Liverpool FC: The All January Window Transfer Rumour Starting XI
The January Transfer Window is quietly drawing to a close, and while the best is still ahead, much has happened between now and December 31st.
While the club has struggled badly in the Premier League this season, the League Cup triumph over giants Manchester City showed that Liverpool do have the potential to be a top four team, but the club is still a few signings away from being of that quality.
It has been a window full of rumours surrounding the Liverpool team, linking players from all over Europe and the rest of the world with potential moves to Anfield. So many, in fact, that it is possible to make a whole new team out of just those players that have been reported to maybe be in line for a transfer to Merseyside.
This is the pick of the 11.
GK: Valentin Cojocaru
Liverpool have one of the more impressive youth setups in the Premier League, but one area where the academy is lacking in elite youth is in goal. That is the reason it was no surprise when Liverpool talkSPORT reported Liverpool were in talks with with Steaua Bucharesti starlet Valentin Cojocaru.
The Romanian Cojocaru, who is considered one of the brightest young goalkeeping prospects in Europe, was offered a trial by Liverpool, with Kenny Dalglish apparently keen to sign the young 16-year-old. The 6'5" goalkeeper impressed on his trial, and expectations are that he might make the move to Merseyside soon.
LB: Eric Abidal
Jose Enrique has been arguably Liverpool's most valuable player since joining in the summer for £6 million from Newcastle, but Barcelona full-back Eric Abidal is one of Europe's better left-sided defenders, and with the Frenchman's contract set to expire at the end of the season (he has since re-signed) he was inevitably linked (by Metro) to Liverpool.
While there is no need for a new left-back in the Liverpool team, Abidal would have been an improvement over Enrique, and the ability to recruit him on a free transfer could well have been a temptation too good for Dalglish to avoid in the summer. He is a humble, hard-working, honest player and is just the kind of player Liverpool should be looking to attract.
CB: Chris Samba
Chris Samba has been linked with Liverpool seemingly forever, and the rumours started off again after it emerged from Liverpool Echo that the Congolese centre-back had handed in a transfer request to Blackburn boss Steve Kean.
Liverpool have the second best defense in the Premier League this season behind only Manchester City, having given up just 21 goals in their 22 games. Evidently, there is no immediate need to build on the defense.
That said, the 6'4" rearguard would certainly be an improvement for Liverpool, adding more size and strength to a back four that has been dominant this season. When the chance is there with a player who wants to join the club, you need to pounce.
CB: Scott Dann
Another central defender who has been mentioned as a potential transfer target for Liverpool for quite a while, Scott Dann was heavily linked with the Merseyside-club this summer, but ultimately joined Blackburn Rovers for £6 million on deadline day. The move has not panned out as hoped, as Dann has grown frustrated at the relegation battlers, and Sky Sports report that the English defender might be on the move again, naming Liverpool as potential suitors.
While the Reds could certainly use the extra depth in the heart of defense, Scott Dann would likely not represent any drastic improvement over Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel for Liverpool. Unlike Samba, Dann is not one of the Premier League's best defenders and would likely have to settle for a fourth or fifth role spot at Anfield behind Jamie Carragher and Sebastian Coates along with Agger and Skrtel.
The move seems unlikely at best for Liverpool.
RB: Nathaniel Clyne
Probably the most talked-about player in a potential deal to Liverpool this transfer window was 19-year-old winger Wilfried Zaha, but there is another Crystal Palace youngster that Reds fans should be more excited about.
Nathaniel Clyne has been chased by a number of top-tier English clubs for quite a while now, with London24 reporting that 'Palace manager Dougie Freedman is resigned to losing his star full-back and that Liverpool might be joining the race for him.
The move would certainly make sense for Liverpool. The 20-year-old is one of the brightest young defensive prospects in the country, and, aside from John Flanagan, the Reds lack quality on the right-side of defense when it comes to their young players.
Clyne would be given the opportunity to grow behind Glen Johnson until the latter's contract runs out in the summer of 2013, before eventually taking the reins on the Liverpool right-back position for the next decade.
LM: Scott Sinclair
Liverpool having the 13th best offense in the Premier League doesn't necessarily have too much to do with a lack of potency up front; it has more do with the lack of competency on the wings. Stewart Downing, the only winger on the squad, has struggled since his £18 million move, and it is becoming increasingly clear that if Liverpool want to succeed, they need to have better wingers.
Swansea winger Scott Sinclair is in line with the transfer policy, would come cheap, and would be a huge improvement over Downing. The 22-year-old, whose potential move was first reported by The Daily Mail, would bring speed, skill, and flair to the Liverpool flank, all qualities the club desperately, desperately need. The Reds need better cohesion in their team, and that starts with the Swans winger.
CM: Stephane Sessegnon
Steven Gerrard is Liverpool's most important midfielder. Without him, the team lacks aggressiveness, creativity, and spirit. That is why they struggle when he is out of the lineup, and that is why they need to make sure they add some new players in the Gerrard-mould who can fill in when the captain is injured.
According to Metro, Sunderland midfielder Stephane Sessegnon is growing restless at the Stadium of Light and might seek a move in the last few days. While the £10 million the Beninese would cost is much too much for an 'injury replacement,' Liverpool might be thankful they made the investment if Gerrard were to bow out to injury against this season. Sessegnon would fit the Liverpool system well and could be a nice addition to a Reds midfield starved for creativity.
CM: Esteban Granero
When Reds' star Lucas was knocked out of the season with a torn ACL injury, the prospects of Liverpool's season were dealt a devastating blow. The lack of a true defensive midfielder has badly hurt the club, but the potential addition of scarcely used Real Madrid midfielder Esteban Granero would certainly help carry the burden.
Apparently, Liverpool have been in hot pursuit of Granero this transfer window. First revealed by The Daily Mail, this move would certainly make a lot of sense for Dalglish, who would get a highly talented but criminally underused midfielder for a bargain price of less than £10 million. Upon Lucas's return, Granero would be able to provide both competition as well as support for the Brazilian, strengthening the position that has for a long time been one of Liverpool's strongest.
RM: Milos Krasic
In 2010/11 season, Milos Krasic was one of the year's breakout players in Europe, establishing himself as one of Serie A's better wingers with Juventus. Unfortunately, this season has been a different story for the Serbian, who has seen limited action after struggling for the club early on. His bad patch has sparked debate about a potential departure from the Juventus Stadium, and according to The Mirror, Liverpool might be ready to pounce.
Krasic would be an immense signing for Liverpool. He would be a lot cheaper than the other signings Dalglish has completed in his time at Anfield, but should he return to his best, he would bring a high value. Krasic's versatility, creativity, speed, and skill would be a welcome addition on the Liverpool wing, and he could be the man to unlock the sky-high potential of the club's under-performing attack.
Milos Krasic could make Andy Carroll great again.
ST: Edinson Cavani
Twelve goals in 21 matches. Those are the numbers that the strike force at Liverpool's disposition can boast. The goalscoring totals are nowhere near good enough, and if there is one area where the Reds need to improve, it is up front.
With their two Uruguayans in Sebastian Coates and Luis Suarez already in the squad, it was no surprise when talkSPORT reported that Liverpool have a very real interest in Napoli striker Edinson Cavani (in recent days, murmurs have been circulating that the club would take a hard run at him in the last few days of the window). There are perhaps few better options if Liverpool want to sign a true goal-poacher, as Cavani has 51 goals in 72 total appearances for the Italian club.
If Liverpool are serious in their pursuit, they need to act soon. Cavani could cost in excess of £30 million, and with time ticking down in the transfer window, the club will need to wrap up the deal fast.
ST: Moussa Sow
It's rare a player publicly proclaims his love for a club, declaring that "it is a dream club," but that is exactly how Lille striker Moussa Sow describes Liverpool:
"Scoring goals in front of the Kop can be the highlight of a career."
According to ESPN, Sow was desperate for a move to the Premier League and, more specifically, Liverpool, but upon a lack of action from the Liverpool end has instead decided to join Turkish giants Fenerbahce for a bargain £10 million.
So, another missed opportunity for Liverpool fans to rue. Sow is one of the more natural strikers in the Europe and could have been fulfilling his dream by scoring goals alongside Luis Suarez under the Anfield lights.
But Kenny Dalglish didn't want it.
Follow Jake Ware on Twitter at @JacobWare95