Crucial Summer In The Transfer Market For Liverpool

By on April 15, 2011

Dalglish in action

Though European football may be just out of reach for Kenny Dalglish’s revitalized reds, the massive improvements made since his takeover as manager have given the club renewed hope for next season. To many, the Hodgson era represented the beginning of a slide down the English football hierarchy, with Manchester City and Tottenham seemingly the natural accessors to the places towards the top of the table. Hodgson worked wonders at Fulham, but the writing was on the wall from day one in some sections of the Merseyside faithful, and a string of dour results, including losses to Everton, Blackpool, Wolves, Stoke, and Blackburn, Roy finally exited Anfield on 8 January.

The appointment of Dalglish, a hero as both a player and manager at the club, saw skeptics question if the Scot could cope with the complexities and differences the modern game had sprung since he left the hot seat in 1991. But renewed passion and vigor from the same players who struggled or were overlooked under Hodgson, like Martin Kelly, Glen Johnson, and Jay Spearing, have thrived under the new manager, with important contributions. Fernando Torres’s sulking figure has been replaced by Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll, who along with Dirk Kuyt, already have the makings of a fearful attacking threesome. We take a look at what moves Dalglish and the board will make this off-season in order to return to their former heights near the top of the table.

GOALKEEPER

Since joining from Villareal in 2005, Reina has established himself as one the of best goalkeepers not only in the league, but also in the world, and were it not for Iker Casillas he would have many more caps than his relatively modest 21. However, there have been rumors circulating that the Spaniard may follow his compatriot Torres out the door this summer, with Arsenal at the head of the queue. He would surely command a high fee, but the inexperience behind him would need that at least one top class goalkeeper would be required. No other keepers have made an appearance in the league for Liverpool this season, with just one (Brad Jones) making an appearance in any other competition (2 in the Europa League).

Jones was brought in as cover from Middlesbrough, but a lack of first team action has seen him go on loan to Derby County, and the Australian international would surely be a massive step down from Reina. Peter Gulacsi and Martin Hansen have both shown promise for their countries- Hungary and Denmark, respectively- but with both just 20 the number one jersey is a few years away, if it is to be attained. Diego Cavalieri is back in Brazil in loan. Dalglish will be tempted by Europe’s two hottest prospects, Manuel Neuer and David De Gea, but Asmir Begovic, Shay Given, and Kieren Westwood could all be available as well. Igor Akinfeev of CSKA Moscow could also finally move to England after years of rumors. Reina is the obvious number one if he stays, and the priority should be to keep hold of the long-time number one.

DEFENCE

Martin Skrtel has been a constant in the centre of defence, but erratic form from Jamie Carragher, Glen Johnson, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, and Daniel Agger saw Liverpool struggle to keep clean sheets under Hodgson. Under Dalglish, Johnson has rekindled his form that saw Chelsea and Liverpool battle for his services, but this time on the left side of the defence. Martin Kelly has also been impressive since getting a run in the team, and the England U21 international looks to have a bright future having gained valuable experience this year. Daniel Agger was perhaps the most vocal critic under Hodgson, but the Dane has shown that he perhaps had a point, showing the courage and skill that was missing earlier in the year.

Jamie Carragher seems to be feeling the weight of age, and the Liverpool legend looks further off the pace than previous years. A massive personality he undoubtedly is, but accompanied with the disaster that has been Kyrgiakos, Liverpool will surely be on the market for a new centre half, with Gary Cahill of Bolton and Phil Jones of Blackburn fitting the bill. Fabio Aurelio has failed to figure prominently, and could be sold to fund replacements. A new left back would also be ideal if Johnson is to be returned to the right side, with Paul Konchesky also like to leave permanently following his loan spell at Nottingham Forest. Newcastle left back Jose Enrique has been heavily linked with a move to Liverpool, and Spanish defender would certainly strengthen the back line considerably.

MIDFIELD

Steven Gerrard is the undoubted leader of the midfield and the club itself, and the Liverpool native has been with the club his entire career, having made his debut in 1998. The skipper has been massive, and even at 30 he still seems to have a lot left to give, and despite injury checkering this campaign he has still chipped in with 4 goals in the league, and a majestic hat trick against Napoli in the Europa League. The addition of Raul Meireles from Porto proved to be Hodgson’s best piece of business, with the Portugese international steadily improving over the course of the season, with 5 goals and 5 assists to his name. Lucas Leiva has long divided opinion of supporters, but it must be said his performances have improved this year; regardless, questions remain as to whether he will ever be good enough to play more than a bit part at the highest level. Maxi Rodriguez has impressed, with the Argentine adding some much-needed flair and attacking impetus in midfield.

Jay Spearing has been given his chance under Dalglish, and the feisty Liverpudlian has shown commitment in abundance, and at just 22 he will surely play a bigger role next year. Jonjo Shelvey was one of the most sought-after teenagers in England, becoming a vital first team player at Charlton when he was 16. Now 19, Shelvey has represented and captained England up to U19 level, and has already made more than 10 appearances for the Reds this year, and could force his way into the reckoning next year. Joe Cole has failed spectacularly since getting sent off on opening day against Arsenal, and has scored just twice in 26 appearances in all competitions, with Dalglish seemingly not keen on involving the former Chelsea star much. The only consolation is that he was a free transfer. Ashley Young would be the perfect winger to provide service to Liverpool’s attack if he can be prized away from Aston Villa, and Matt Jarvis could be on the move if Wolves fail to beat the drop as well.

ATTACK

At the beginning of the season you would have been hard pressed to imagine the current Liverpool strike force as it is now. Fernando Torres was well on his way to becoming a club legend, and revered by the fans for his boatloads of goals. Fast forward to April, and Torres is now struggling at Chelsea after his 50m move, with Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez each having completed big money moves to Anfield from Newcastle and Ajax. Torres never did seem to have the right attitude, and aside from his brilliant performance against current club Chelsea earlier in the year, he looked a shadow of himself. Carroll has fired in the goals for the Magpies the past 2 seasons, and Suarez has done the same in the Eredivisie.

Along with the hard-working Dirk Kuyt, a formidable triumvirate at the front could indeed be on the cards. Carroll is one of the best in the air in Europe, a tough mark from a set piece or open play for even the most experienced defenders. Suarez is tricky, and the ability to beat a defender with a plethora of moves due to his precise ball control, and he tends to notch up assists as well. These three look set to lead the line next season, but a dependable fourth striker for cover and competition is needed. Milan Jovanovic has struggled to do much of anything since joining from Standard Liege in the summer, and has failed to find the net in just a string of appearances. David Ngog is still only 22, but with only 2 goals in 22 league appearances this year, it seems his chance to cement his place as an important player in the team may have gone.

Where do you think Liverpool will end up next year, and what is needed to improve?

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14 Comments

  1. Tatum Webb

    April 15, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Personally, if Reina wants to go, then so be it – let him go!, but at a good price like Torres. Remember theres no point having a good Goal keeper if thguys in front of him can’t defend for love and money, which is why i think Skirtel, Kyrgiakos, Konchesky & Aurelio need to go. Lets get a good solid CB, which won’t cost us the earth, just because they play in the Premiership.

    Regarding Midfield, I think we really need to look at other alternatives other than Young and Adam, who lets face it, are great players, but are big fish in a small pond. Personally i think we should be looking at clubs like Barca, Man City, Real Madrid etc who have fantastic players who are not playing, and would be able to be snapped up for a good price i.e A johnson, Turan, Bojan, Canasaries Etc, Also lets exploit this global Marketing chain and get someone in like Honda, who could provide great attacking options but bring big money from shirt/media slaes from Asia. Also ship out everyone except are young talent and Mereles, Gerrard, and maybe Lucas.

    Forwards

    We have a great strike force at the club now and lets face it, i think we haven’t missed Torres one bit since his departure, just like when Owen left. So do we need another good forward yes, but lets not spend sillly money on a big name player who will sulk when hes not getting on the pitch every game, which most of them will. I think this is a perfect time to get someone in like Bojan, like Wickam, the guy from OPR who i can’t remember now; apologies to him. i would even gibe old sale your soul to the devil mickey Owen another stab, as he would be free and hey if he starts scoreing again for us, then lets face it we will love him again in no time.

    But i think the main thing king kenny needs to do this summer, is clear the rot out of the club, just get them off the books, and once again bring in some players who will be hopefully proud to pull on the most famous red shirt in world football on, and listen to the glorious roar of the KOP!

  2. John Heri Dam

    April 15, 2011 at 10:38 am

    hahahahahaha, Jose Enrique is not from Argentina, he is from Spain. Hope you don´t belive this crap!!!!!! Good jurnalist, from Argentina?????

  3. British

    April 15, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Kuyt, Suarez and Carroll make a remarkable triumvirate up front. At least scoring shouldn’t be a problem for Liverpool next season. Ashley Young and Jarvis would fit perfectly in Liverpool’s midfield. Reina’s departure would be a blow for the Reds. Manuel Neuer, David De Gea or Igor Akinfeev could successfully replace him as a goalkeeper.

  4. Ronny

    April 15, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Goalkeeper issue: If Reina wants to leave then Liverpool should try to get Buffon or Neuer

    In Defence i think Agger is our best centre back but he is not a regular because of his injuries and i think now is the time to get someone else in his place. Skrtel has been decent, carragher getting old and Kyrgiakos is a squad player. With Wilson, Ayala and Kelly emerging Liverpool can afford not to buy in this area. But leftback is a issue which needs to be addressed and Taiwo, Coentrao or even Enrique looks good options. Also Liverpool should bring back Insua.

    Midfield is the area where Liverpool need a player who can keep the ball, Liverpool have defensive midfielders and playmakers but they have no one who can keep the ball and control the tempo of the game and for that i think Liverpool should bring Aquilani back or even Charlie Adams looks decent option.
    Wingers is the position Liverpool needs most strengthening because they have none who is even decent, Liverpool need to look at Turan, Young, Dsudszak, Marin.
    Striker position has been filled by Carroll, Kuyt and Suarez , and Liverpool don’t need to bring anyone else as they can promote Eccleston next season

  5. REGHAN

    April 15, 2011 at 11:52 am

    We should get rid of Joe Cole, Jovanovic, Ngog, Poulsen and Kyrgiakos. We can Promote Raheem Sterling Pacheco and Suso to the first team. We should sign Edinson CAVANI great player and rotate our strikers.

    I believe Pepe Reina may reconsider his options and stay with Liverpool next season, but in the event he decides to leave we should sign either Maarten Stekelenburg, David De Gea or Igor Akinfeev as replacement.

    We need to sign either Aaron Lennon, Ashley Young or scout some talent abroad.

    At Left back we should try signing either Gael Clichy, Coentrao or could move for Mathieu Flamini who can play in a variety of positions including as a holding midfielder.

    I would also move for Brede Hangeland of Fulham.

  6. bosco

    April 15, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    my own concern is about left bck.we stil av players dat can fil up dat space instead of spendng big money on another left bck.i tink we shld rather spend our money wit one solid winger n one defencive midfielder n more so wit one gud keeper if reina wat 2 live.i prefer given cus we can get him cheap sine hart has already replace him.bt 2 say d truth i dnt wat reina 2 live d club like others ‘pls stay’.liverpool til i die

  7. bosco

    April 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    my own concern is about left bck.we stil av players dat can fil up dat space instead of spendng big money on another left bck.i tink we shld rather spend our money wit one solid winger n one defencive midfielder n more so wit one gud keeper if reina wat 2 live.i prefer given cus we can get him cheap sine hart has already replace him.bt 2 say d truth i dnt wat reina 2 live d club like others ‘pls stay’.liverpool til i die.options,wingers e.g jeffren suares,bojar,young,jarvis or n zobia.defencive midfielder e.g,diara,cahil,adam.out eg jovanovic,cole,kocheski,kigiakros.in e.g pacheco,esua,flano,spearng,wilson,soso,stelng etc.then we are ready 2 go

    • Ancient

      April 15, 2011 at 2:03 pm

      i think a lot of the above is correct we need to change the team, we need to get rid of milan jovanic, christian poulson, kiriogkros and konchesky as i really did think they could of been some one. i think we should give j cole and david n gog a chance still as they need time but only for one more season as we do need to think about future.

      then i think to come in we need one strong centre back like gary cahill or shawcross. then one left back like taiwo, clichy or enriqe. then we need charlie adam because he can be someone in liverpool like he has become in blackpool he is top class he is young and can either play with gerard like xabi alonso or even in the future become gerard as his passing is amazing. but to be honest i wish gerard never got old complete legend. also we need wingers but i think only on the left because i still think kuyt is quality and gives us confidence in the game as he never gives up so signing, ashley yound, stewart downing, matt jarvis and aaron lennon one or two of these will be quality for the whole team as they are young. for strike i think adding michael owen who i have loved nearly all my life coming in would be good and also wickham would be good for the future. any of these players would be a good asset for us for the present and the future.

  8. Ancient

    April 15, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    i forgot to say i think for manager role King Kenny deserves it he has done so much for liverpool over his time with and without us on and off the pitch.

  9. brandon

    April 15, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    lol jose enrique from argentina great journalism hes spainish dummy

  10. Reed Sydel

    April 15, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    LFC seriously needs to sign Gareth Bale and Angel Di Maria as left and right wingers respectively.

  11. kall

    April 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    if liverpool have any chance of getting third or fourth place we will need to buy 2 world class wingers and i dont mean someone like matt jarvis even though he has been good for wolves this season i mean players like arda turan or alexis sanchez but mainly buying a solid center back and a good left back even though martin kelly will be a good defender players like gary cahill and jose enrique and and sort out another striker like thomas muller bojan or connor wickham and sort a goalkeeper like de gea.

  12. Arvesh

    April 16, 2011 at 9:33 am

    the attacking line up is nice but the real tackle is played in the midfield post where actually it looks a bit fragile. and concerning Bojan, i think its a nice idea.

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