Brendan Rodgers’ perfect summer, in five simple steps.
As per usual, Liverpool have already been linked with a whole host of players this term, but the only players and sealed are Sevilla’s Luis Alberto and Kolo Toure on a free transfer. (The latter is hardly the most inspiring piece of business, although the former Man City man could well provide some good quality experience cover.)
Come August though, we expect the Liverpool squad to have an entirely different look to it. With Andy Carroll’s departure, Liverpool have some genuine cash to go and play with, too. Most fans will be hoping it isn’t wasted on another Downing/Henderson/Carroll replica.
Here’s the best possible outcome:
1) Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Mr. Unpronounceable. This summer’s undisputed top transfer target. The Armenian dynamo scored 25 goals from midfield last year for Shakhtar, which will have Liverpool fans around the land drooling in anticipation. If they can manage to navigate his complicated ownership situation, the Reds will be adding a player of true pedigree. If he’s as good as his stats suggest, Scousers might even be able to say his name properly by the end of the season.
2) Iago Aspas
Celta Vigo’s ferocious attacker Aspas has enjoyed a very solid debut season in La Liga. Scoring 11 goals and guiding his team to safety, Aspas is a player very much on Rodgers’ radar. His tenacity and work rate evoke comparisons to Suarez, although judging by the uruguayan’s 30-goal season last year, those comparisons may well have come a little soon. Del Bosque recently said Aspas was unlucky to miss out on the Spain squad, which is high praise indeed. Just ask Tahiti.
3) Luis Alberto
The attacking midfielder was confirmed as Liverpool player this morning (when we were already halfway through this article…) Playing on loan at Barcelona B last term, the tricky playmaker notched up 11 goals and 18 assists, and Rodger’s has clearly been impressed by the Spaniard’s ability to fork out a reported £6.8m on the youngster. Despite Alberto’s efforts, Barcelona declined an option to take him on permanently but being overlooked in favour of Neymar is nothing to be ashamed of. Sterling, Suso and Ibe have another high-quality youngster to contend for the wide sports with next term.
4) Toby Alderwiereld
Following Jamie Carragher’s retirement, and Martin Skrtel’s inconsistent form, Liverpool desperately need a high class centre-back. After Kryiakos Papadopolous signed a new contract with Schalke, Ajax’s belgian international has become the top target. The defender impressed during Champions League outings against Real Madrid, Man City and Dortmund, and many teams have been alerted to his availability following his refusal to sign a new deal. Reds fans will hope he can make the same impact his former defensive partner Jan Verthongen has made at Spurs. Put Toby alongside Daniel Agger, and Liverpool’s defence suddenly looks very impressive.
5) Keep Luis Suarez
It’s a long shot – but it probably is the key piece of transfer business Liverpool can do this summer. it doesn’t really matter what fee his sale could bring, because he’s quite simply irreplacable. Despite his flaws, any football fan will tell you that when Suarez lets his feet do the talking, he is one of the very best footballers in the world. His combination with Coutinho and a rejuvenated Sturridge towards the end of last season was, at time, unplayable. Last year he silenced critics by adding goals galore to an unparalleled work rate, but let himself down (again) by biting Ivanovic in a moment of madness in front of the Kop. His final touch that match was an injury-time headed equaliser, which sadly for the Premier League, could well be his last. If Rodgers can somehow keep hold of Suarez for one more season, and strengthen around him, the Reds could turn some promising performances from last season into a genuine top four challenge in 2013/14.
The Possible Line-up:
Not too shabby eh…?