After the January signings of Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho gave Liverpool much-needed impetus in the second half of the last campaign, Brendan Rodgers is on the lookout for more top talent in this midseason window.
The Reds have had a sparkling first half of the season, and even though they sit just outside the Champions League places at the time of this writing, they remain many pundits’ favourites to finish in one of those coveted top-four positions.
If Rodgers can freshen up the squad in January in a manner akin to his first season in charge, then the Anfield outfit have it in them to finish in at least fourth place. But the Reds’ boss is adamant he’ll only make signings if they are going to improve what he feels is a much stronger squad than 12 months ago, according to James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo:
You saw last January we were fully prepared for what we needed and we got that business done early.
Where we're at this January as opposed to last January is that the team has evolved and grown and developed. It's a different team to what it was last January.
Now there is greater demand on the types of players that we want to bring in.
They have to be available first and foremost. If the right player is available not just for now but for the future we will look to do that. If not we may have to go with what we've got for the rest of this season and reassess in the summer.
While business has not been conducted quite as briskly as it was this time last year (Sturridge became a Liverpool player on Jan. 2, 2013) Rodgers will surely have some irons in the fire with a view to bring in one or two players.
A huge part of Liverpool’s success this campaign has been down to the inspired form Luis Suarez, but he will not continue scoring goals at the astronomical rate he is currently doing.
Rodgers seems to be looking for another forward player to help take the burden off the Uruguayan and Sturridge, who is back in training after an injury layoff. MostarLFC on Twitter alluded to the good news of Sturridge's return:
Great to see all 3 Sturridge, Sakho and Ibe are back in full training.... pic.twitter.com/dzhBxDMUtl— MostarLFC (@MostarLFC) January 10, 2014
Victor Moses was brought with a view of being able to play anywhere along the front line, but he has struggled in the red of Liverpool, and some such as Metro are claiming he should be sent back to Chelsea, such is the sub-standard of his performances.
Mohamed Salah is a player Liverpool looked to be close to striking a deal for early on in the window, but recent reports suggest he is more likely to be tempted by the riches of Zenit St Petersburg than the Northwest of England, via The Mirror's Liam Prenderville.
So don’t be surprised to see Rodgers delve into the market and secure a similar utility forward—someone who can play anywhere across the front line, chip in with goals and offer a regular supply line to the likes of Suarez and Sturridge.
According to Simon Jones of the Daily Mail, they are keeping tabs on Ukrainian international Andriy Yarmolenko should a deal for Salah fall through. He is a talent who would certainly fit the bill but might be a little pricier than the Egyptian international with a quoted asking price of £15 million.
What position do Liverpool need to strengthen most?
While it is difficult to do business in January, Rodgers has already learnt the significance of refreshing and rejuvenating a squad at this point in the season during his short managerial career.
Not only did he pull off a coup with the aforementioned signings of Coutinho and Sturridge, but he also signed Gylfi Sigurdsson in a January deal at Swansea back in 2012. The Icelandic came into the team and scored some magnificent goals, helping the Swans and Rodgers to a comfortable mid-table finish.
So while it all seems a little quiet at Liverpool for the time being, expect Rodgers to be making some more shrewd moves behind the scenes and galvanize his squad for a Champions League charge.