Transfer window countdown: Liverpool head 5 clubs who must buy

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Ten days are all that remain of a pretty quiet January transfer window, but many a Premier League club’s seasonal ambitions still hinge on acquiring certain types of players before it ‘slams’ shut.

Here are five of the most needy:

Liverpool

Main ambition: top four – player needed: striker

The Reds’ recent resurgence is admirable, yet Liverpool’s price of 6/1 does not yet belie their chances of gaining entry back into the Promised Land of fourth and above.

It’s no coincidence that for all their statistical supremacy over Chelsea in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final – registering 19 shots, to the Blues’ two – Brendan Rodgers’s side only managed a single goal.

Everton

Main ambition: Europa League win – player needed: central defender

Only three sides in the top flight have leaked more goals than the Toffees, which goes some distance to explaining their bottom-half residence before the FA Cup fifth round.

Sylvain Distin is finally past his sell-by date, Antolin Alcaraz has never inspired confidence, while John Stones is far from the polished article, so Phil Jageilka needs a new partner for the 16/1 Europa League chances.

QPR

Main ambition: to stay up – player needed: central defender

To blame the worst tally of goals shipped in the Premier League entirely on the defence is harsh, but the current ensemble is not up to the mark, leading to a short 3/5 price for the drop.

Rio Ferdinand, Richard Dunne and Clint Hill were all decent once, but too leggy now, while Steven Caulker and Nedum Onuoha are suspect in their own rights.

Manchester United

Main ambition: top four – player needed: central defender

The scales between attack and defence have been imbalanced all season, however, available and willing world class recruits have proved harder to track down than Lord Lucan for Louis van Gaal.

With a cast of capable clubs chasing down United in fourth, and Southampton stubbornly refusing to budge, the need for a new leader at the back grows ever more desperate.

Swansea:

Main ambition: top-half finish/FA Cup win – player needed: striker

You have to feel sorry for Swansea. Yet again their own shrewd recruitment has come back to haunt them with another top-notch goalscorer, this time Wilfried Bony, pulled out from underneath their rug.

Still, with a near £30m jackpot banked for the Ivorian’s services, securing a replacement could be the difference between slipping perilously downwards or finishing with enormous credibility above the fold.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.