By now, every Liverpool FC fan is beginning to get frustrated at the seemingly never-ending string of injuries to star striker Daniel Strurridge. The Birmingham-born forward was instrumental last season, netting twenty-one league goals and forming easily the most formidable Premier League striking partnership with Luis Suarez.
However, since a positive start to the season – netting his only league goal against Southampton back in August – he has been blighted by injuries that have kept him on the sidelines. Eleven games into the 2014/15 campaign, and Sturridge has been on the pitch just three times. The latest injury is rumoured to see him remain in the treatment room for the rest of the year, and that’s a further twelve games on top of the ever-growing total thus far.
With the side scoring goals for fun last season en-route to a second place spot and a return to the Champions League, they now look up at that second spot with awe from all the way down at eleventh. Though it’s still early days, The Reds would have liked to capitalise on the solid placing to kick-start the new season and put pressure on the top spot.
The lack of a fearsome striking duo has taken its toll. Suarez’s exit in the summer as top goalscorer and player of the year was obviously a blow, and the money garnered from the sale of the volatile genius hasn’t brought in the same quality. Mario Balotelli has struggled to find consistent form, and now another consecutive Sturridge ailment means the gaps are unable to be filled. The summer’s other imports, Rickie Lambert for example, haven’t proved too successful either, despite some big payouts. Lambert is yet to convert in a Liverpool shirt. Fabio Borini is also struggling, with no league goals to his credit either.
The thigh issue that Sturridge has picked up will render him unavailable just as he was on the cusp of a return, and this poses a problem for Rodgers for the immediate future, at least. The club’s vague release simply stated, “The player will remain unavailable for selection but will be monitored and assessed during his recovery.” Fans are now getting restless. Some anticipate spending, and much needed spending at that, in the January transfer window, whilst others are already condemning themselves to a failed season without sufficient backup in place.
Even the players are admitting that what’s happening isn’t good enough, with Atletico Madrid loanee Javier Maquillo saying, “There are many new players, but it’s no excuse.”
Left back Alberto Moreno also stated that the club needs to do more to keep the fans happy. “That’s why we really have to turn things around, for that set of supporters that we have, always driving us on, we have to do it for them,” he mused.
If goalscorers are not sought and brought in then the highs of last year and any hopes of consistent Champions League football will likely be dashed. A paltry 100/1 is what betfair make of their chances of scooping the title, and even a top four spot comes in at 11/4 despite their second-place last year.
Formation-wise, the team could make the most of the assets they do have at their disposal with a 4-4-2 diamond formation, getting another man upfront. Balotelli could take one of the roles, with Raheem Sterling a possibility for the other. That can put a plaster over the wound, but it won’t make for the strength in depth Liverpool need to put more in the net.
It’s clear that in the New Year a marquee signing must be made. Andre Schurrle of Chelsea would fit that bill, and it looks like he is being tapped for a move to Anfield. £25 million is the likely asking price for a player who has scored eleven goals in his 54 appearances for the London club. Andre Pierre-Gignac has been consistent in Ligue 1 so far this year, and he could be another on the list. None of these signings will come without a fight and without others clubs throwing their names in the hat. Liverpool must make sure that there is some influx though, it is imperative at this stage.
There has also been reported interested expressed in nineteen year-old Keita Balde Diao, currently at Lazio, with the tag around £25 million. There is mileage in the young striker and Brendan Rodgers will like that, so we could well see a concerted effort to go after him in the coming months.
Liverpool might be waiting on a saviour, but to make themselves a more attractive new home when the time comes they’ll have to buck up their ideas for the remainder of 2014. Two wins in the Champions League would most likely see them progress and that is key to acquiring any young talent with big aspirations. Negotiations will sways more in Rogers’ favour if he can offer that.
Yes, there has been issues putting balls in the net, but there have also been issues at the other end. A fractured team are conceding far too much, and the midfield and defence have to take responsibility too. They need to perform, and the right players need to be in their best positions, Steven Gerrard included.
Without an almost wholesale change, Liverpool’s bargaining tools will be limited by January, and at a time when they need them the most.