Liverpool have had a wretched record in the transfer market for the best part of four or five years, and it is because of this that they have lost their guaranteed Champions League qualification status. It makes this an important summer for Brendan Rodgers, who has been speaking of the need to add depth to the squad. The poor work in the markets in previous years has left Liverpool with a paper-thin but expensively assembled squad. There were some signs of better decision making with the January signings of Daniel Sturridge and especially Philippe Coutinho, so can Liverpool keep that up this summer and what do they need to do?
Liverpool have a strong first team but almost no depth. The problem is, depth is a hard thing to buy. Can Liverpool buy players of significant quality if they are just coming to push the first team? With the exception of the central defence, maybe left back and a possible Suarez-shaped hole, there isn’t a glaring weakness in the full strength side. Not one that can be addressed when not in the Champions League at least. The best way to build depth is through the youth system or by relegating previous purchases to depth status. But those previously bought players cost a stack of money, so they are constantly chasing previous mistakes.
The first issue for Liverpool to solve is the Luis Suarez situation. He has asked to leave and is a valuable asset to sell. If Liverpool can get Real Madrid to pay them £50m, they will be very tempted to sell him. It seems increasingly likely that this will be the case, so for the sake of argument let’s assume that he is on his way, and treat him staying as a bonus for Liverpool.
If Suarez goes, then Liverpool will only have Sturridge as a central striker unless they can’t sell Andy Carroll. Liverpool need to find some competition for him to push him to improve. Rodgers has committed to him as their future so they are unlikely to sign a David Villa or Mario Gomez. Soon to be incoming, Iago Aspas, can operate centrally but isn’t an ideal option due to his lack of size. Perhaps someone like Wilfried Bony of Vitesse Arnhem or even Demba Ba could be bought with a chance to compete to take the spot. That way, they wouldn’t have to guarantee it to a new big name and relegate Sturridge to the bench or out wide. Rodgers also needs to get value from Fabio Borini, considering he cost £10m.