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Liverpool Falcao Move May Fail, but Reds Need This High-Quality Forward Signing

AS Monaco's Radamel Falcao applauds a teammate during the Emirates Cup soccer match between Arsenal and AS Monaco at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium, London, Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014.  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Matt Dunham/Associated Press
Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2014

Liverpool have made several big-money signings during this transfer window, including Lazar Markovic and Adam Lallana, but so far only £4 million have gone on an actual striker for the coming campaign, Rickie Lambert, after the departure of last season's top scorer, Luis Suarez.

Belgian youngster Divock Origi has signed but was loaned straight back to former club Lille for 2014-15, while a move for Loic Remy ended abruptly amid talk of a failed medical, as per BBC Sport.

A far bigger deal for Colombia and AS Monaco striker Radamel Falcao, reported by The Guardian's Andy Hunter, is something of a move out of the blue, then—but it's exactly the calibre of final-third player that the Reds need to be looking at bringing in to solidify their top-four challenge and compete in the Champions League.

 

Mystery, rumours and interest

Will he, won't he, have they? Nobody seems 100 percent sure on exactly where this supposed deal stands right now. Mina Rzouki tweeted that the Reds had enquired and were in pole position for the striker:

Italy may be beautiful for a holiday but it's also useful. Meetings today & a v. good source told me Liverpool have the advantage for Falcao

— Mina Rzouki (@Minarzouki) August 6, 2014

It's not yet done. Falcao is between Liverpool and City but the former quite a bit in the lead to land the player. What a coup it would be

— Mina Rzouki (@Minarzouki) August 6, 2014

But Tony Barrett of the Times believes there was never anything more than an enquiry.

Liverpool confirm interest in Falcao - but striker is set for Real Madrid, writes @TonyBarretTimes http://t.co/UAoKkXw0zm

— Times Sport (@TimesSport) August 7, 2014

Jack Wilson of the Star reported that Liverpool were odds-on to sign Falcao, while colleague Chris McKenna wrote that Falcao wasn't interested in the move, and that he would be joining Real Madrid instead.

But do Real Madrid need Falcao? Do they have a place for him? Would current No. 9 Karim Benzema have signed a new, long-term contract if he was going to be vying for a starting spot with a £50 million signing?

Real Madrid C. F. announces the extension of Karim @Benzema's contract for the next five seasons until June 30, 2019 pic.twitter.com/79YQ9ZxE7Q

— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) August 6, 2014

 

Star showing

What is clear is that, regardless of the name of the player, Liverpool do need somebody to come in who has the presence, the quality, the reliability and the consistency of somebody of Falcao's ilk.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - NOVEMBER 14: Radamel Falcao of Colombia looks onl during the international friendly match between Belgium and Colombia at King Badouin stadium on November 14, 2013 in Brussels, Belgium.  (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)
Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

Liverpool don't have to have a star name as such, but they do need genuine Champions League quality to remain the all-star attacking force they were last season. And, it just so happens, star names are usually exactly that for a reason—they happen to be very, very good.

MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 15:  Marco Reus of Germany in action during the international friendly match between Italy and Germany at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium on November 15, 2013 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

It could be Falcao, or it could be another player who can fill the centre-forward's position at times, while also being more than useful in the attacking-midfield or wide-forward roles. 

Whether it must be an out-and-out striker just because Suarez mainly played up front is a different question.

 

Tactical alterations?

Should Falcao—or any pure No. 9, as he is—arrive at Liverpool this summer, it raises the question of Brendan Rodgers' tactics. Daniel Sturridge is the established starting striker right now, but the team played with two centre-forwards last season ahead of a diamond midfield.

That would work again with Sturridge and Falcao—but then it means a maximum of two can play from Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling and new signings Lallana and Markovic. Much of the time in a diamond, it could only be one of those four.

Again, it's not a problem as such; Liverpool had no depth at all last season and certainly needed more, but it places the question in supporters' minds over whether all of them came in as part of the same plan for the future.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 30:  Daniel Sturridge #15 of Liverpool in action against Manchester City during the International Champions Cup 2014 at Yankee Stadium on July 30, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Options and possibilities are great, but Suarez gave Liverpool the opportunity to play him and Sturridge together...or with one wide. Falcao only plays through the middle, and Sturridge only wants to play there.

He'd certainly put in the odd game for the team wider—that's unquestioned. But Rodgers should consider whether a more versatile forward would give him the greater flexibility he requires from his players—without reducing the quality that a signing such as Falcao would offer.

That said, there are few Reds supporters who would be overly worried should the Colombian star rock up at Melwood some time before the opening game of the new Premier League season—and rightly so, given the team's ambitions for the campaign ahead.

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