It’s also fast becoming common consensus that Liverpool won’t be able to match the top European clubs for the likes of Eden Hazard, Edinson Cavani and Gonzalo Higuain—should they be allowed to move on, that is.
So aside from looking at free transfers and bargain buys, Liverpool should be training their sights on the squad and fringe players in teams with big squads.
Here are eight players from City and Spurs that Liverpool should be looking at—for the right price, of course—and, as usual, feel free to have your say in the comments below.
Let’s start with the heavy-hitter.
While Carlos Tevez might end up having a big say in how the title race turns out this season, and while he might force his way into Roberto Mancini’s plans in the coming weeks, his status at Manchester City remains up in the air.
For all of his selfish petulance off the pitch, and despite his lack of match fitness this season, Tevez is still one of the finest and most complete forwards in world football on it.
If City do decide to let him go in the summer, Liverpool should absolutely look at him as an option—if he chooses to remain in England.
While James Milner has seen plenty of match action this season, he’s recently been confined to a place on the City bench.
And as City move on towards the upper echelons of European football, world-class stars in Milner’s wing position will be on their way soon.
Which leaves Milner as a squad option at best.
Young, hardworking, English, with a bit of pace, goalscoring and crossing ability—Milner already seems tailor-made for Liverpool.
Considering the raw talent that Adam Johnson has at his disposal, it is sometimes a bit baffling to see his status as a squad player for Manchester City.
But that has also landed him on the wish lists of a few clubs around the Premier League.
With less-than-abundant first-team chances, Johnson could be tempted to seek greener (or Redder) pastures to realize his more-than-abundant potential, and finally secure his place in the England national team.
Liverpool have a serious dearth in pace and creativity on the wings, and Johnson should be a must-buy if he becomes available in the summer.
So Carlos Tevez has come back into the first-team fold after being exiled for the best part of a season—and he seems to have found a new favor with Roberto Mancini.
Much was made of Edin Dzeko’s late substitute appearance against Chelsea, and it seems that Dzeko might be Mancini’s fourth-choice striker at the Etihad Stadium.
This is where Liverpool need to step in.
Dzeko proved in Germany and at times in England that he can be a prolific frontman, and his physical style seems to fit in with City’s counterattacking game. And he’s quite a decent finisher too.
If Liverpool do cut their ties with Andy Carroll, Dzeko would be a perfect replacement—and arguably a step up in class.
But Dzeko would be a great signing regardless of Liverpool’s personnel situation.
Emmanuel Adebayor might be enjoying a fine season in Tottenham’s colors, but he remains permanently contracted to City.
When he eventually returns to Manchester, he might find himself fifth-choice under Mancini, but with plenty of suitors after his displays for Tottenham.
If Liverpool are looking for a powerful striker capable of leading the line on his own and scoring goals, they should look no further than Adebayor.
Liverpool should have snapped up Aaron Lennon back in 2005, when he cost a paltry £1 million from Leeds United.
Still one of the most fearsome wingers in the league on his day, Lennon has pace to burn and would inject some much-needed movement into the Liverpool midfield, which has run into problems breaking apart opposition defences this season.
His uncertain first-team status at White Hart Lane should instantly make him an attractive prospect for many Premier League clubs.
While he would cost more than the solitary million Tottenham paid for him seven years ago, he would still represent a fantastic purchase for Liverpool.
Like Lennon, Niko Kranjcar was signed on the cheap and has proven to be a fantastic value for the money.
Having cost £2.5 million from Portsmouth, he carries a substantial arsenal of attacking skills—he can pass, shoot and dribble, and he puts in a fair shift in the midfield.
Despite Harry Redknapp’s constant assertions that Kranjcar is a crucial component of his squad, he hasn’t been able to nail down a solid starting place, but he still holds an impressive goalscoring ratio, with nine goals in 46 league appearances. That’s including his many appearances off the bench.
Liverpool have been linked with him in the past—and would do well to turn the rumors into reality this summer.
And finally, we have Jermain Defoe, who was strongly mooted for a move to Anfield just this past January.
Previously jousting for a place with Roman Pavlyuchenko—who would also have done well in a Red shirt—Defoe is now competing for a first-team place with new signing Louis Saha. The aggregate personnel movement means Defoe is still backup to Emmanuel Adebayor.
As a consequence, he’s been angling for a move, especially since he doesn’t fit Redknapp’s seeming criteria for a strong targetman up front.
A Liverpool team lacking any kind of clinical finisher and movement around the box would be crying out for a striker like Defoe.
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