Unlike most other Premier League clubs, Liverpool have two countdown clocks to monitor over the next month: the five days remaining to the transfer deadline and the 24 days until Luis Suarez becomes available for competitive action.
The Uruguayan forward featured in a behind-closed-doors friendly with Port Vale on Wednesday, as reported by Graeme Yorke of the Daily Mail, scoring in front of the watchful eye of Brendan Rodgers—who remains extremely active in the transfer market.
There was much significance to Rodgers’ presence at the practice match, which also saw Martin Kelly continue his path toward full fitness. The Liverpool boss expects Suarez to be a Red come Sept. 2 and is already monitoring his form ahead of his comeback.
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That comeback could well come at Old Trafford, after Liverpool were drawn against Manchester United in the League Cup. Suarez, who currently has three more games of his suspension to serve, is available after the league visit of Southampton.
Liverpool will hope he walks back into a side boasting “at least two” new faces, according to David Maddock of the Daily Mirror. The Reds’ transfer activity has slowed since the early captures of Simon Mignolet, Luis Alberto, Kolo Toure and Iago Aspas, but Maddock reports Rodgers is not done yet.
"They need to make signings," writes Maddock. "And they WILL make signings, at least two of them. With the injury to Kolo Toure, they require a centre half urgently.
Mamadou Sakho remains the front-runner to satisfy Rodgers’ desire for a new centre-back, with a fee in the region of £10 million expected for the PSG man. Jamie Sanderson of Metro claims Sakho is keen to switch clubs, but the sticking point is the French outfit’s reluctance to let him leave.
The reason Rodgers will pursue Sakho, according to Maddock, is the unrealistically high valuation placed on hard-hitting defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos of Schalke. Maddock provides more details:
Rodgers would like to sign Kyriakos Papadopoulos from Schalke, but the fee is prohibitively high for a player who has been sidelined through injury for much of the past 10 months. If he could get the Greek stopper on loan, he could solve his defensive problems.
The other position Liverpool want to strengthen is one of the three forward slots, for which money is available for the right player.
Rodgers was able to bid close to £30 million for Willian but was eventually beaten to the Brazilian, first by Tottenham and then by Chelsea. However, the negotiations prove money is there for the right player.
Whether Liverpool could secure their biggest deal of the summer, for a calibre of player like Atletico Madrid’s Arda Turan—linked for €23 million by Turkish-Football—within the remaining five days remains questionable, and it may well be that a loan for Chelsea’s Victor Moses makes most sense.