When was the last time a truly great player graced the flank at Anfield?
Steve McManaman was one of Liverpool’s finest, but he spent much of his time on Merseyside deployed in a free role behind the strikers.
No, you need to go back almost 20 years to the days of John Barnes to pinpoint the last time Liverpool had a winger who was the envy of rival clubs.
The Reds have lacked the type of player who will pick up the ball out wide and look to dribble past their marker, like a Marc Overmars at Arsenal, a youthful Ryan Giggs at Manchester United or an Arjen Robben at Chelsea.
All those clubs won titles with talented wide men, and it now appears Brendan Rodgers is in the market for someone in this mould.
Liverpool tried and failed to bring Cristian Tello to the club in the summer, but it looks as though the Barcelona youngster has now opened the door for a move away from Camp Nou.
As Nick Lustig reported in the Daily Star, Tello was recently quoted as saying, "As the years pass you want the role change and have more minutes." But this has not been the case for Tello at the Catalan side.
This season, the 22-year-old has seen his first-team action limited. With the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar, Alexis Sanchez, Cesc Fabregas and Pedro ahead of him in the pecking order, Tello has made just two starts in La Liga, assisting two goals in one of those games.
Tello, who made his debut for the Spanish national side in August, would be a perfect fit for the Reds. The Spanish winger possesses pace in abundance and takes on his marker with the confidence of a player who hasn’t experienced many setbacks in his short career.
Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, who boast 18 goals between them in the league this season, have done an excellent job playing through the middle and out wide. Their partnership is fluid, and both players look equally comfortable drifting wide and cutting in. But neither player is necessarily an out-an-out wide man, and the purchase of Tello would really complement the two goalscorers.
With Sturridge injured until February at the earliest, the temptation will be there for Rodgers to dip into the market and pick out a striker. But the signing of Tello would enhance the side, not just in January, but when Sturridge returns also.
A three-pronged attack of Suarez, Sturridge and Tello, with Philippe Coutinho pulling the strings behind them, is a pretty daunting prospect.
Tello, at just 22, would represent something of a gamble for Rodgers. Adapting to a new country, club and culture is never easy.
But the winger has received an education from the best at Barcelona. It’s time for his talent to be given a stage. And Anfield would represent the perfect playground for the Spaniard.
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