The Mirror's Alex Richards is reporting that Liverpool are interested in signing 24-year-old Argentinian defender Marcos Rojo from Sporting Lisbon. This news should be greeted positively by Liverpool fans. On the birthday, March 20, of the young Argentine we look at why.
With the end of the Premier League season fast approaching, Liverpool are hitting a run of good form at exactly the right moment. They have 26 out of a possible 30 points from their last 10 games, and it is clear that Liverpool must be considered as strong title contenders.
This represents a phenomenal transformation from last season when the Reds finished in seventh place, 28 points short of the top spot. That being said, regardless of how the final nine games finish, Brendan Rodgers cannot afford to rest on his laurels.
No one can fault Liverpool's attacking line-up. The partnership of Suarez and Sturridge has produced a combined total of 42 goals and 16 assists. They are also amply supported by the pacey wingers Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho.
Liverpool's midfield perhaps could use some reinforcement, although an aging Steven Gerrard will still have plenty to offer next season, and Jordan Henderson has been a revelation this season compared to his previous years at the club. With Joe Allen, Iago Aspas, Lucas Leiva and Victor Moses on the roster, Liverpool have plenty of solid, if not spectacular, options for the middle of the park.
It is in defence, however, that Liverpool have sometimes been found wanting. This year there have been high-profile defensive clangers from Kolo Toure against West Brom and Fulham. Although 33 goals conceded from 29 games is respectable, it is notable that their title-challenging counterparts all have a better defensive record.
Most recently, Liverpool's performance against Swansea typified their season. They gave away three goals, including an own goal from Skrtel and a penalty. Their formidable attack meant that Liverpool won the match regardless, but afterwards Rodgers admitted he had worries about his defence, as reported via Richard Jolly on ESPN.
We did not defend anywhere near well enough in any aspect.
The problem is it is not coaching. Some of the things we concede goals in, you can’t coach that. There’s a feel when you are in the game of how to defend and you have to use your experience to defend properly.
We concede poor goals. It isn’t so much structurally. It’s mistakes or decision making that cost us.
Rodgers' statement that the problem is not "coaching" is indicative of his own frustration at the players. Like any good coach, he has defended his players from media criticism, but it is apparent there is a lack of quality in the Liverpool back line.
Marcos Rojo would be a perfect acquisition for Rodgers and Liverpool. He fits with the club's ethos of buying talented and versatile young players at good value. Positionally he favours left back but can also play further up the pitch or in the centre of defence. This means he will provide competition for Aly Cissokho and Jon Flanagan, neither of which have shown enough to suggest they are the future for Liverpool. With an extra option in defence, Rodgers can also ease error-prone 33-year-old Kolo Toure out the squad.
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Rojo has been an integral part of Sporting Lisbon's current success in Portugal's top division. Usually dominated by Benfica and Porto, this year Sporting currently lie second. Rojo has contributed two goals, as well as being part of a defensive unit that has conceded just 16 goals in 23 matches. Having played 10 games for Argentina in the qualifiers, he looks set to be first-choice left-back at the FIFA World Cup.
With the potential for his value to dramatically increase over Summer, Rodgers would do well to secure the signing of Rojo early. He has the potential to improve Liverpool in the 2014/15 season, making them an even more formidable side.