What areas of his squad need most strengthening, though, if Liverpool are to finally win the Premier League? I look at four positions where reinforcements are required.
Left back has been a long term problem position for Liverpool and, frustratingly, whenever a player has come in and looked like making the position their own; they seem to have been plagued with injuries. Both Brazilian Fabio Aurelio and Spaniard Jose Enrique are recent examples of Liverpool left backs initially impressing but struggling to regain form following persistent injury problems.
|Enrique, like Aurelio, has spent too much time on the treatment table|
Sevilla’s up and coming 21-year old left back Alberto Moreno, who will provide back up for Spain’s first choice left back Jordi Alba in Brazil this summer, has reportedly attracted Rodgers’ interest, although the club will have to stump up a hefty £15 million to acquire his services. At £30 million, meanwhile, Southampton’s 18-year old Luke Shaw is arguably overpriced. Chelsea’s Ryan Bertrand could prove a cheaper and more realistic alternative, although his lack of Premier League experience- he’s only made 16 appearances- makes him a gamble.
It may be expensive to sign an established name at left back, but it could be more costly if the club go another season without sorting out their persistent problem in that position.
Kopites were left asking where the real Glen Johnson was last season. Complacency, brought on by a lack of competition for both club and country, meant that the number two’s progress stalled during the 2013/2014 campaign. Admittedly, injuries didn’t help, but that couldn’t excuse his consistently poor performances.
Defensive errors became more common while he also appeared to lack his usual attacking potency, providing only two assists throughout the whole season. As a result, it’s no wonder his Liverpool future remains unclear heading into the final year of his current £120k per week contract.
|Johnson's form dipped noticeably last season|
Jon Flanagan provides the one bright spot at right back and hopefully he’ll make the position his own in the long term. In the short term, though, Rodgers should look to sign another right back to keep Johnson on his toes. The competition should hopefully help him return to form sooner rather than later.
Gerrard and Henderson were tremendous last season, the former re-inventing himself as an excellent ball-playing deep lying midfielder and the latter finally showing that he has the quality to play at Anfield and justifying his £16 million price tag. In addition, Allen did enough towards the end of the campaign to warrant staying at the club and Lucas is useful as a back-up to Gerrard, although he arguably lacks the attacking nous to fit into Rodgers’ first team plans.
Nevertheless, Liverpool could do with an extra man in midfield, to provide both depth and additional quality in the centre of the park. Another player in the creative and energetic mould of Henderson wouldn’t go amiss, since the former Sunderland man was badly missed during his three-match suspension at the business end of the 2013/2014 season.
Southampton’s Adam Lallana has been on the Reds’ radar. The 26-year old has abundant talent and took to international football like a duck to water when handed his debut against Chile at Wembley by former Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson, implying that he could cope in the Champions League.
|Lallana could be a great addition to the Reds' midfield|
In total, Liverpool managed a remarkable 101 League goals last season. 52 of those were scored by the lethal SAS, while Sterling chipped in with nine strikes. Commentators ran out of superlatives as the trio broke all sorts of records and set the Premier League alight.
The least said about Iago Aspas and Victor Moses, though, the better. The pair were awful last season and are almost certainly going to be shipped out this summer. Loanee Moses will return to parent club Chelsea and Aspas, signed for just under £8 million from Celta Vigo, would surely be allowed to leave for a trivial transfer fee.
As good as the SAS are, they will need back up in case of injury or suspension, so two new strikers to replace Moses and Aspas would be welcome. Out of the blue, the Reds now seem very close to completing the signing of boyhood Liverpool supporter Rickie Lambert for £4 million from Southampton. The 32-year old England international may have only a few years of professional football left, but if he could repeat his 13-goal haul next season then that would certainly help the Merseysiders’ cause.
|It would be a dream come true for Lambert if he signed for Liverpool|