Liverpool Need to Finalise Defensive Transfer Work Fast, in and out of the Club

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2014

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Daniel Agger of Liverpool in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield on May 11, 2014 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Liverpool's transfer dealings this summer have so far largely revolved around the attacking third of the pitch, with Emre Can the only incoming signing to even vaguely resemble a defensive addition to the squad.

Given that Luis Suarez left and needed to be replaced and that the squad depth in that area had to be improved, it's perhaps not surprising.

However, the defence certainly needed more reinforcing than the attack at the end of last season, and after several weeks with no change to the back line, the Reds need to get cracking on improvements in that area.


Full-back Rumours

The latest transfer news surrounding the club, excepting attackers, is that Atletico Madrid's young full-back Javier Manquillo is a target, with a loan-to-buy move reported by Angel del Real of AS (in Spanish).

That seems to be the primary move in the back four for the Reds at present, with a deal for Alberto Moreno of Sevilla looking distant at present on the opposite flank.

Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

Full-back was a worrisome area for Liverpool last season, with Glen Johnson's form bombing alarmingly, Jose Enrique out injured most of the year and Aly Cissokho far from his best level—and since having returned to Valencia from his loan spell at Anfield.

Only Jon Flanagan really emerged with any real credit, while Martin Kelly barely featured all year. Andre Wisdom returned to play a part initially with Liverpool in preseason but will now spend the 2014-15 season on loan at West Bromwich Albion.

In truth, the Reds could do with strengthening both sides of the defence considerably, with one new player on each flank...and thus at least one current senior player leaving, as well as Jack Robinson, who has not progressed enough to challenge for a first-team place.



Liverpool have six centre-backs, at least two of whom seem not to be requiredand probably three.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  Kolo Toure of Liverpool reacts after he scored an own goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Liverpool at Craven Cottage on February 12, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Sebastian Coates has not figured in Brendan Rodgers' thoughts, was injured and loaned out last year and surely has no future at the club. The same can be said of veteran Kolo Toure, who impressed at the beginning of last season, only to dramatically lose his form and his place. Fourth choice in a central defence which needs upgrading, he'll barely feature next season.

It could be the case that one of Daniel Agger—the more likely—or Martin Skrtel also leaves, if Rodgers does indeed secure a central defensive signing.

Dejan Lovren has been the biggest rumour of the summer, with the Daily Echo's Gordon Simpson reporting Southamption await a higher bid. So far, little has come close to reaching the stage of medicals with Dr Zaf Iqbal, much less that of being photographed leaning around Melwood in the fashion of Lazar Markovic or Rickie Lambert.


Other Defensive Sales?

Defence isn't just for the defenders, of course.

Pepe Reina has returned to Liverpool after a loan spell at Napoli, with the Italian side not willing to pay the fee to sign the Spaniard permanently.

Atletico Madrid have sorted themselves two new goalkeepers, as have Barcelona, so Reina's return to Spain seems unlikely in the extreme, unless he is willing to play for a side significantly worse than the top three.

NAPLES, ITALY - MARCH 23:  Pepe Reina of Napoli in action during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and ACF Fiorentina at Stadio San Paolo on March 23, 2014 in Naples, Italy.  (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Liverpool have one of the world's former top 'keepers on their hands, but Reina is no longer that player. His wages remain the same, though, ruling out a season of having him as back-up to Simon Mignolet, surely.

And what about the midfield? Lucas Leiva appears a mile away from having the aggression, mobility and reliability that Steven Gerrard showed in the controlling role last term. He isn't likely to feature much higher up the pitch either, with Joe Allen, Emre Can, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson a quartet of excellent options for Rodgers.

Add in Conor Coady, a potential loan deal for Tiago Ilori and decisions to be made over what the likes of Brad Smith and Ryan McLaughlin do this season, and it is clear that Rodgers and Co. have an awful lot of work to do in the coming weeks to sort out the defensive side of the team.