We’ve talked a lot recently about where we need to strengthen this summer. For the most part, the answers are clear – we desperately need two strikers, a midfielder to replace Steven Gerrard, a right-back and a decent back-up keeper.
Predicting Liverpool’s 2015-16 squad – Including analysis on six new signings
Ranking Steven Gerrard’s 23 regular midfield partners – from Alonso to Zenden
Steven Gerrard XI – Departing Anfield hero picks his favourite Liverpool teammates
However, we often forget about our growing need for a new centre-back. Martin Skrtel has still not put pen to paper on a new contract, while Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho have struggled for form and fitness respectively this campaign. Add to that the fact that Kolo Toure is out of contract this summer and you’ll see what we mean.
We’re not suggesting we go out and spend another £20m – although that has been suggested in the press, such as here by the Daily Mirror – that money is better spent in other areas. However, with the prospect of playing in four different competitions next season, including the always congestive Europa League, we need reinforcements.
With Toure, Gerrard and Glen Johnson likely to go, we’re going to be short on experienced players who can contribute off the field, as well as on it, and it’s important that Brendan Rodgers remembers this when he continues to pursue his ‘young players only’ transfer policy.
While he’s only enjoyed moderate success on the pitch, Toure has proved an excellent signing over the last two years – coming in on a free and proving himself to be a positive influence in the dressing room. That needs to be replicated.
So, with that in mind, here are our top five candidates for the role:
5) Ashley Williams (Swansea City)
Brendan Rodgers’ old favourite from his time with the Swans. The 30-year-old Welshman has played almost 300 games for his club and has now featured more than 100 times in the Premier League. He’s been linked with both Liverpool and Arsenal in the past (via the Daily Mirror), but nothing has ever come of such rumours. A powerful and commanding presence at the back, Williams is one of the highest rated defenders outside of the major teams.
4) Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa)
The Dutchman’s return from injury has coincided with Villa pulling clear of the relegation zone. Tim Sherwood’s side have lost just one of the last six games Vlaar has played in – and that was against Manchester City. The 30-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and will be available on a free transfer. The towering defender has also played 31 times for his country, a tally which includes a starring role at last summer’s World Cup.