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Where do Liverpool need to strengthen this summer?

ANALYST
Modified 13 Jun 2013, 19:10 IST
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Liverpool had central defensive issues that will only get worse with Jamie Carragher’s retirement. Martin Skrtel, who has been linked with a move away, regressed badly last year and Daniel Agger looks worse when not partnered with a rugged organiser. They’ve signed Kolo Toure, but that isn’t going to get them in to the Champions League spots. Their first choice seems to be Schalke’s young Greek star, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, and he would be an excellent signing. Schalke are supposedly holding out for £18m for him but at just 21, he offers amazing potential. He’s big, strong, quick and a ferocious defender. He’s not afraid of getting vocal with more experienced teammates either. If Liverpool pocket £50m for Suarez and £12m for Carroll, they can certainly afford this. They could then sell Skrtel and still have enough depth with Wisdom and Pearce.

FC Schalke 04 v FC Augsburg - Bundesliga

Although he’s done decently enough, Jose Enrique could certainly be upgraded upon. Liverpool could steal a march on Man United and Chelsea by moving for Southampton’s Luke Shaw. Shaw would be given the chance to win the job from Enrique and establish himself as their left back of the future. They’ve got some OK young full backs, but no one of Shaw’s calibre.

Liverpool are spending a lot of time adding attacking midfield options, and this has accelerated with doubts over Suarez. Aspas has been bought to play there, Luis Alberto seems to be arriving from Sevilla and Shakhtar’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan is being heavily linked, supposedly close to signing. Rodgers needs all of these tricky technical players to fully implement his system and give Gerrard and Lucas plenty of options to pass to. It’s much easier to rotate these players around in various competitions with Aspas and Luis Alberto battling for a spot next to Coutinho and Mkhitarayan in all likelihood. They’ve also got Downing and Borini to consider here. And then, what of Sterling, Shelvey and Ibe? Loans perhaps?

They may also consider some midfield depth with Lucas injury prone and Gerrard getting on in age. They paid over £30m to get Henderson and Allen so they need to get proper value out of them, but neither inspires much confidence in Kopites.

It’s a tough summer for Liverpool. They’ve got a good team with few obvious weaknesses. They can’t afford and lack the Champions League football to attract huge upgrades like a Cavani, Higuain or Sneijder, who are all gossip column regulars and it is hard to sign sufficient quality to just sit on the bench. This, combined with a need to push their young players and lumbering themselves with expensively bought and maintained players from past windows who need game time, gives Brendan Rodgers a tricky balancing act to pull off.

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Published 13 Jun 2013, 19:00 IST
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