Liverpool are in the home stretch and fighting hard for the Premier League title this season, but already thoughts are turning in some quarters toward the summer and players the Reds could sign to improve the team.
With Champions League football on the horizon once more, quantity as well as quality will be required for Brendan Rodgers and his men to compete on four fronts in 2014-15 season.
While the defence arguably needs the most restructuring, there will be additions in attack, too, though Barcelona's Cristian Tello shouldn't be considered amongst the most pressing needs this summer.
He has been linked on and off with Liverpool for two seasons, with Mirror Football's John Cross reporting now that the club maintains an interest and will do a deal if Barcelona's transfer ban is lifted.
A fast and direct wide forward, Tello is a La Masia product who has been pushing for a spot in the Barca team for the past couple of seasons. Most frequently used as an impact player from the bench, he plays almost exclusively from the left side of the front line and has netted five goals this season, with three coming in the domestic cup.
He looks to break in behind the opposition defenders quickly, find space between full- and centre-backs to exploit and, when in possession, usually favours running across the penalty area to create room to shoot or produce lay-offs.
Tello is not extremely creative or versatile in his approach, though he is effective in using his agility and acceleration to trouble defences.
Liverpool's attack has evolved this year into the best in the Premier League and perhaps one of the best in Europe. That will likely be judged next season.
However, it relies heavily on movement, speed of thought and quick transitions and passes, making the most of both the pace of the front line and also their game intelligence.
Interchanging player roles, fluidity in the team to change tactical systems and hard work off the ball are also all key components of the final third.
While Tello is quick across the ground, he has not necessarily shown the capacity to contribute significantly and consistently to build-up phases, nor does he release the ball quickly enough to fit in immediately to the Liverpool attack.
His lack of goals—one La Liga goal in 370 minutes this season—is partly down to only appearing off the bench but also indicates he is still far from a complete attacker.
The Reds may well add an attacking player in the next transfer window, but considering the options Rodgers currently has at his disposal, they'll have to be very good to usurp the likes of Raheem Sterling or Daniel Sturridge.
In Sterling in particular, Liverpool already have a player who can offer the wide forward threat that Tello brings—but better and younger and with a far higher ceiling.
Sterling has also shown great tactical growth, with his displays in a central role this season an example of such; it would be difficult to imagine Tello doing similar, being somewhat lacking in passing execution and decision-making at times.
Now aged 22, we've seen what Tello has to offer, and it doesn't compare with what the Reds already have, let alone what they'll look to add in summer to improve.
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