Brendan Rodgers has stated that he is NOT doing a Tottenham – basically buying anyone after the sale of their big star. I have reason to believe him too. Prior to the World Cup we heard that Liverpool would have a fairly large kitty to buy new players and improve the depth to be able to compete in 4 competitions – League, Champions League and 2 Domestic Cups. Rumours indicated that this could be as large as £60m not including any extra generated from sale of players. We also had the impression that Luis Suarez may have been staying – after all he got his wish of playing in the Champions League, supposedly happy with all the support and awards he won and even enlisted his children in a school in Liverpool too. However things have changed and our star striker has left us. Most of the signings we have made were already being talked about before Suarez left and I can only assume hat Brendan Rodgers and LFC had these names in mind to purchase with the assumption that Suarez would be staying.
Whilst none of these signings can replace Suarez I don’t think they are a case of panic buying either. I have decided to rank the signings in order so far based on who I think will have the biggest impact on our team in the upcoming season
6: Divock Origi
At number 6 purely because he will spend next season at Lille on loan and therefore won’t have any impact for us. Definitely a great buy and shows he has skill as well as power and pace. Obviously not the finished article but would certainly be a good addition to our squad but part of the condition he signed for us now was that he be loaned back to Lille.
5: Rickie Lambert
Its a bit of surprise signing at 32 and definitely a dream move for him. I can’t see him being anything more than a squad player and maybe his greatest influence will be in the dressing room and on the training ground. His experience, passion for his boyhood club and enthusiasm will be a great addition and hopefully benefit us off the pitch. He also offers us something different to Sturridge as he is also a good player to hold the ball up and bring others into the game. Certainly can’t see him playing as much as he did for Southampton last year but for £4m could be a great bargain buy and I would much prefer to see Lambert on the bench than Iago Aspas
4: Adam Lallana
Not guaranteed to start even after a £25m move. Considering the attacking talent we have and the way Coutinho has started pre-season I think he will struggle to hold down a regular place. My biggest fear is that he will turn out to be another Charlie Adam or Joe Allen – both looked great amongst average players in a mid-table club but struggled at a big club with quality around them. When given the chance in an England shirt, Lallana really looked out of his depth and so I do have concerns that he won’t live up to the price tag but I do think he offers us a better option than Luis Alberto does and therefore does add more option to our squad.
3: Emre Can
I almost placed him at 4th due to an inconsistent season last year but I think with his versatility, work rate and obvious technical ability, he could be a surprise this year. At 20 he also has a lot of growth too. Henderson should be worried and he played well last year! In pre-season he seems to have slotted in well and has a great engine too. The ability to play at LB as well as in midfield gives us a lot of options. Again a major step up from the likes of Sissoko
2: Dejan Lovren
Could certainly step straight in to the starting 11 and a quality signing. Will certainly have a big impact on our chances to have another great season – almost made it to my no. 1. A player similar in essence to Daniel Agger but without the fitness issues. I hear Agger could be on his way to Barcelona and sad as I would be to see him leave, I know Lovren is a logical replacement. Not only does he have the defensive qualities we need, he has the ability to play football too.
1: Lazar Marcovic
Skillful, quick and more than capable of putting in dazzling performances but also willing to track back and do the defensive dutties too. Maybe not as many goals or as unpredictably brilliant as Suarez was last year but because of the ‘wow’ factor I think he deserves the number 1. Lovren will be a good solid performer and do what’s expected but Markovic will provide that creativity and wow factor. I can fully understand why Avram Grant thinks only Ronaldo and Messi were better at his age. A much better upgrade to Moses.
As you can see we have gained 5 new players to our squad for this season (and one to join us the season after) but we have lost a few players due to loan deals either ending or ours going out on loan. We could also be losing our Vice Captain. We still haven’t replaced Suarez (as if anyone could) in terms of squad depth. All these signings basically replace a player so I don’t see this as just buying up anyone, everyone and each is a step up from the player they replace.
Looking at the current squad and possible areas needed to improve our squad and its depth:-
In terms of our overall squad depth I would like to see Ricardo Rodriguez signed to give us a good LB. I know Enrique is back and Flanagan proved he can play there but it is certainly a vulnerable area of our squad. If not Rodriguez then Moreno or failing that Rojo. I know Mignolet didn’t have the most consistent season but we could always keep Reina to push each other to improve. Manquillo maybe joining us if rumours are true and that could be our defence sorted. We have a lot of defenders on our books so would depend on further sales to whether or not I think we need to buy but I do think Coates looked OK in pre-season and Ilori deserves a chance but we do have Lovren, Sakho, Skrtel, Kelly, Johnson, etc too.
Midfield we do have quite a good squad to rotate although I would welcome the addition of an attacking midfielder – particularly if we struggle to get a striker of the calibre we need. I do think Reus or Shaqiri would be worthy of the Number 7 shirt and probably the only players capable of going someway to replacing Suarez. I know they are not Strikers but could play behind Sturridge and both capable of scoring goals. We have recently been linked with PSG’s Ezequiel Lavezzi but at 29 I don’t think FSG will be willing to invest £18m on him. Obviously we will struggle to replace Suarez and his goals but my biggest concern now with our squad is ‘how could we cope without Sturridge if for any reason he can’t play’. Every other area as at least one replacement – assuming all the squad is fit but of the strikers we have, we would be weakening our attack significantly without Sturridge. Its difficult to see a which Striker I think would come in and do that Job. If we had Reus or Shaqiri I would feel a little more optimistic as Lambert would at least have the ability to hold the ball up and allow these players to get into the box and we know they can score goals. Coutinho looks great this season but I do feel he is more a provider than scorer. Anything more would be a ‘bonus’ but as it stands with the current squad these are the main areas we should be targeting.
As it stands at the moment though I do think we have had a successful start to the summer transfers as each player brought in is a definite improvement to who has left the club BUT I do think we have not finished buying. As a start it has improved our depth in many areas and of course our youngsters are another year older too.
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