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January transfer window - Who should Liverpool buy?

Everton v Liverpool - Premier League

Unfortunately for most clubs, Liverpool have already done their best of business before the January transfer window even opened by convincing Luis Suarez to sign a contract extension. However, the Anfield club has been vocal about looking for quality additions in the mid-season window.

The success of Phillipe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge since their arrival in January 2013 has set a precedent for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool’s transfer committee. Much has been said and written about the disastrous acquisition of Andy Carroll by Kenny Dalglish. However, the winter transfer window is essential not just for emergency reinforcements, but for the identification of bargains.

Daniel Sturridge scores another one: The January recruit has justified his move with a flurry of goals.

Given the current Liverpool squad, there is an obvious paucity of quality beyond the starting eleven. However, a balance has to be maintained when it comes to buying players given the young players emerging from the academy. Buy too many, and opportunities for the young to shine reduce. Buy too few, and an injury or too can expose gaping holes.

Goalkeepers:

No concerns here. Mignolet has performed admirably since he joined at the beginning of the season. While Rodgers would want to get an adequate back-up keeper, he may want to continue with Brad Jones till the summer.

Verdict: No reinforcements in January.

Centre Back:

The centre back position seems to be overflowing with options. Agger, Skrtel, Toure, Sakho are extremely handy to have, and with Tiago Illori learning the ropes, injuries should not be a concern especially with Martin Kelly’s preferred first choice being at the centre of defence.

Andre Wisdom has also enjoyed a particularly good run on loan at Derby. Thus, the future at the heart of the back-line looks secure.

Full-Back:

The emergence of Jon Flanagan as an absolutely flabbergasting right-footed left-back has obscured a problem area for the club. The injury to Jose Enrique should have meant that Aly Cissokho would have been deployed on the left, but the on-loan Valencia full-back’s hesitant performances have meant that Flanagan and Glen Johnson have been preferred.

Otherwise, the full-back positions look filled. Johnson, Kelly and Flanagan are more than comfortable on the either flanks, and with Cissokho in back-up, the lack of personnel does not seem to be an issue. Jack Robinson has been getting his share of games at Blackpool, while academy youngster Ryan McLaughlin has impressed this season for the youth teams.

Verdict: A left-back could be a possible recruit.

Possible Targets: Rodgers is rumoured to admire Ryan Bertrand since his Chelsea days. Benfica full-back Lorenzo Malgarejo is another one who has been on Liverpool’s radar.

Midfield:

The midfield, while extremely well-stocked, still seems to lack a particular spark which a world-class player brings to a team. No wonder Rodgers was keen to add Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the close season.

Lucas has recovered well from his injury, while Joe Allen seems to be settling in again. Jordan Henderson is a man possessed in the absence of Steven Gerrard, while Phillipe Coutinho only needs to score to add to his dazzling movement and passing.

Luis Alberto has only managed fleeting appearances even with Gerrard injured. Suso, on loan at Almeria, has been getting the much-needed game time he requires, and has been chipping in with goals and assists.

Conor Coady, currently on loan at Sheffield United, is expected to take up the reins from Lucas over the coming years, but his development has not occurred as one would have hoped. However, the presence of emerging talents Harry Wilson, Marc Pelosi and Joao Carlos Teixeira may force Rodgers to stay his hand.

Verdict: Attacking mid-fielder a possible recruit.

Possible Targets: Plenty of talk about Derby County’s Will Hughes, who at 18 has been a mainstay for the Rams. PSG’s Javier Pastore may prove to be too expensive, while Schalke’s Julian Draxler has reportedly been scouted by Rodgers himself. Sevilla captain Ivan Rakiti? seems to be another player that has been linked with Liverpool.

Forwards:

Truth be told, Liverpool probably don’t require another forward considering Luis Suarez’s form. Put the returning Daniel Sturridge in the mix, and a forward-minded player should not be on Rodgers’ mind.

Raheem Sterling has responded well after being called upon in Sturridge’s absence, and the on-loan Victor Moses has added experience and guile to the front-line. Iago Aspas seems to be struggling, and could do with a loan spell to settle in English football. Youth players Jordan Ibe and Jerome Sinclair continue to be on the fringes of the squad, with the former making the bench on several occasions this season.

Assaidi has played a couple of blinders this season at Stoke, as has Fabio Borini, who has already endeared himself to the Sunderland fans with his screamer of a winner in the Tyne-Wear derby. Academy product Adam Morgan seems destined to move to Yeovil Town in the summer.

Club Atletico de Madrid v Levante UD - La Liga

Only if Liverpool had managed to snatch Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid in the summer…

Verdict: Emergency striking reinforcement may not be required considering current options, while returning players should ease the pressure in the summer. However, with Rodgers missing out on Diego Costa in the summer, another forward could very well be on the cards. FC Basel winger Mohamed Salah has been repeatedly linked, while talk of Barcelona’s Pedro is surely too good to be true.

Final Verdict

A left-back should be priority at the moment, especially considering Cissokho will leave in the summer. Otherwise, Rodgers seems intent on adding to his mid-field and forward line-up judging by his pursuit of Deigo Costa and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the summer.

With neither looking as possible moves anymore, Rodgers may want to wait till the close season window before making a big-money move for a player, considering the presence of Victor Moses till the end of the season.

Should any transfers occur, value is bound to be the operative word. Twenty million pounds for a winger seem to be a thing of the past for Liverpool.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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