These three realistic signings could secure the Reds a top four place…
Javier Pastore – PSG – likely cost: £17m
When Liverpool’s brilliant Brazilian playmaker Coutinho picked up an injury against Swansea last month, the team suddenly looked bereft of ideas and creativity in the final third. The 21-year-old was the creative and technical hub of the team, and picked up the ball in between the lines and regularly caused havoc in the final third.
Since his injury, Victor Moses has had to play the no.10 role behind the SAS partnership of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, and while he provides a more dynamic and powerful option, he lacks the creative influence and intricate passing of Coutinho.
Pastore is available after falling down the pecking order at PSG, and could be available for around half the monster £34m the French club spent on him from Palermo two seasons ago. He would provide another technically outstanding playmaker for Brendan Rodgers to call upon, and could also play in tandem with Coutinho behind Daniel Sturridge, with Luis Suarez playing from a deeper position.
Will Hughes – Derby County – likely cost: £8m
Although he is undeniably one of the greatest players to ever pull on a Red shirt, Steven Gerrard is getting old, and he’s all but lost his legs. Where he used to be the most powerful dynamic midfielder in the league, he now sits in a restricted anchorman position in front of the back four, and there has even been murmurings among Liverpool fans that a midfield partnership of Lucas and the ever-improving Jordan Henderson would be more effective.
Hughes is a prodigal talent, and his new boss Steve McClaren has admitted that Derby won’t be able to hold on to him for much longer. The elegant midfielder has fantastic technical and passing attributes, and would seemingly slot into Brendan Rodger’s slick, attacking side with ease.
The Northern Irish boss has also shown he’s not afraid to give youth a chance, by giving debuts to the likes of Raheem Sterling, Andre Wisdom and Suso to name but a few, and Hughes’ ability would no doubt see him eventually make one of the centre-midfield spots at Anfield his own.
Lacina Traore – Anzhi Makhachkala – likely cost: £12m
While Suarez and Sturridge are arguably the two best strikers in the country right now, if one of them were to pick up an injury, the Reds would be woefully short in respectable backups. Summer signing Iago Aspas has quickly proven he isn’t a top level player, and Fabio Borini has been shipped out on loan to Sunderland following a miserable first season.
Traore is 6 ft. 8″ and would provide a decent aerial option from the bench. Not only could he deputise for one of Suarez and Sturridge should they pick up an injury or a ban, but he could also provide a ‘Plan B’ should Liverpool’s fluid style fail to break down a particularly stubborn defence.
Due to Anzhi’s financial struggles, the Reds could snap up the giant Ivorian for a reasonable £12m, although they could face a battle with Italian champions Juventus for his signature.