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by Mark Houlihan @mhb457

I had said before last season ended that the defence had to be a priority for recruitment for the forthcoming season. This was before carra had announced his retirement.

I lost count of the amount of times I had a rant on Facebook or twitter bemoaning our inability to defend set pieces and crosses in particular. Coates was billed as a great white hope when he signed but hasn’t impressed and looks to lack pace in a big way so sadly I think he is someone who could be allowed to leave.

While I believe Skrtel to be a good defender his lack of ability on the ball and the face that Brendan Rodgers preferred a retiring carragher for the last 4 months does not bode well for his future.
This leave Agger who we all know has proven to be injury prone over the last few years, so we need cover for him.

I believe we are well covered at right back with Johnson, Kelly and Wisdom if needed. I’d encourage a loan of Jon Flanagan to at least a championship club to aid his development.
Left back is an area we need replacements, I was a huge fan of Jack Robinson when he first came on the scene but he hasn’t progressed as much as I would have liked. Perhaps similar to Flanagan a loan move for a season might be a good option.

That leave Enrique as our only out and out left full. Since he has came to Liverpool he has experienced a series of peaks and troughs, he started off fantastically well, then his form dipped for the second half of his first season and the first half of his second. He then finished last season really well. Is an issue caused by a lack of competition for his position?
Bearing all this in mind I think we need to sign a left back at least the equal of Enrique, to bring real depth to the position and to ensure Enrique has to be at the top of his game week in week out.

I see toure as a direct replacement for carra, but more so around the dressing room and I’d have reservations if he has been brought in as anything more than cover.

I believe ilori could be a good signing and reasonable value but again I’d have reservations if he was expected to play 30 games plus.

I’d love to see us sign a nasty centre half, someone that will dominate at set pieces, attack crosses and provide a threat at the other end. And with the way Rodgers wants to play he will have to be good on the ball as well. I’m not asking for much am I?!

I haven’t seen enough of alderweild or papadopolous to know if they are the answer, if skrtel also goes I’d hope we would buy both, if he stays one of those plus ilori and a left back would do me because going forward, the front six positions are very well covered with what was already there and what’s coming in.

A couple of top class additions at the back and my optimism would be off the charts! Next year could really be our year!!