Liverpool's Lack of Strength in Depth Could Prove Costly as Season Progresses
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Despite Liverpool's impressive start to the 2013/14 season, there has been an alarming lack of cutting edge in attack, and that could prove costly as the season progresses.
While Reds fans all over the world will be thrilled at their side's unbeaten start, their reliance on the goals of Daniel Sturridge has been obvious to all.
Victor Moses opened his account in the 2-2 draw with Swansea, but when Sturridge isn't firing then neither are Liverpool at the moment.
Although Brendan Rodgers' side sit top of the Barclays Premier League table after four games, fans should remain cautious that Liverpool appear to lack the quality in attack to kill teams off.
Failure to Turn Possession into Goals
The opening-day win over Stoke City saw some wonderful pass-and-move football, yet the Reds created an abundance of chances that they ultimately failed to take.
Against Aston Villa a week later after Sturridge had put his side ahead, they failed to capitalise on their first-half dominance and almost paid the price late on.
A familiar story was played out during the 1-0 victory over an underperforming Manchester United. Liverpool scored early yet failed to muster another serious chance on goal for the remainder of the game.
After Michu netted Swansea a deserved late equaliser last time out, if anybody looked like snatching a winner it was the Welsh side.
Despite looking solid defensively, a common theme in the Reds' opening four league fixtures is that they have failed to find the net in the second half of any game.
That is statistic that may worry Rodgers should it continue.
Lack of Options on the Bench
Not having a solid preseason because of injury means that Sturridge appears to tire towards the hour mark, while Moses' lack of action saw him fade after half-time in his one and only outing so far.
Worryingly, the options on the Liverpool bench appear limited. Luis Suarez is soon to return and will likely form a front three alongside Moses and Sturridge, with Rodgers previously admitting in an article by Andy Hunter of the Guardian that he would prefer Philippe Coutinho to play more central.
With Coutinho set for a spell in the treatment room following a shoulder injury picked up away at Swansea, however, Rodgers' squad appears even thinner than first anticipated.
If when having a fully fit squad to select from—as expected—the Reds line up with those four from the start, Raheem Sterling and Iago Aspas appear to be the only real attacking options from the bench.
Sterling is still only 18 and finding his way in the game, while Aspas—who admittedly should be afforded time to settle—has looked largely ineffective during his brief Liverpool career.
Liverpool sides of the past have relied heavily on Steven Gerrard to deliver the goods in times of need, but Rodgers appears to not have that luxury at the moment. The captain—while still as influential as ever—these days finds himself in a much more defensive role.
Gone Too Soon
Some fans may question Rodgers' decision to allow both Oussama Assaidi (loan) and Stewart Downing to depart Anfield during the summer.
While Assaidi was not exactly a goal threat, he appeared to be a good option coming off the bench when the side were in need of pace and trickery.
Despite not having the greatest goals or assists record, Downing appeared to be playing the best football of his Liverpool career toward the back end of the 2012/13 season and could have been a useful member of Rodgers' squad had he stayed.
Some fans may think that criticising the team for not yet scoring in the second half of a game is harsh given Rodgers' men sit top of the table four games in, but there is the real possibility that Liverpool's good work so far could be undone due to a lack of depth.
During the summer transfer window, the Reds were heavily linked with moves for Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa and Willian—then of Anzhi Makhachkala—with reports from the BBC and the Telegraph respectively, so it appears to be no secret that Rodgers himself feels reinforcements are necessary.
The name of Arda Turan has one that has cropped up previously, as reported by Ben Jefferson of the Express, and may well be available for the right price when the transfer window opens. He would certainly add that extra bit of skill and craft required to open up a tight defence.
Come January it is vital that Rodgers adds at least one attacking player to his squad—ideally two players— if the Reds are to ensure their fantastic start to the season is not just a false dawn.
Their hopes of Champions League football next season may rely heavily on him doing so.
Comment below on who you think the Reds should add to their squad in January.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?