ligue 1 this season. Around the winter period he was averaging better than a goal a game, but the Stade Gerland’s stuttering form – which has seen them slip behind PSG at the top of the league – has coincided with a slightly reduced output, albeit he has suffered with a few minor injury issues.
Liverpool were linked with Lacazette over the January window, and it’s fair to say he would fit well at Anfield. A pacey, intelligent forward, Brendan Rodgers could rotate him in and out with Daniel Sturridge or even pair them should he alter his system.
£16m. Replacement for Luis Suarez. A chance to set the record straight in England. It all looked rosy when Liverpool clinched Mario Balotelli from AC Milan last summer. After all, a young player for a relatively small fee, what could go wrong? Well, plenty it would seem, with the Italian having notched just four goals – one from the penalty spot – since his arrival, while looking completely unsuited to a Brendan Rodgers side.
Reports claim that he’s likely to be on his way out this summer, and there’s little reason to suggest that he will be kept on.
Dubbed a replacement for Raheem Sterling, should he leave, Theo Walcott has been aligned with a somewhat surprise switch from Arsenal to Liverpool in recent times. The pacey attacker has been a rather peripheral player at the Emirates Stadium for some time, and despite being ‘on the block’ for as long as we can remember, he’s still only 26!
With plenty of straight line speed and the ability to play in any role in the final third of the pitch, Walcott is seemingly a good fit for Rodgers, who covets players to slot into a fluid system.
Fabio who? Borini was Rodgers first signing as Liverpool boss, arriving from Roma, but his impact has been minimal. Loaned out last season to Sunderland, Borini has followed up his dismal debut campaign at Anfield with an equally anonymous effort so far this term, with just one goal to his name.
It would seem that Borini is on his way out of Merseyside, according to reports, and even though he’s intelligent with his movement, it’s completely understandable from the club’s point of view. The 24-year-old himself could also benefit from a fresh start.
Another unorthodox striking option, Memphis Depay is currently one of the most sought-after attackers in Europe. The PSV Eindhoven man is wanted by both Liverpool and bitter rivals Manchester United, and with 17 Eredivisie goals to his name this season – the highest tally for an individual player – it’s easy to see why. Depay looks on course to fire his side to Dutch title glory – ending Ajax’s four-year winning streak – and at 22, he’s sure to go on to better things.
Comfortable on either flank or in a ‘No. 10’ role, Depay is good in transition and seems to be an idea candidate to operate in Rodgers’ current 3-4-2-1 system or a more orthodox 4-3-3.
Fairytale to nightmare, 2014/15 has been a disaster for Rickie Lambert. The now 33-year-old re-joined his boyhood club from Southampton last summer with hopes of helping his hometown side to glory, but his role has been extremely limited and his impact has been virtually non existent.
Reports suggest that he’s on his way out of Anfield, with a midtable Premier League side probably the destination.