Factor in Manchester City’s hard-fought win at Goodison Park, and the league title looks set to be missing from the Anfield trophy cabinet for a 25th consecutive year.
It’s difficult, but at this juncture it’s sometimes good to take a step back. Liverpool are going to be in the Champions League next season, they look set to keep hold of Luis Suarez and they have a host of exciting youngsters developing under the tutelage of Brendan Rodgers.
In short, it has been an excellent season for the Reds, and whilst they may not get a trophy for their troubles, what they will be awarded with is significant pulling power in the summer transfer window.
It’s a factor Rodgers touched upon recently, per Paul Wilson of The Guardian:
We will need to bring in players over the summer, and the great plus about being in the Champions League is that it makes it easier to attract the top ones, but we have developed a style of football over this past year that is already being recognised. [...]
Last summer when we were speaking to certain players they said they respected what we were trying to achieve but they wanted to play at the top level. We are at that level now, ahead of schedule, so I suspect this summer will be a totally different proposition.
Suddenly, Anfield is a hugely attractive proposition for a host of different players. Whether you’re an established figure looking to compete at the very top level or a young player looking to make an impact, at Liverpool you know you’ll get a chance to impress.
So with that in mind, here’s a look at the latest players to be linked with a move both to and from Merseyside in the summer, with a glance a little further down the line as to how any potential moves could affect Rodgers’ Liverpool vision.
Lallana would be a wonderful fit for Liverpool. He’d add to the strong English influence that Rodgers is trying to instil within his team, whilst bringing a technical and continental flair to the Reds’ XI. He can play in a host of positions, and his ability to float between the lines will have certainly caught the eye of the Liverpool boss.
After such a sparkling campaign, teams are going to defend deep against Liverpool in a manner comparable to Chelsea in Week 36. To get the better of those sorts of outfits, the Reds will need players in Lallana’s mode—players who can engineer space and thread a pass through the eye of a needle.
Having been at Southampton since they were languishing down in the third tier, 25-year-old Lallana knows that he owes the south coast outfit little.
Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe thinks Liverpool would be a good move for the player at this stage of his career:
If Lallana left #Saintsfc (I hope he doesn't), Liverpool & Man City are surely the only choices for him.— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) March 8, 2014
A move to a club like Liverpool could push him on to a whole new level, and whilst it’ll be tough for him to leave Southampton, this transfer seems to make sense for both Liverpool and the player. Maybe not for his current club, but could the Saints’ hierarchy really afford to turn down a £20 million bid?
The 18-year-old sensation has earned himself many admirers after some scintillating displays in the early part of the campaign, but a lack of minutes during the second half of PSV’s toiling Eredivisie season has left him frustrated during the final few games.
PSV have offered the youngster a new deal, which, according to PSV chief executive Marcel Brands, is “the best renewal possible;” and according to Jefferson’s Dutch source, Bakkali will be placed on the transfer list “immediately” should he dither on extending his contract.
It’s no surprise that Liverpool are supposedly interested in the player, given the indisputable talent he showcased early on. Blessed with tons of ability, blistering speed and a patent for the unexpected, Bakkali offers an extremely dangerous and unyieldingly direct attacking threat.
In just his second appearance for PSV, he became the youngest player ever to score a hat-trick in the Dutch top flight:
Bakkali is youngest hat-trick scorer in Eredivisie history; heads some illustrious names (and Collins John) pic.twitter.com/KNpsNLSAlO— Mohamed Moallim (@iammoallim) October 3, 2013
There is still plenty of work to be done with Bakkali, but if you look at the development of Raheem Sterling—a player stylistically similar to the PSV man—you’d have to think Rodgers would be able to channel his obvious but raw ability in a manner comparable to the England international.
But, if Bakkali does choose to seek pastures new this summer, expect a host of clubs to be interested in snapping up this prodigious talent. Liverpool should do their utmost to force their way to the front of the queue should he become available.
Liverpool’s Danish international defender could be on his way out of Anfield this summer, with reports claiming Barcelona are hoping to bring him to the Camp Nou.
Should Liverpool cash in on Daniel Agger?
According to talkSPORT, via Alex Richards of the Mirror, the Catalan giants have isolated the 29-year-old as the man to bolster their creaking defence, with Agger currently third in the pecking order at Liverpool.
After signing for the Reds in 2006, Agger has typically been a mainstay of the Liverpool back four. But this season, the performances of Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho have left the Dane sat on the bench for the majority of the campaign.
He’d be an excellent fit for Barcelona, and after eight years on Merseyside, the chance to play for a club as illustrious as La Blaugrana would surely be too good an opportunity to turn down.
The slower pace of the game in Spain would suit him as he gets older, whilst his ability to bring the ball out from the back would help Agger slot seamlessly into their line-up. Agger has been a fantastic servant for Liverpool, but given his lack of minutes and the stature of a club like Barcelona, it’d certainly be no surprise if this season turned out to be his last one at Anfield.