Liverpool FC: 4 January Signings That Would Make the Reds a Top Four Team
It's that time of year. January has dawned, and for the next 30 days, managers around the Premier League will scramble to reinforce their teams in anticipation of the long months ahead.
Money will be spent, rumours will be proven, and title hopes will be made or broken. It's all part of that rollercoaster we have come to know as the January Transfer Window.
Liverpool are sure to be active in the window. A team originally expected to be title contenders sit in sixth in the table with just 34 points through 19 games. The team is struggling and needs improvement.
Kenny Dalglish and Damien Comolli will without a doubt make new signings looking to strengthen the team as the season passes its halfway point.
Here are four signings they should make that would guarantee a top four finish.
1. Lewis Holtby
DM - Schalke - 21
If you're looking for a young central midfielder, you will be hard-pressed to find a better player than versatile German Lewis Holtby.
Holtby, who has an English father and supports Everton, has typically been used as an attacking midfielder in the Bundesliga, but this season has established himself as a key part of the Schalke team playing in the holding role.
The midfielder has in the past shown great potential in more attacking positions, but with the emergence of fellow midfielder Julian Draxler, Holtby has been played in a more defensive role, where he has excelled.
Liverpool are looking for a temporary replacement in their midfield with key player Lucas out for the rest of the season, but Lewis Holtby would provide a lot more.
A talented young midfielder who is only getting better, he could emerge as an important player alongside Lucas sooner rather than later. If Dalglish wants him, he needs to make a move now, as interest is sure to be high come the summer.
Estimated Price: £15 Million
2. Eden Hazard
WG - Lille - 20
One of the main reasons the Liverpool attack has struggled so much this season has been the lack of penetration from the wings. Eden Hazard would serve to correct that.
Hazard, a 20-year-old wing wizard from Belgium, is drawing comparisons to Lionel Messi for his speed and agility. An incredibly creative player, Hazard has become a feared man on his flank, known for his technical skill and prolific goalscoring ability.
He is versatile and adaptable, and his ability to roam and operate on both wings would be of immense benefit to Liverpool.
A mesmerizing talent, Hazard is perhaps the most promising young player on the continent, and John Henry will have to be willing to open his wallet to fight off competition and secure the services of the winger.
Estimated Price: £35 Million
3. Luuk De Jong
ST - Twente - 21
Liverpool have struggled to get contributions off the bench this season.
Only two Premier League goals have been scored by strikers not named Craig Bellamy or Luis Suarez, and there is a feeling that if the Reds could increase production from the substitutes, a lot of pressure would be taken off the starters, and the team would be in a lot better shape.
Luuk de Jong could be the answer. Another youngster, the Dutch striker is one of the most rapidly improving players in Europe, and is developing into a player of the Robin Van Persie mould.
De Jong has already scored 13 goals in 19 games for FC Twente of the Eredivisie, and is showing nothing but promising signs that he might one day be one of the world's elite goal-scorers.
For that reason, it is important that Liverpool sign him now. His pace, size, and pure finishing ability make him able to contribute as a substitute for now, but he is an immense talent, and it wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility to see him lead the Liverpool attack alongside Suarez as soon as next season.
Estimated Price: £10 Million
4. Lukas Podolski
F/WG - Köln - 26
Most importantly, Liverpool need a goal poacher. A player who can finish off the chances provided to him by Luis Suarez and the wingers. A natural goal-scoring striker. Lukas Podolski could be that man.
Through six games of the 2011-12 season, the Liverpool defense has been phenomenal, giving up just 15 goals through 19 games, and leading the league in that category.
The offense, however, has been nowhere near as good, having scored just 24 goals through those 19 games, good for ninth in the league.
Podolski is a proven goal-scorer, and he is one of the most respected players in Europe. The German international has scored 14 goals in 18 games for Köln in the Bundesliga this season, and has scored 43 goals in 95 appearances with the German National Team.
There are few strikers as prolific as Podolski in both international and domestic competition at the moment. He is just the player Liverpool are looking for, and he could be the player to unlock the team's sky-high potential.
Estimated Price: £15 Million
The only question is, will John Henry and the FSG be willing to spend £75 million in one month?
Follow Jake Ware on Twitter at @JacobWare95