Liverpool FC : Five Players Roy Hodgson Needs Before the Transfer Window
With the pre-season transfer window closing in a few weeks and the Premier League managers all shuffling their packs to name their 25 man squads, Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson still has some business to do before the end of the month.
A whole host players have been linked with the Reds in the last weeks, with rumours of 'so and so' coming to Anfield making the sports headlines.
But given the club's precarious financial situation, most of the players lined up to grace Anfield, are as close to arriving there as Lionel Messi is.
There is far too much pure fantasy surrounding some of the names linked to Liverpool Football Club. Of course there are many players that fans would love to see playing for the Reds, but realistically many of these are simply hopes and dreams.
Credit where credit is due, Hodgson has done well to secure the services of Joe Cole and there are a few others that he could well bring into his squad.
But there are still 5 areas where the Liverpool gaffer needs still to strengthen his squad and find the players to fill these positions.
Backup Goalkeeper, Brad Jones
With stand in goalkeeper Deigo Cavalieri being wanted back in his native Brazil, Roy Hodgson is in the market for a No.2 to Pepe Reina.
Middlesborough's 28 year old, 6 foot 3 inch Australian international could be the ideal replacement.
Having gain valuable experience with 'Borough after Mark Schwazer left for Fulham, Jones has proved to be a competant 'keeper.
What makes the Australian an even more attractive prospect is that he would be considered as a home-grown player in the eyes of FA.
Jones was in the final Socceroo squad for the World Cup Finals in South Africa but was forced to return home due to his son's illness.
Liverpool have already tabled an offer in the region of £2m and although Middlesborough are reluctant to let their No.1 go, Jones is desperate for the move.
Jones could be the No.2 that Hodgson is looking for, with a suitable price tag and home grown status to boot, the Australian could well be getting the move to Anfield that he so craves.
Left Back, Wayne Bridge
The left back position is the one that is causing Roy Hodgson sleepless nights.
Without any real options, Liverpool boss has pulled another of his negotiation masterpieces of out the hat.
Fabio Aurelio, the Brazilian left footer, who could not agree terms for a new deal under Rafa Benitez has surprising returned to the Reds and agreed a new contract.
But with Aurelio being injury prone, Hodgson is still keen to shore up the left side of his defense.
Wayne Bridge was the subject of some speculation a few weeks ago and with the transfer window coming into the later stages, further discussions may not be far off.
A natural left footer, the former England left back is comfortable going forward, has a strong left foot, and is solid in defense.
Having seen his current employers Manchester City sign Aleksandar Kolarov and Jerome Boateng for big money and already having the likes of Micah Richards, Pablo Zabaleta and Joleon Lescott, all of whom can operate in his position, Bridge may see himself slipping down the pecking order at City.
With only 25 places available, Bridge may not even get a place in Man City's first team squad. City may listen to sensible offers in the coming weeks and Liverpool may yet land their man.
Bridge could look to re-ignite his stuttering career on Merseyside and a move may well be coming for the former England international.
Defensive Midfielder, Christian Poulsen
Christian Poulsen's football career has never been short of controversy with the experienced Dane's pugnacious style of play.
Not one to pull out of a tackle, or even a punch up, Poulsen has gained a reputation in European football as hardman.
Roy Hodgson actually bought the Dane to FC Copenhagen 10 years ago while in charge there and then again tried to sign him while at Fulham.
Following a big money move from Sevilla to Juventus in July 2008, Poulsen failed to impress, but a 'never give in' attitude saw him regain a place in the first team after seemingly being surplus to requirement.
The Liverpool manager is known to be a big admirer of the combative Danish international defensive midfielder. And with the possible departure of Javier Mascherano, Poulsen would be a 'like for like' replacement.
The Dane is a strong tackling, anchorman in midfield with a good range of passing and distribution. However, he plays to his own strengths and usually is not one to spray spectaculars passes around the pitch, but aggressively gets on with winning the ball for his team.
Already 30 years old, Poulsen may be seen as more of a squad player, with Lucas possibly just edging him, should the Mascherano deal go ahead as expected.
But the Dane would be an excellent addition to shore up the midfield and provide strong cover in front of the back four.
Winger, Shaun Wright-Phillips
Liverpool are ready to throw the diminutive Shaun Wright-Phillips a life-line to re-energise his fading career.
Another possible casualty of the new faces arriving at Eastlands, Wright-Phillips is another that could be unwanted at Manchester City.
It is thought the Liverpool could pick up a real bargin, with City ready to do business at £6m for the England winger. With Arsenal balking at the player's wages, Hodgson looks to be edging closer to yet another transfer coup.
Wright-Phillips seems like another English talent that sparked early and burnt brightly for a while, before fading away into the background.
With pace, skill, and a powerful shot, Wright-Phillips possesses all the attributes to be successful. But inconsistency has seen him lose his place at City and with the arrival of David Silva and imminently of James Milner, it appears his days at Manchester are coming to an end.
As with some many other talents, the little English winger would cherish the love of a manager. The trust of a gaffer to allow him to shine and perform to the maximum of his undoubted talent.
One of the best runners with the ball at his feet, Wright-Phillips could well provide running and dribbling skills at Anfield not seen since the days of Steve McManaman.
With Hodgson playing a father figure role to so many English talents, Wright-Phillips could be another that may well flourish again under the wings auspicious eye of the Liverpool manager.
Striker, Carlton Cole
Last season, the injury to Fernando Torres left Liverpool woefully short of striking talent. David Ngog was still a little wet round the ears and Dirk Kuyt was not quite as potent as required.
Regardless of Ngog's flying start in pre-season and the arrival of Milan Jovanovic, Roy Hodgson is in the market for a striker to ease the burden on them and Torres.
With several names flying around, it seems that the West Ham front man Carlton Cole is top of Liverpool's list of wanted strikers.
The 26 year old Hammer has been in fine form for several seasons, with an increasing number of goals along with a significant number of assists each season since joining West Ham from Chelsea in the summer of 2006.
Last season Cole began to show the promise that he displayed as a youngest at Chelsea under the then manager Claudio Ranieri, where the Italian said "I have never coached a young player like Carlton. He's fantastic...."
Cole scored six times in his first ten premier league starts last season. But his season was halted in November for three months with injury. He went on to score ten goals in 30 appearances.
In pre-season Cole has once again come out of the blocks well, scoring four goals in five matches.
His powerful and direct approach causes defenders problems and his off the ball play is also worthy of comment.
In his younger days he was never really given a chance at Chelsea and at West Ham has matured well. Given an opportunity to play in a bigger team with quality players around him, Cole may well excel and start knocking in the goals.
Cole represents another player that Hodgson could get more out of than his current and past managers can and could. The striker certainly has the talent and Liverpool and their manager could well provide the right motivation.
With limited resources at hand, Roy Hodgson has had, and will need to continue, to be shrewd in his forays into the transfer market. Mistakes and misjudgements could have dire consequences.
It does appear that the Liverpool manager is looking for good value in his acquisitions and seems to favour quality players that are looking to re-ignite a stuttering career.
In that way, Hodgson has been prudent to play to his strengthens, wherein he is looking to get more out a player than he has been giving in the past to his previous clubs.
With little cash to play with until a new owner comes in, the Liverpool manager still needs to strengthen these areas and in these players he seems to have the best and most economical solutions.