Liverpool have suffered this season, and for a club that has spent around £60m this year they still have a small squad and one that in all honesty is lacking in real quality. They only registered 19 players out of a possible 25 with the rest of the squad being made up of U21 players which consist, among others, Jordan Henderson, Sebastián Coates, Jack Robinson, Jon Flanagan, Stephen Kelly and Jonjo Shelvey.
Apart from buying a back up goalkeeper, Liverpool really do need to reinforce every position but more than anything they need a goal scorer. Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez are not scoring enough goals. Their midfield is not creating enough, the only one really who is doing that is Suarez and the defence is not got enough depth. Agger and Skrtel are good defenders but Carragher is forever moving closer to retirement, whether he is realising it or not and Coates still looks to be a year or two away from reaching his full potential.
Looking at the squad and the formation that seems to be used by Kenny, I can’t help but feel that the right side of midfield/right wing has to be looked at. Henderson is not best suited there and Kuyt may be moving on, which I think is a mistake, so they really need to have a look for a player that can cross and cut in a drive at defences. Also in midfield there is the issue of Steven Gerrard and where he is played. He can play and will play anywhere for Liverpool and for Kenny but he is at his best behind the striker or in the centre of the park.
It was a huge blow to Liverpool to lose Lucas when they did as he was their best player, something I never thought I would hear my self say as I have not been one to rate the player to highly in the past, but it seemed that he had now come into his own and was really becoming a real battler in Liverpool’s midfield. Spearing has done okay filling-in midfield, and will have gained valuable experience from this season, and with Lucas fit next season should be adequate back up for him if he is needed.
Charlie Adam has not been as much as a success as people would have hoped, or as much as I had predicted. I saw him and Gerrard in midfield pinging balls all over the pitch causing the opposition countless problems but that just hasn’t happened. Kenny and the fans and surely himself will be hoping that next season he will reach the form that is needed but can Liverpool really afford to faith in underperforming players? They can’t afford to have another season like this in the league. So where do they need to focus spending money and who should they buy.
We all know to win games you need to score goals and let’s be honest Carroll is not scoring goals, neither is Suarez, so a goal scorer is essential. If Kenny is going to keep to his 4-2-3-1/4-4-1-1- the he needs a goal scorer that is going to hold up the ball, or a player that is going to hold up the ball and can score either way you look at it there is pone player that can do that and that currently plays in the Premier League too and that is Adebayor. Love him or hate him, but he scores goals and helps his team mates around him score too. Now as I had pointed out earlier, Liverpool need a goal scorer but that means Kenny has to play the striker as an out-and-out striker rather than a holding striker and if he does that then Adebayor can do that but maybe he could look to some out-and-out goal scorers such as Jermaine Defoe or Darren Bent or abroad with either Roberto Soldado or Fernando Llorente. Liverpool have had good fortune with Spanish strikers called Fernando in the past, but maybe that is still a sore point at the moment. In any case those five strikers will score goals, it is just a case of how well they can fit into the team at Liverpool. Suarez is a playmaker who can score goals and can work as a secondary striker or an advanced attacking midfielder in a similar role to that of Steven Gerrard. The two players from Spain, Llorente and Soldado, would cost a lot more than Defoe or Bent, especially with how poorly Villa are doing at the moment. For the anount they would spent on one player they buy from Spain they could possibly buy both English players for, to be realistic that could be the case. Soldado and Llorente won’t be sold unless their clubs get around £30m so with Bent at £20m and Defoe £10m, you do the maths.
On the Right Wing
If Kuyt is being fazed out of Liverpool I can’t see Henderson being his replacement. He has not done enough for me that he will play there all next season and if Liverpool want to reach the top four again then they need a good right midfielder/winger. In England at present you have Adam Johnson who could be on his way out of Manchester City if he wants more first team football and with Liverpool having a history for buying players for an inflated price cough*Jordan Henderson*cough then I don’t see why city wouldn’t cash in on him. I like Johnson a lot and I fully believe that he can become an extremely dangerous winger if he is playing week in week out. He is a good crosser of the ball but is dangerous cutting inside and attacking defenders and nothing scares defenders more than a tricky player running at them. Another shout is another young English player over at Aston Villa this time in the shape of Marc Albrighton. To be fair Villa also have Charles N’Zogbia and a host of other good players, why they are in relegation battle is beyond me, well apart form their main striker being injured and McLeish as manager, is that harsh to say? Anyway I would rather have N’Zogbia than Albrighton, who I am a fan of, but N’Zogbia is really a left winger and Liverpool are in more need for a right winger. At the moment I don’t feel that Albrighton is good enough for Liverpool, but in the future he will be, which could also be true of Barry Bannan, Gary Gardner and Ciaran Clark. The best right winger that I feel Liverpool could tempt to Anfield is Jesus Navas who currently plays for Sevilla. He is fast, tricky and can score goals, he is like a younger, faster dirka dirka, but he might not have the same determination and heart as Kuyt has. The Spanish international could be on the move in the summer with Sevilla having a poor season and look to be missing out on Europe completely so with the history of Liverpool and the fact that they will be playing in the Europa League and be pushing for a top four finish, why wouldn’t he?
In the Centre of the Park
Now you may think that with Gerrard there and Charlie Adam going to be given his chance and having Lucas coming back with Spearing acting as cover that Liverpool don’t need to sign a central midfielder, well this is why I think you would be wrong. Gerrard does not have the same impact that he used to have in the team and might be better suited to play just behind the striker where he can cause more gaol scoring opportunities with either passing the ball or shooting himself and I don’t think Charlie Adam has the legs to run around and help boss the midfield. Lucas would still be coming back from injury and it may take some time before he reaches his full potential and Spearing is good cover and that is it, I wouldn’t say he is a midfielder that is going to help push his team to a top four finish. Liverpool need someone that has the stamina to run around all game, has the toughness to put tackles in and have an eye for a pass. Those kind of players are not in a great abundance and for that reason are not going to be cheap.
There is the highly rated and much chased Rennes midfielder Yann M’Vila. He would f it that description but being valued at around £18m Liverpool would really have to raid the bank to get him to Anfield. There is one thing that is going against Liverpool, well two things, 1.) being that they are not going to be in the Champions League and if he is going to leave Rennes it will most probably be for a club that is and 2.) with he likes of Arsenal, Real Madrid and PSG all sounding their interest it is unlikely that he will be heading to Liverpool. Napoli’s Walter Gargano is another player that would fill the void that is in Liverpool’s midfield. The Uruguayan would be teaming up with fellow countryman, Luis Suarez, which would be helpful for both the player and the club. He has Champions League experience which is a plus but also may be a reason that he may not what to go to Liverpool and play in the Europa League instead, but if he did he, Gargano would really add some steal to the Liverpool midfield and I feel that he and Lucas would dominate the midfield at home and away would break up many on coming attacks. Liverpool have been linked to Barcelona’s Seydou Keita and he has the experience to help progress Liverpool and he wouldn’t be costing Liverpool and extortionate amount of money either but personally I think the midfielder they should be trying to sign is Valencia’s Éver Banega. For those that do not follow La Liga may recognize the name, especially Everton fans, as Everton failed to sig him on loan a few seasons ago. He has the eye for a pass but can also battle in midfield and would be a great addition to any club around Europe, which again with Liverpool league position and non entry into Champions League may go against them, but their history is such that still can attract players to the club.
Jose Enrique has not done so badly that he needs to be replaced, but he does need competition for his place, something that Fabio Aurellio is not giving. Stephen Warnock, currently at Aston Villa, only has until 2013 on his contract and with things not going so well with Villa, they want to cash in on the player now rather than later. Warnock started his career at Liverpool so he would be something of the prodigal son returning home to the club where he made over 40 appearances. Another former player that could come back is Norwegian fans favourite John Arne Riise. He has done a decent enough job while at Fulham and his experience would be beneficial to Liverpool and would provide some great cover for José Enrique. At 31 he is only a year older than Warnock and is the same age as another left back candidate Wayne Bridge. Now Bridge has not has the best few seasons on or off the pitch and it would be a gamble to put it mildly if Liverpool signed him, but he could be a gamble that pays off. If it was a permanent signing then he may fair better than he has done when he has been on loan to clubs. There is one more player that I feel would be able to offer support and also challenge José Enrique for a place and that is Nigerian Loanee Taye Taiwo. On loan from AC Milan and currently playing for QPR, Taiwo would cost around £5m. He is strong and reliable and with his loan spell at QPR already, in someway, used to the Premiership.
How they would line up: