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1 Player Liverpool Will Rue Not Signing

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - AUGUST 24:  Liverpool player Lucas in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Villa Park on August 24, 2013 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images
Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2013

Liverpool completed a pretty successful all-round transfer window by landing three players on deadline day, taking their total sum of new faces at the club this term to eight.

While fans will be happy that additions were made in key areas such as left-back, central defence and in attack, there will undoubtedly be concern that one glaring omission was made, in that Brendan Rodgers failed to add a defensive midfielder to his squad.

Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas and Victor Moses add attacking balance and options to the squad, while Kolo Toure, Mamadou Sakho, Aly Cissokho and Tiago Ilori have boosted strength and depth to the defence. Simon Mignolet in goal provides another line of defence as the new first-choice goalkeeper.

In between, however, Liverpool continue to rely on the pairing of Steven Gerrard and Lucas Leiva to alternately protect the defence and be the link to the final third, with only Joe Allen in place as backup.

The Reds have started this season extremely well defensively, winning all three games with clean sheets to boot, but question marks remain, in particular, Lucas' ability to run matches and protect the back four.

His positioning and decision-making have been at best questionable at times since his return from injury a little over a year ago, and last season the Reds really struggled with powerful runners from deep during opposition attacks.

Rodgers' decision to avoid signing another defensive midfielder, at least to provide cover for Lucas if not outright replace him, is therefore a strange one.

Allen filled the role early on last season before suffering with his own form and fitness, and he is the only other central midfielder in the squad with Jordan Henderson more often being deployed in the line of three attacking players, and the likes of Conor Coady and Suso loaned out, both of whom can play in the centre.

The decision to not add another holding player this year has been all the more puzzling given the huge numbers of them who have moved in the past two transfer windows. Yann M'vila, Luiz Gustavo, Marouane Fellaini, Gary Medel, Mathieu Flamini, Etienne Capoue, Joshua Guilavogui, Jeremy Toulalan, Geoffrey Kondogbia and, perhaps most attainably of all for Liverpool, Victor Wanyama have all transferred either in January or this summer.

Real proven quality, with plenty of potential left to improve, was absolutely available for Liverpool to sign this summer, and given the inconsistencies in form and problems with injuries that they have suffered with their central players, it must be seen as a huge chance missed.

The other point to consider is that, as well as the Reds have started, Lucas in particular was still far from infallible in the opening two matches.

This is a position which will cost Liverpool goals and points in future matches; the lack of real, dependable quality compared to other areas of the team is an inescapable truth and it is simply a question of numbers to accept that, sooner or later, this weakness will hurt them again.

Eight players signed and reasonable sums of money brought in through sales makes it a good overall window for Liverpool, one which should allow them to challenge closer to the top four, but this single missing addition could be the one they are left to rue the most.

 

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