According to the Telegraph, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will go on the hunt for missing goals this summer by targeting forward trio Memphis Depay, Christian Benteke and Danny Ings, of PSV, Aston Villa and Burnley respectively.
With the Reds looking increasingly certain to miss out on a Champions League berth at the end of the season (they’re currently 19/2 to finish in the top four) Rodgers will be lucky to snag any of those targets, considering the competition he’ll face.
Depay seems more likely to link up with old Holland boss Louis van Gaal at Manchester United, while Benteke should have no shortage of suitors dining at the continent’s top table if he proves his fitness between now and the end of the season. Ings has also been linked to the Red Devils and Arsenal.
It’s a familiar tale of woe for the Merseysiders, after their attempts to replace the outgoing Luis Suarez with Alexis Sanchez were thwarted by the Gunners 10 months ago, but Liverpool fans should be heartened by their oft-maligned gaffer sticking to what he knows.
Rodgers has been criticised for struggling in the transfer market since taking over at Anfield in the summer of 2012, although his record with forwards is no worse than hit-and-miss.
Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge have been undoubted successes, even after taking into account the latter’s woeful fitness record, Lazar Markovic has shown plenty of raw potential during his first season in England, and Adam Lallana could yet come good after an injury-plagued campaign.
When it comes to defensive-minded players, there’s little to cheer about in Rodgers’ Liverpool back catalogue. A case could be made for Mamadou Sakho as a positive, despite the Frenchman starting this season in shaky form.
Dejan Lovren, Tiago Ilori, Javier Manquillo, Kolo Toure, Nuri Sahin, Joe Allen. Spot the success.
‘Left-back’ Alberto Moreno seems to have given up pretending to be a defender and has largely been utilised as a wide-forward of late, while the Liverpool Echo asked ‘…what to do with Emre Can…’ as part of a headline after the Reds’ FA Cup semi-final loss to Aston Villa.
There’s still hope for Koppites though, as Rodgers’ defensive difficulties might not matter if he gets it right up front.
Remember, Allen, Toure, Glen Johnson and Aly Cissokho, none of whom could be considered successes at Anfield, played significant roles in Liverpool’s charge to an unlucky runners-up spot in the Premier League last term, as did Steven Gerrard, despite the former England captain’s clear struggles in deep midfield.
It seems the lesson Rodgers learned from the 2013/14 campaign was keep the ball out of your half by having the best forwards. It looks like he’ll be going back to that playbook again at the end of term.
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