With every transfer window, comes new transfer headaches. The squad is delicately positioned, only tweaks, not a massive overhaul is required.
An expensive flurry of signings could tip the balance the wrong way. Champions League qualification will grant Liverpool FC access to a higher caliber ‘elite’ group of players, this poses a huge risk for Brendan Rodgers.
What we have to consider is where do Liverpool Football Club really need to strengthen, what is the priority and what can they realistically get? Will FSG provide significant funds or a budget that’s nothing more than reasonable?
Defense seems to be the obvious place to start, however solutions are already available to Rodgers. Sakho cost a cool £18m and certainly should be starting games, he’s athletic, strong and good with the ball at his feet. Skrtel has proven to be a reliable centre back and these two should form the long term central defensive unit, backed up by IIori, Kelly, Wisdom and maybe Agger (although he may leave in the summer along with Coates and Toure)
I would expect to see a left back come in, Luke Shaw is a quality young full back, but is likely to end up at Chelsea, the team he supports. There are a number of other realistic options available to Rodgers, more likely an import from Europe. It is pretty clear Cissokho will return to Spain and Enrique will find himself as a back up next season or at the very least fighting for his place. Jon Flanagan is the long term solution at right back, this is more than likely going to see Glen Johnson move on in the summer, contract talks or not.
Yann M’Vila has been strongly linked, he could indeed be a useful addition to the squad for the right price, he fits the FSG model and provides cover in numerous positions.
Liverpool do need a creative midfielder to add depth and variety. Konoplyanka provides the quality required, if a deal can be done, then it needs doing quickly. He will be desired by many clubs, both in the Premier League and wider afield. He offers creativity in midfield and attacking positions and would be an ideal signing, especially after being scouted for so long and being so close in January.
If as expected, Aspas returns to Spain at the end of the season, a new striker will need to come in. This is regardless of whether Borini returns. This is a position that will be crucial if Liverpool want to compete on all fronts next year. A player with experience in the Premier League would be the best fit, Bony at Swansea would be ideal and could provide great cover and a genuine threat to Suarez and Sturridge if they drop in form.
Finally as much as Brad Jones is a likeable guy, he’s simply not any competition for Mignolet. What Mignolet needs is someone who could push for his place, he’s too comfortable. A top quality back up goalkeeper is a must. It does not need to be for big money, but certainly someone credible. Shay Given was linked at the beginning of the season, this is the type of option that would have at least made Mignolet think.
So all in all, maybe 4 or 5 new players are needed, coupled with the return of Borini, Suso, Ibe and IIori. This would be the tweaks needed to push on again.
As Liverpool have done previously and Spurs more recently, spending £100m doesn’t buy you a thing if spent poorly. £50m on the right players and building a team is the right way to go.
Let’s see how the crazy post/pre season plays out, it is certainly a pivotal time for Liverpool Football Club, if the right players come in, it really could be the start of something great, and a sustained return to the elite of English and European club football.
By Chris Hutchins
Follow me on twitter @hutch2111