Liverpool FC: 5 Realistic Options to Solve Brendan Rodgers' Goalscoring Crisis
Over the past 18 months, Liverpool Football Club has become notorious for the unit's inability to score.
The Reds scored just 47 goals in 38 games last season, and despite firing 14 shots Ben Foster's way, were unable to score in the season-opening 3-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion.
New manager Brendan Rodgers has already made three signings (Fabio Borini, £10.5 million, Joe Allen, £15 million, Oussama Assaidi, £2.9 million) designed to boost the team's offensive talents, but, while this year's sample size is small, the hole that has been open since Fernando Torres joined Chelsea for £50 million a year and a half ago appears to be as unfilled as ever.
In Rodgers' new system, the club will operate under a 4-3-3 formation. Ideally, this will see Borini on the left flank with Luis Suarez roaming from the right.
But who plays in the middle? Here are five options.
5. Fernando Llorente
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Ultimately, any goalscorer will do, but what Liverpool really need is a poacher to finish off the chances created by the likes of Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez by any means.
In terms of ability to bundle the ball into the net, there are few better in Europe than 6'5" Athletic Bilbao spearhead Fernando Llorente.
Over the past eight seasons with Bilbao, Llorente has netted 122 goals in 297 games, including 30 in 53 this season, and with his side grinding to a 10th-place finish in La Liga this season, the Spanish international is ready for a new challenge.
He may be expensive, but at 27, Llorente could lead the Anfield front line for the next half-decade.
4. Giampaolo Pazzini
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It isn't often a top-class player arrives on the transfer market, and Liverpool might be well advised to pounce at the opportunity to sign one.
Inter's Giampaolo Pazzini, 28, appears to have fallen out of favour at the San Siro after posting just eight goals in 39 games this season, but he has in the past proven himself as a solid goalscorer with 104 goals in 318 career games.
Pazzini, strong in the air and lethal in the penalty area, has never played outside the Serie A before but could transition well to the English game considering his well-rounded skill set and goalscoring pedigree.
And the opportunity to play alongside fellow Italian Fabio Borini won't hurt.
Pazzini would bring experience and would be cheap. It could be worth Brendan Rodgers' time to take a long look.
3. Emmanuel Adebayor
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Emmanuel Adebayor may be 28, but the Manchester City striker is one of the most notorious goal-poachers the Premier League has seen over the past several seasons, having consistently proven himself with top-four clubs.
But having spent the last two seasons on loan at Real Madrid and Spurs respectively, Adebayor has returned to to the Etihad Stadium, where he undoubtedly finds himself the odd man out behind Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli, Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez.
He is far from a long-term option, and he isn't exactly the ideal teammate, but he could thrive alongside a playmaker like Luis Suarez and would instantly fill Brendan Rodgers' biggest hole.
Signing the target man cheaply could be a key to the Reds' top-four hopes this season.
A City teammate of Adebayor's, 20-year-old Swede John Guidetti, who scored 20 goals in 23 games on loan at Dutch Feyenoord last season, could also be an option.
2. Ricky Van Wolfswinkel
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One of continental Europe's brightest rising stars, Dutch frontman Ricky van Wolfswinkel is ready to step up and establish himself as one of the world's premier strikers.
A composed finisher, fluid mover and tireless worker, not to mention his 6'1" frame, van Wolfswinkel has the kind of skill set that has seen the likes of Fernando Torres and Robin van Persie become superstars in the Premier League, and few would be surprised if the youngster turned out to be the next to emerge as an impact player in the English top division.
The 23-year-old native of Woudenburg in the Netherlands is coming off a season that saw him reach personal highs with 25 goals in 46 games for Portuguese Sporting Lisbon, but his team struggled to a fourth-place finish in the Primeira Liga.
With Sporting also set for Europa League football in 2012-13, van Wolfswinkel would likely relish the opportunity to gel with Fabio Borini and Luis Suarez and build a career on Merseyside.
Brendan Rodgers should give him the chance.
1. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar may not have the passing and movement ability to fit seamlessly into Brendan Rodgers' new-look Liverpool team, but his ability to put the ball in the back of the net is undeniable.
The 29-year-old Dutchman put all his attacking tools on full display this season, as he established himself as one of Europe's most prolific scorers with 48 goals in 47 games for the Bundesliga club.
The obvious glitch in the prospect of Liverpool signing Huntelaar is that the striker would have to leave the promise of Champions League football in Gelsenkirchen for a club that barely qualified for the Europa League and lost its first game of the season to West Brom.
But the prospect of playing alongside former teammate Luis Suarez, with whom he spent a season-and-a-half at Ajax, could be tempting, and with Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group still willing to drive the club to success, a lucrative bonus could be waiting for him at Anfield.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar should be Brendan Rodgers' top target in the last few weeks of the transfer market.