A week after it was confirmed that Liverpool would not be lifting their first domestic title in 24 years, it’s a little easier for those of a red persuasion to take stock and reflect on a wonderful campaign.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is already looking ahead to next season, where both he and his players can implement the harsh lessons they suffered in their recent faltered title charge.
Liverpool will, of course, be looking to bolster their squad to prepare for their mandatory European commitments too. Rodgers has already spoken of how vital it is to bring in players who have myriad desirable attributes, per Sky Sports:
Our criteria that we look for is players with strong technique and football intelligence.
They need to mentally have the attitude and the capacity to learn and they have to be so hungry to fight for every ball on every day in training and in the game.
You’ll get some players who are specialists and who need to play in particular positions, but if we can get players in who are multi-functional, and can play in different roles and are multi-dimensional in their work, it sets us up and gives me more options as a coach.
Whilst the Reds had a fine season last campaign, it was mainly due to the improvements in the longstanding playing staff, not due to a host of excellent summer signings.
Liverpool will be hoping a prosperous summer window can help galvanise another title charge in 2014/15. Here are a few talents who could yet help facilitate that.
Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana
It’s common knowledge that the Anfield outfit are keen to bring England international Adam Lallana to Merseyside after they made a £20 million bid for the player, per James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo.
But recent reports suggest that Rodgers is hoping to make his raid on the south-coast club a double swoop, with the Reds looking to include defender Dejan Lovren in a deal. According to David Maddock of the Mirror, Liverpool would be willing to part with up to £40 million to acquire the signature of both players.
The duo would be a wonderful fit at Anfield. Taking Lallana firstly, the 26-year-old would give Liverpool a refreshing new slant to their offensive play. His ability to locate space and exploit opposition teams with his superb dribbling and intelligent passing are qualities the Reds don’t currently have in abundance.
Rodgers is believed to have targeted a player stylistically similar to Lallana in Yevhen Konoplyanka during the January window, but the Southampton man looks to have caught his eye in the latter stages of the season.
Tony Barrett of The Times claims here that Lallana currently looks a much more likely acquisition:
@LFCTransferNRS That was the club's position a few weeks back but since then the possibility of getting Lallana has grown significantly.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) May 10, 2014
Lovren would also be a fine capture. The Croatian international had an imperious first season in English football, showcasing some astute distribution and remarkable positional instincts.
Here’s how the Croat fared when compared to Liverpool’s other central defenders this season:
|Player||Appearances||Avg Tackles||Avg Interceptions||Avg Clearances|
|Mamadou Sakho||17 (1)||1.5||1.5||7.6|
|Daniel Agger||16 (4)||1.4||1.1||5.7|
|Kolo Toure||15 (5)||1.7||0.8||7.4|
Lovren would give the Liverpool back four some much-needed composure, and at 24 years old, he could do so for many years to come. An overall outlay of £40 million is excessive, but getting both of these players on board for next season would be a major catalyst for another enthralling campaign up on Merseyside.
Having reportedly moved ahead of Manchester United in the race to sign William Carvalho earlier this week, per Jamie McLaughlin of Metro, both Liverpool and the Red Devils could be set to miss out on the Sporting Lisbon star.
According to Jamie Anderson in the Express, French giants Monaco have the upper hand in the race for the 22-year-old’s signature, with a £30 million deal looking like a strong possibility.
It’s easy to see why both Liverpool and Manchester United have targeted the Portuguese international, who is hotly anticipated to be one of the standout young players at the Brazil World Cup. Here’s why he’s hot property this summer:
Carvalho is a dominant holding player who’d add phenomenal athleticism and steel to a central midfield. Whilst Steven Gerrard did excel in a deeper position in the middle of the park for Liverpool, the presence of a player such as Carvalho would make his job considerably easier.
If a deal with Monaco is as far along as Anderson makes out in his piece, then it’d be a major blow for Liverpool. Carvalho would have been perfect for the Premier League and the right man to help shore up a perilously unreliable Reds defence.
According to Andy Hunter of The Guardian, Liverpool are hoping to tempt Xherdan Shaqiri to make the move from Bayern Munich to Anfield.
The Swiss international has been on the periphery of the first team under Pep Guardiola—having made just 10 Bundesliga starts, per WhoScored.com—and at 22 years old, the player is surely aware of his need to be playing regular first-team football.
Shaqiri can be a hugely frustrating player. Blessed with tons of ability and a lightning turn of speed, at times he can be a tremendously effective forward. Here’s some of his best moments in the red of Bayern Munich:
But admittedly, there is just as much chance of the Swiss international making a rash decision and losing possession.
First-team football would enable Shaqiri to implement his indisputable ability much more suitably. At Liverpool, Rodgers has demonstrated a knack for refining raw talents, and if he were able to channel Shaqiri’s raw ability into something much more tangible on the pitch in a manner comparable to a player such as Raheem Sterling, the Reds would have a hugely exciting talent on their hands.