Martin Hardy of the Independent reports that Rodgers has the support of Liverpool’s ownership to continue buying players before the transfer window closes, and that the Reds boss is interested in Johnson.
Johnson is a crafty wide player who can attack down the flanks, and Liverpool is currently thin at winger. This weakness makes it difficult for Rodgers to properly execute his preferred tactics.
Slick passing and impressive possession statistics marked Rodgers’ lone season in the English Premier League with Swansea City. The team finished second among Premiership sides with an 85.7 pass success percentage, and ranked inside the top three in terms of keeping possession with a 57.6 percent average, according to WhoScored.com.
The Swans used their wingers often and effectively, getting 13 goals and six assists between Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer.
Under Kenny Dalglish a season ago, the Reds finished seventh in possession percentage and eighth in pass completion percentage, also noted by WhoScored.com.
The Reds lost Craig Bellamy—their most productive winger—and Maxi Rodriguez, who equaled Dirk Kuyt and Jordan Henderson’s combined total of four goals in just 12 Premier League appearances. Kuyt and Henderson made 34 and 37 appearances, respectively.
Joe Cole came back from loan this summer, and Rodgers has already bought winger Oussama Assaidi from Dutch club Heerenveen. However, Assaidi is a young player with no Premier League experience and Cole is past his prime. Johnson would easily be the best player at the position if he moved to Anfield.
The winger has featured primarily as a substitute since moving to Manchester City, but has 10 goals and seven assists in the past two seasons. If he completes a move to Merseyside, he would not only see the pitch more often, but he would be a significant part of the offense when he is included in the lineup.
Rodgers’ system and Liverpool’s lack of quality players at his preferred position would give Johnson a chance to flourish. He is just 25-years-old and his best performances have not been displayed yet.
With Johnson on the team, Liverpool’s personnel would be a more natural fit for Rodgers’ style of play. Midfielders like Joe Allen, Steven Gerrard and Lucas Leiva are all capable of knocking the ball around the pitch with quick, safe passes.
An attacking trio of Luis Suarez, Fabio Borini and Johnson would have the pace, touch and skill to take advantage of the team’s possession by creating scoring chances.
Although a 3-0 defeat to West Brom was an atrocious way to start the Premier League season, the team can get back on track by continuing to add players like Johnson. Liverpool may not be able to compete for a top-four spot this year, but bringing in young footballers with the skills to execute Rodgers’ strategy is the way to build a core that can do so down the road.
Johnson fits the bill of a player who can produce under Rodgers, and would be an excellent signing for the Reds.
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