At this juncture, with the defeat still raw and dreams a little dampened, it can be a difficult to take a step back and look at things with perspective. But Liverpool should be delighted with their campaign regardless of what happens in their final two games.
They still have a fantastic chance of winning the title, but they’ve qualified for the Champions League, and that is remarkable progress for a club that finished down in seventh position last season.
The Champions League brings with it a host of enviable facets too. Those wonderful European nights at Anfield, the prestige of playing the continent’s very best sides and perhaps most relevant, a huge amount of pulling power in the transfer market.
If you’re a player looking for a move this summer, Anfield is suddenly a very, very attractive destination. The club is seemingly going places under the reign of Brendan Rodgers, and it’s no surprise that a host of high-calibre talent has been linked with a move to Merseyside.
Liverpool are reportedly formulating a contingency plan should PFA Player of the Year Luis Suarez be lured away from Anfield in the summer transfer window, with Carlos Tevez touted as a potential replacement.
According to Ben Jefferson of the Express, the Uruguayan is highly unlikely to leave Merseyside in the summer after signing a new deal in December. But just in case Liverpool receive an irresistible offer for their talisman, they are keeping tabs on Tevez, who has been superb in his first season in Italy.
Former Manchester City and Manchester United man Tevez has scored 18 goals in 30 Serie A games this season, per WhoScored.com, and is on the verge of completing an unprecedented league and Europa League double in the black and white of the Bianconeri.
He remains a fine player and is proven in the Premier League. But at 30 years old, he doesn’t fit Rodgers’ blueprint of bringing in young players that he can mould into quality talents.
Even if the unthinkable does happen and Suarez was to leave the club, Liverpool would be better off moving for a younger, hungrier forward who can be at Anfield for many years to come.
After a breakthrough season on the south coast, Adam Lallana is a player whose reputation continues to grow.
He’s caught the eye for both Southampton and England during the course of this campaign and was duly awarded with a place in the PFA Team of the Year:
PFA Team of the Year: Cech; Coleman, Kompany, Cahill, Shaw; Lallana, Gerrard, Yaya Toure, Hazard; Sturridge, Suarez pic.twitter.com/RUeS1w5jO3— FootballFacts101 (@FootballFact101) April 28, 2014
Liverpool are one of the clubs reportedly interested in acquiring the services of the 25-year-old, with Tom Hopkinson writing in the Sunday People (h/t the Mirror) that the Reds have edged ahead of rivals Manchester United in the race to sign the England international.
But according to Saints’ director Les Reed, the club have no intention of selling their best players in the summer window, per BBC Sport:
We have had a great season and we want to improve on it. We want retain the players we've got. They are all contracted and we intend to honour those contracts. Any enquiries we get will probably be met with a 'no, not for sale'.
Our intention is to keep this very good team together and build on it by bringing in players to improve on that. We have our targets and these are things we talk about on a daily basis.
There is not going to be a fire-sale, we want to keep all of our best players at the club and build for the future.
While it’s an admirable stance to take, if a club of Liverpool’s stature were to come in for Lallana with a big-money offer, it’d be hugely difficult for Southampton to turn down and for the player to ignore.
Especially when Lallana would be a perfect fit for Liverpool, something noted here by the BBC's Simon Clancy earlier in the season:
And if Adam Lallana isn't top or close to the top of any Liverpool transfer target list, then it's a bad list. Same goes for Ben Davies.— Simon Clancy (@SiClancy) March 30, 2014
He’d join a core of English players that not only include established figures like Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson, but progressing talents like Jon Flanagan, Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge.
Stylistically, too, he ticks all the boxes, and that is perhaps even more evident after Liverpool’s crushing defeat to Chelsea.
The Reds were crying out for a player to ghost between the lines with some intricate dribbling or clever movement, two of Lallana’s greatest attributes.
The Southampton man is going to be highly coveted in the window, especially if he performs well at the World Cup, but if Liverpool can manage to secure a deal for the player, it’d make them even more of an incisive, enterprising attacking force next season.
Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette has hinted he’d love a move to the Premier League, touting both Arsenal and Liverpool as potential suitors.
According to The Sun (h/t Sky Sports), reports in France have linked the 22-year-old forward with a move away from the seven-time Ligue 1 champions.
The player has suggested he may consider a move should the opportunity arise. “I’m tempted to try and experience life abroad,” said the Lyon man. “Are Arsenal and Liverpool interested? An experience in another major league fascinates me.”
Which of the aforementioned trio would be the best signing for Liverpool?
Lacazette has been a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season for Lyon. They are currently languishing down in fifth place in the table and without Champions League football, you worry as to whether they’ll be able to keep hold of a talent like Lacazette.
A dynamic, direct forward, the Frenchman would certainly flourish in Liverpool’s attack-biased set-up. He’s versatile too, capable of playing as an orthodox striker, in behind a forward or offering width off either flank.
But regardless of where he’s featured positionally, he’s stuck the ball in the back of the net. In all competitions Lacazette’s scored 17 goals this season, per WhoScored.com.
While he might not quite be ready for a starting berth yet, Lacazette could grow into a fine player under Rodgers. Coming off the bench he’d be a fantastic option to play as a forward or a wide man and eventually he has the talent to nail down a spot in the first XI.