Liverpool are far from where they ideally wanted to be halfway through this season- eighth in the league and knocked out of the Champions League. Gerrard’s departure news has only added to the gloom. But it is January, and it is the time when clubs can bring in reinforcements and hope that the difference lies in these new arrivals. So what do Liverpool need?
No, this isn’t some Liverpool Instagram or Facebook post or a Tweet where to everything, fans only have one answer. Let’s get started.
Liverpool have had two main problems so far. In the absence of Daniel Sturridge, there hasn’t been an able deputy striker. Summer additions Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli have greatly misfired and outcast Fabio Borini hasn’t been given enough time to really prove a point. And when he did get some time, he bounced a ball so hard in frustration and shortly after nearly took out Santi Cazorla’s left nipple, that it became one of the most bizarre cameos in the history of football. The second problem has been the defence, which despite costing the poor Americans bucket load of money, is still leaking goals. A three man back line comprising Mamadou Sakho, Martin Skrtel, and makeshift defender Emre Can has brought some stability at the back, but Simon Mignolet has been a walking disaster this season and has let Liverpool down on more than one occasion. Rodgers’ put in Brad Jones to give the Belgian some time out on the sidelines, but Jones was hardly an able substitute, and himself got injured after three games resulting in Rogers’ plan being brought to an unexpected halt.
Needless to say, the two positions Liverpool would want to add new players to, is the strike department and the goalkeeper spot. Daniel Sturridge returns in about two weeks but considering the injury record of the England international, Rodgers needs to take measures to ensure Liverpool are not in a limping state if something were to happen to their first choice striker again. Divock Origi has been rumored to return recently. But the Reds fan would know better than to get excited over the unproved 19 year old raw starlet. In fact, it is quite surprising that they want to bring back the Belgian international for an added a 3m sum. Origi has not done well for Lille this season, but every time he was with the national side in between, he seemed to perform so much better. There is no doubt that there is immense talent in the 19 year old striker. However, he is raw at the moment and wouldn’t make much of an impact for Liverpool. It would be another young player with a lot of expectations. The counter-argument to this is that the player was sent back on loan (because Lille showed Liverpool the door if they refused to not agree to the loan deal immediately) was to develop further, with proper game-time, and come to Merseyside a more mature player. But the way Lille are playing at the moment, fighting a relegation battle, a position they would not even have dreamt to be in at the moment, Origi is not exactly in a “developing” environment. Moreover, Lille fans and French football experts claim that Origi’s head is already in Liverpool and he couldn’t care less about his present club. In such a case, where the parent club feels that their youth prospect’s development is halting instead of progressing, it seems like a justified decision to bring him back early.
Fiorentina’s Neto refused a contract extension and he has reportedly been tracked by the Reds for a long time. It seems that Liverpool would be pouncing on his services soon. Brendan Rodgers’ desperately needs an upgrade on Mignolet and it is uncertain if Neto will be that. Links with Petr Cech were far more exciting as the player of his calibre will do so much for a defence that looks shambolic at times. Cech’s experience and leadership quality can bring stability and organization in that frail defence. Liverpool have needed that leadership and organization at the back, something they’ve lacked since Jamie Carragher and Pepe Reina went away and Cech is more than an upgrade for Mignolet. But it seems like Liverpool view Brazilian Neto as the more realistic option. From reports and videos of his, he looks good at acrobatic shot stopping – something Mignolet himself instead bad at – but doesn’t look great at holding on to the ball. So we will have to wait and see if he is good enough to put Mignolet on the bench, or be his cover. Juventus seem to be the new Spurs for the Reds as they are also interested in the player and they think could the successor to Buffon.
Xherdan Shaqiri has been linked with Liverpool ever since Mohamed Salah’s transfer was hijacked by Chelsea (cue the laughter from the Blues faithful) and after exactly one year, Liverpool are still interested in the played dubbed to be “Alpine Messi”. Liverpool face serious competition from Inter Milan, who according to all insiders and “trusted journalists”, look to be edging closer to his signing. Juventus are also interested in the Bayern Munich man. Shaqiri is not what Liverpool need presently. After a striker and a goalkeeper, the Reds need a defensive midfielder, a central midfielder and then they need what Shaqiri can offer them. But when a player of his talent is available for around A?12m, clubs like Liverpool who are are behind their expectations of the season,would be pouncing at the chance. With Adam Lallana injured for about a month, the 23 year old would walk into the starting line-up. The attacking quartet of Sturridge, Sterling, Coutinho and Shaqiri could prove to be quite menacing and his arrival would add a lot of prowess in the Reds squad. Moreover, he might be the injection of confidence boost and attacking flair Liverpool so desperately require as they look to have a better second half to the season and finish in the top 4 spots, alongside getting a domestic cup. If Liverpool don’t get a striker, just getting Shaqiri wouldn’t be a bad deal too as he can be accommodated in all preferred formations of Brendan Rodgers’.