Transfer Window Advice for Liverpool This Summer
The January transfer window was a success as far as Liverpool are concerned, reeling in two prime talents in Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho.
Brendan Rodgers now faces a critical summer and has to get every decision spot on, so the pressure is on for him to make the right deals and come out with his core group of players unscathed.
Here's a little bit of transfer advice for Rodgers this summer, detailing things he has to get right.
Most Important Positions to Strength: LB, DM
Left-back is an incredibly hard slot to fill, but should a premier player at the position appear on the market, Brendan Rodgers simply has to act.
Liverpool join a drove of clubs searching for the rarest of breeds—the left-footed full-back who can attack and defend in equal measures.
Jose Enrique, the current incumbent, has proven himself a steady defender and solid in passive possession, but lacks the decision-making process in the final third to truly bring Rodgers' football to life.
A lot of attacks start and then prematurely end with Enrique. He's a good asset that many clubs would have, but the gulf between he and Glen Johnson is pretty sizeable.
The other question mark revolves around Lucas Leiva, who continues to polarise opinion in the holding midfield slot.
The Reds could use another holding midfielder—preferably a physical presence, too—to compete with Lucas and put pressure on his game.
Keep It Youthful
Liverpool have to stay true to their policy of signing young players.
The club has done a fantastic job securing talents for the future in Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge, Joe Allen and Fabio Borini et al, and must resist the sexy appeal of the Christian Benteke's in this world.
The Reds' scouts need to continue their solid efforts and expand to the more obscure corners, looking for that elite bargain.
Don't Sell on the Cheap
There are a few Liverpool players who the club will obviously listen to offers for this summer, even if Brendan Rodgers denies it (via Goal.com).
Martin Skrtel doesn't appear to fit in the master plan, and it's pretty clear Andy Carroll's footballing fates lie away from Anfield. Stewart Downing was told he'd be available for transfer in December 2012 (via BBC), and that likely hasn't changed considering the options now available to the manager.
Clubs know these players aren't in favour and will low-ball the Reds with silly offers, pushing them to accept a lower price.
It's imperative Rodgers only sells for the right price, while it's also imperative they're not allowed out on loan.
Loan out the Kids
Liverpool played a lot of extra games this season due to their participation in the UEFA Europa League, and Brendan Rodgers took the opportunity to blood a number of youngsters.
Valuable experience was gained by the likes of Andre Wisdom and Jonjo Shelvey, while Adam Morgan, Conor Coady and Jack Robinson also picked up a few minutes on the continent.
That opportunity will not be present in the 2013-14 season, so these youngsters need to look outside the club for game time.
Rather than sit on a group of promising youngsters and starve them of chances, a good number of them could use a loan to a Premier League or Championship club.
Identify Targets Early, Sign Them Early
The summer of 2012 was a bit disappointing for Liverpool.
Fabio Borini and Joe Allen were secured early, but no further big-name signings materialised despite heavy interest in now-Tottenham player Clint Dempsey (via BBC).
Signing the U.S. international seemed a forgone conclusion and the fans were just waiting for the details to be ironed out, but Spurs nipped in, bid the appropriate amount and took him across London.
There's nothing more annoying than having a transfer target stolen from you, and if reports are to be believed, it's happened again in Roma's signing of Toby Alderweireld (via Football Italia).
Let's not have this quickly spiral into a precedent—identify your targets, sign them quickly.
A Cheeky Bosman or 2?
There are some decent Bosman free transfers coming up that Liverpool could take advantage of, and depth for the appropriate wages is never a bad thing.
B/R's Karl Matchett has done a fantastic job looking into five possible free transfers for the Reds to consider here, and the most intriguing name is Douglas.
The FC Twente defender would be a wonderful addition to Brendan Rodgers' side, establishing himself as a star performer in the Eredivisie and coming into his prime at 25 years of age.
Mathieu Flamini is another intriguing option—the much-maligned Frenchman has enjoyed something of a renaissance in the second half of the Serie A season with AC Milan.