In the wake of our goalless draw with West Brom on Saturday, Brendan Rodgers suggested in his post match comments (via Liverpool Echo) that our inability to score goals has been the reason that we stand a very real chance of missing out on a place in the Premier League’s top four.
Twelve months ago, we went into the final three games on the verge of clinching the title. We played the most attractive football in the league, and backed that style up with a frightening amount of substance. We finished second in the league and the goalscoring charts – behind Manchester City on both occasions. However, the goals of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge brought us to the brink of finally etching our names onto the Premier League trophy.
This season has been a painfully different story. Luis Suarez left Melwood for Barcelona, and whilst Sturridge remains, the majority of his campaign has been spent on the treatment bench. It is safe to say those two key differences have been a deciding factor in how our season has panned out. No team in the top seven has hit the back of the net on less occasions than ourselves. How can expect to contend for a Champions League qualification spot when we don’t even average 1.5 goals per game?
This summer cannot pass without change. Currently, as well as the stricken Sturridge, we have three strikers – Rickie Lambert, Fabio Borini, and Mario Balotelli – that have amassed four goals in the league between them. What is even more worrying is that over £30m was spent bringing the trio to the club.
On a positive note, we have the likes of Samed Yesil, who will hopefully one day be given a chance in the side. However, injuries have also played a part in his development. He recently made his return after consecutive long-term problems, and while he is already back on the goalscoring trail for the U21s, time will have to be taken to prevent another delay in his rise.
The short-term needs to be considered, as future failure to find a seat at European football’s top table could well see some of our best players become frustrated, and decide their future lies elsewhere. However, Rodgers does not need to compromise his principles to find the perfect fit.
Tottenham’s Harry Kane came out of nowhere this season, and now sits one goal behind the league’s leading goalscorer, and therefore could be the crucial piece in an almost complete jigsaw.
Kane is the kind of player that would slot in well to new surroundings very quickly, thus benefiting us straight away. His attitude to the game is very refreshing. His various loan spells before his chance in the Spurs first-team highlight a tremendous desire to continually develop his game. There is a sense that when something is not working for him, he goes away and works even harder to make sure that a previous weakness becomes one of greatest strengths.
If the 21-year-old has one problem, it it probably a lack of pace. However, with Raheem Sterling and Jordon Ibe in the side, it will not be his job to make lightning fast runs. As long as his positioning is as good as it has been all season, he will be there to finish off chances.
If we can get Kane before his list of admirers grows, then hopefully at this point next season, we will be contemplating how we do we go about retaining our first Premier League title.