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Tuesday, 01 January 2013

Liverpool: January transfer targets


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Sqf DDisciascio

It seems Liverpool supporters have been counting the hours until the first of January ever since the dreadful end to the summer transfer window. Simultaneously, they also have found themselves counting lost points as a direct result of poor summer business.

Although able to secure purchases of Joe Allen, Fabio Borini, lesser-known Oussama Assaidi, along with Nuri Sahin arriving on loan from Real Madrid, the summer ended in calamity.

With the club discarding Craig Bellamy, Dirk Kuyt and Andy Carroll, it was crucial that they signed enough attacking reinforcements to compensate. But an inept 24 hours on deadline day saw the club fail to bring in a forward, and was left looking foolish. And are further reminded of their folly with every glance at a lackluster bench.

The squad has been left incomplete and dangerously thin with just a single fit striker for well over two months!

The manager has hinted that few signings will be made, but that thinking fails to take into consideration the vast areas of the squad that are lacking. A forward or two must arrive in January, that is certain, but there are other obvious holes in the squad too.

Here is a look at the needs of the present squad and potential targets.

Striker – It is all but official that the club will sign Daniel Sturridge in a £12 million move. However supporters and pundits alike have reservations that the move will be successful. Another ominous sign - Chelsea couldn’t be happier to offload the player.

Although a striker is definitely needed, and the club does need a young talent with potential. It might be wise to sign a player that sometimes sees the field, or even better, plays without an individualistic inefficient streak.

Should sign: Stephan El Shaarawy, Christian Benteke.

Will sign: Daniel Sturridge.

Winger/forward – A greater goal threat and potency is required on the wings. And if Downing is to leave the club, then even more strain will be burdened by the young Sterling. So a signing is desperately needed to aid the long-term development of Raheem, and to protect him from over-playing; as he has made 27 appearances in 34 games.

The rumours mention Tom Ince, and of course the fact that he was on Liverpool books 18 months ago says a lot. But that was consequence of a previous regime. Now, the youth friendly Rodgers has overhauled the first team.

Ince looks a real player with bright movement, fantastic touch, clever skills, great work rate, and best of all, a deadly eye for goal. He would be a great addition to the team.

Should sign: Tom Ince, Lewis Holtby.

Will sign: Tom Ince.

Defensive Midfielder – Last season immediately fell apart when Lucas Leiva went down injured. Liverpool were out of sorts without their Brazilian metronome ticking over play and breaking up opposition attacks.

But the summer came and went without signing cover; so Joe Allen has had to try his best to emulate the combative midfielder, but he is much better suited as a foil.

An inexpensive signing would help protect the club if there was another unfortunate injury set-back.

Should sign: Radja Nainggolan, Mohamaed Diame.

Will sign: No one, or worse, Jay Spearing will return from loan.

Centre-back – The Reds are in need of a capable third choice centre-back to support the Agger-Skrtel partnership. The pair are vulnerable to aerial attacks; notably exposed by Stoke. So a strong physical presence that is also comfortable on the ball would do.

Jamie Carragher has openly talked about retirement, but before he slowly (very slowly) walks away from the game, a younger centre-back would help stop the team leaking goals.

Should sign: Angelo Ogbonna.

Will sign: No one.

Goalkeeper – Pepe Reina was once a model of consistency on Merseyside, but he is becoming stale and increasingly error-prone. With frequency of injury rising, and the number of spectacular saves dwindling, it could be time to part ways while he might still command a suitable fee from a rival.

Although his best might be able to be coaxed out of him still.

Should sign: Jack Butland, Ron-Robert Zieler.

Will sign: No one.

For all their failings at the end of the summer window, the redeeming quality of the apprehensive recruitment campaign at Anfield is in the ability to keep the most promising and talented squad members. Luis Suarez, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Suso and now Sterling (with an extension for Steven Gerrard also reportedly in the works) have added years onto their existing deals in the past few months, which is a rare tribute to the work done by those behind the scenes.

With many gaffes to atone for, January represents the chance for the club directors, owners, and even the manager to redeem themselves for the woeful summer transfer window. And hopefully this window closes without the need for supporters to count down days until summer, or worse, count more lost points.

Calling all Liverpool fans: Do you agree with Dave's assessment? Will Brendan Rodgers make amends for his errors in the transfer window? Who would you like to see arrive at Anfield? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.

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Colin Illingworth

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