Liverpool FC: Predicting Reds' Starting XI Post-Transfer Window
So far, Liverpool has kept a tight lid on any transfer targets, but there are still those that have cropped up in the media.
Earlier this week I spelled out some of the main rumors that have been circling the club in the recent days. Out of those mentioned in the article, there are only really three players that would likely break into the first team if they were signed.
The first is Newcastle United's Demba Ba, who was linked with a move to Liverpool via EatSleepSport.com. He is rumored to have a relatively low-priced release clause that is well within the range of the Reds' coffers.
The second player that could make a first-team difference is CSKA Moscow midfielder Keisuke Honda. Talksport linked the player to Merseyside, and the 25-year-old could make a great addition to either wide position in the midfield.
Lastly, and perhaps the most affordable option that could have immediate effect, is Chelsea's Ivory Coast international Salomon Kalou. The Daily Mirror has linked the player with a move to Anfield, but Arsenal is thought to be tough competition.
While the Ivorian has been out of favor at Stamford Bridge, he is only 26 years old and would be moving into the prime years of his career. He also is the most experienced of the three and has been as effective off the bench as in the first team during his time in the English Premier League, where he has scored 57 goals and notched 39 assists in 230 appearances.
In his career, Kalou has averaged more than 10 goals and five assists per season, which would be a welcomed addition to the Liverpool lineup.
So what could the Reds lineup potentially look like if they signed at least one of their predicted targets?
More than likely it will only be the front six that are affected, as the back five are automatic at the moment with Liverpool having one of the best, if not the best defense in the League. Pepe Reina, Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger and Jose Enrique are unlikely to relinquish their hold on the back line anytime soon.
However, the midfield and the attack are a different story.
If Honda is brought in, the midfield would likely see him play on the right side as Stewart Downing prefers the left. This would give Liverpool a midfield of Honda, Steven Gerrard, Charlie Adam and Downing, which would be a more versatile group.
Kalou could be used in several different ways. He could play on the left or right just like Honda, but he could also be used to help Liverpool develop a 4-3-3 offense that would see Kalou and Luis Suarez on the left and right of Andy Carroll.
Kalou could also be paired with Craig Bellamy on either side of Suarez, but that is not the best utilization of either of the players because Suarez is not an out-and-out goal scorer.
Lastly, Ba could provide the vital finishing touch that the Reds have been missing all season, and he could permanently relegate Andy Carroll to the bench.
Who would you like to see Liverpool sign?
Out of all three of the players I have mentioned, Kalou would be the most likely to make the switch. He is believed to have the lowest price tag, as Chelsea are looking to sell. More importantly, the relationship they have had with Liverpool in the last two seasons should be more than enough to make a deal happen smoothly.
Four players have moved between the two clubs in the last three transfer windows. Joe Cole went to Liverpool and Yossi Benayoun to Chelsea in summer of 2010, Fernando Torres moved to Chelsea in January 2011 and Raul Meireles joined the Blues in August 2011.
If Kalou were to join Liverpool, this is the lineup that would best utilize him:
Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique; Kalou, Gerrard, Adam, Stewart Downing; Suarez, Bellamy.
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