Liverpool's reported pursuit of Javier Pastore has bubbled under since the summer transfer window's conclusion, but in the wake of the Reds' 3-1 loss to Hull, Paris Saint-Germain's unfavoured attacking midfielder would fill a major chasm in Brendan Rodgers' lineup.
Everything's false, and has nothing to do with the reality.
As I've already said, I was the first to sign for the club and I'll be the last to leave. I'm going to fight. There are a lot of players in each position, but I'm going to dig in to be among those first names on the teamsheet without getting too worried about it. I'll only go back to Italy to go to the cinema or see friends.
At 24 years of age, the former Palermo star represents a talented individual who is yet to find the right surroundings.
While this may force many Anfield supporters to remember the disappointment that was Alberto Aquilani, Pastore's versatility and all-round qualities would significantly improve a team that relies too heavily on the goalscoring output of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.
Suarez's inability to get hold of the ball against Hull was extremely surprising, especially considering the Uruguayan's impressive tally of nine goals in eight Premier League appearances this campaign.
With Sturridge's ankle injury ruling him out for up to eight weeks, per an alternate report from Richards, Liverpool's reliance on the "SAS" is set to become more pronounced. Naturally, replacements are being rumoured, with Pastore's name drawing particular interest.
Pastore Just Needs to be Loved
Although rarely prolific, Pastore is more than capable of chipping in with a decent amount of goals when he is settled.
The Argentinian hit 16 goals and six assists during his debut season with PSG, per ESPN FC, but under the guidance of Carlo Ancelotti, appeared to lose interest when he was constantly shunted from position to position.
He also managed to record nine goals and nine assists last term, but when pushed into a wide role, Pastore has failed to shine.
He is not capable of keeping up with PSG's explosive speed—injected into the side through players such as Ezequiel Lavezzi and Lucas—nor is he a constant headline maker when individuals such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani reside at the Parc des Princes.
Instead, this is a player who performs at the top level when he is shown loyalty and belief. Rodgers is excellent at making his squad feel wanted—as highlighted by the continued faith in youth such as Raheem Sterling—and is the kind of motivator who can bring out the best in a player who would slot in perfectly behind Suarez.
|Javier Pastore: By the Numbers (2013-14 Season)|
|Apps||Goals||Assists||Pass Success %||Tackles Per Game|
A Link Between Midfield and Attack
Pastore's vision, passing accuracy and dribbling skills are of supreme quality, but more importantly for Liverpool, he is a dogged worker. He is the kind of individual who will sprint back to defend before bringing the ball upfield for a counter, suggesting he could provide the integral link between Liverpool's midfield and attack.
Right now, the transition between Rodgers' centre and attack is fast-paced, direct and relies on Philippe Coutinho, Sterling and Victor Moses beating their marker out wide. Coutinho succeeds regularly, but the same can't be said of Sterling or Moses.
With Steven Gerrard and Lucas Leiva patrolling the halfway line, major space opens up behind Suarez, who is often forced to bypass a considerable amount of opponents before even having an opportunity at goal.
While Jordan Henderson tried to fill this void against Hull, the physicality of Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore overpowered his best efforts, suffocating Liverpool's time on the ball and effectively cutting the spearhead of Suarez off before he could influence the game.
Pastore is more than capable of taking on a progressive role in matches, one Rodgers could alter depending on the situation. Against Hull, he would have been perfectly stationed goalside of Huddlestone and Livermore, giving the duo something to think about before they moved forward.
His willingness to control possession and take defensive responsibility would also have softened Gerrard's workload, which is extremely important at this stage in the gut-busting 33-year-old's career.
Liverpool may play intense, free-flowing football, but they rarely exert control in vital areas of the pitch. Rodgers' team possess the dynamite to explode through any defensive wall, but the Merseyside club are exposed to counter fire.
Pastore can act as the shield for such a situation, without fear of the side losing its attack-minded nature in the process.