Yevhen Konoplyanka Ideal for Liverpool's Premier and Champions League Challenges

Max MuntonLiverpool CorrespondentApril 4, 2014

Ukraine's Yevhen Konoplyanka stands during the playing of his country's national anthem before the start of a 2014 World Cup group H qualifying soccer match against Montenegro, at City Stadium in Podgorica, Montenegro, Friday, June 7, 2013.(AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Darko Vojinovic

He’s not been out of the limelight much since his January transfer deadline day move to Liverpool collapsed at the 11th hour, but Yevhen Konoplyanka looks set for a move to Merseyside this summer, if the papers are to be believed.

The Ukrainian winger’s agent “fuelled speculation that Liverpool have renewed their interest in the Ukrainian winger” by dropping a cryptic tweet, according to David Kent of the Daily Mail

Indeed, a summer move for the highly rated 24-year-old could well be a shrewd move by Liverpool, but it’s hard not feel they dodged something back January.


Hindsight is a Wonderful Thing

The fallout from Liverpool’s lack of spending in January was quite dramatic. It divided opinion between fans, and fingers started to be pointed as to who was responsible for the Reds’ apparent incapability in the transfer market.

An anxious Liverpool legend John Aldridge questioned whether the saga would cost Brendan Rodgers and his side a top-four finish and place in the Champions League, as per his column in the Liverpool Echo:

I'm worried that Liverpool’s lack of transfer activity will return to haunt us come May. We had a great opportunity to strengthen the squad during the January window but we failed to take it and I find that crazy.

Fast forward to April 2014 and a Konoplyanka-less Liverpool have earned their right to be top of the Premier League with six games to go. Furthermore, this run of eight wins has brought about the biggest belief amongst supporters since 1990. It has changed the club.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  Luis Suarez (C) and Raheem Sterling (R) of Liverpool congratulate goalscorer Philippe Coutinho during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool at Etihad Stadium on December 26, 2013 in Man
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

We’ll never know, but signing Konoplyanka back in January could well have hindered Liverpool’s season.

It certainly would have restricted the game time for either or both of Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho, who have made invaluable contributions to the Liverpool success story of late. 

Would allowing settling-in time for an expensive acquisition halfway through the season have benefited Liverpool? Would they be even further clear than the two points they find themselves in going into Sunday’s trip to West Ham? It would be hard to formulate a yes argument to both these questions.


Summer Expansion

KIEV, UKRAINE - NOVEMBER 15: Ukraine's Yevhen Konoplyanka controls the ball during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier Play-off First Leg soccer match between Ukraine and France at the Olympic Stadium on November 15, 2013 in Kiev, Ukraine.  (Photo by Adam N
Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images

Whether missing out on signing Konoplyanka in January was a blessing in disguise or not, he would certainly make a canny signing in the summer.

Title or no title, Rodgers needs to reshuffle his squad into a new era as they look to challenge for both the Premier League and Champions League—an attack on two fronts.

The only way to realistically begin competing with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich is to build a deep squad, full of talented players who work with each other, not against each other in healthy competition.

Konoplyanka’s pace and wizardry would no doubt provide Rodgers’ side with width, and a fresh, versatile option with the multitude of games in the inevitable busy fixture schedule that awaits this autumn.

Tactician Jonathan Wilson wrote on Bleacher Report back in January:

Konoplyanka also gives the option of attacking the full-back on the outside. He is quick and dynamic, and rather more disciplined thanCoutinho if it comes to closing down an attacking full-back. The more options Liverpool have, of course, the less danger there is that they become predictable.

If Konoplyanka is indeed on his way to Liverpool, he will make a very welcome addition to a squad growing in quality.