By Robert Magee (@OptaAnfield)
This season has shown us how vulnerable our squad is and the shear lack in depth that we have. In this article I will discuss each position and possible targets to improve each.
Despite our roller coaster season, Pepe Reina possibly had one of the best seasons for Liverpool. At the age of 28, he is still relatively young for a goalkeeper and definitely has at least 10 years left in him. In terms of a back up, Brad Jones had very little football last season for Liverpool due to Reina’s quality and fitness. Plus, he was a Hodgson signing and Dalglish may move him along to another club. If that does happen, there has been some speculation about signing Brad Friedel from Aston Villa. He would give us a great option if Reina got injured but at the mature age of 40 – we would only get at most two seasons out of him. I think that we should give Péter Gulácsi a chance as back up first team goalkeeper if Brad Jones is sold or loaned out for another season.
Right Back –
This season has seen a number of players playing right back for Liverpool. Glen Johnson predominately played RB under Roy Hodgson. When Johnson got injured, we were introduced to Martin Kelly. Kelly came completely out of the blue for me, I hadn’t heard much about him prior to his debut. For a young player, he showed a lot of defensive experience and versatility as his usual position is centre back. As his confidence increased, so did the quality of his performance but his season was ended sadly due to injury. He is an exciting prospect for next season, here’s hoping he gets back to training early July and has a good pre season with the team. Following Martin Kelly’s injuring, Kenny Dalglish gave young John Flanagan his debut against an in form Man City team at Anfield. Dalglish’s faith paid off and Flanagan was very encouraging. With Glen Johnson and the ever improving duo of Martin Kelly and John Flanagan, I think we have enough quality in that position to be happy with. Also, Stephen Darby is a promising player too who would add to the depth we have in that area, if not loaned/sold this summer.
Centre Back –
With Carragher aging, we need a quality back up for him. I believe that we currently don’t have one. Daniel Agger is a great player but is too injury prone and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was moved along by Dalglish, unless his fitness increases greatly. Kyrgiakos is a liability in my eyes. Whenever he plays, I can never be comfortable or confident that he will do his job. Last season he did have a few good games but I think that he is too old and not sharp enough for the pace of the Premier League. We have Danny Wilson whom we bought from Rangers who I would like to see given more of a chance but I believe that we need to sign a big-ish name as back up. One of the names being branded about is Scott Dann but personally I think that we should sign Gary Cahill.
Left Back –
This position has been a source of weakness for the past few seasons. Hodgson brought in Paul Konchesky last summer who was poor so left back position has continued to be weak. Fabio Aurelio is a quality player but again is affected by a lack of fitness and he is injury prone. Under Dalglish, Glen Johnson has been played at left back where he has done well but he had to cut inside a lot to get a cross in and as he is right footed, all crosses were towards the goalkeeper. There are a lot of names being branded about including Jose Enrique and Fabio Coentrao. Fabio Coentrao is the bigger name in European football from the two but I prefer Jose Enrique. He is proven in the Premier League, is great going forward and would be significantly cheaper than Coentrao. I heard all this speculation about Coentrao and watched a few Benfica matches and he is nothing special. It also looks like he will be heading to Real Madrid this summer.
Part 2 to come soon, WHAT WE NEED – MIDFIELD.