Liverpool FC: Five Areas That Should Be Sorted Before the Window Shuts
Hearing the tannoy announce "Tesco is now closing" as you speed around the aisles like a contestant on Supermarket Sweep. Chasing the bus for 200 yards before you've amused the driver enough and he decides you have sweated sufficiently before pulling over and letting you on. Buying all of your presents on Christmas eve.
We've all left things to the last minute and regretted doing it.
However, we are not running a football club, and waiting until three days remain in the transfer window before bringing in much needed squad depth is not good business, in anyone's books.
But that's the typical behaviour supporters have come to expect from the current Liverpool board over the last few years.
Our season started nearly a month ago and there is still some areas of the squad, as well as the first team, that seriously need addressing before the window slams firmly shut.
So as Christian Purslow offloads quality first team players and promising youngsters in order to cut expenses and bring in cash to pay off interest payments, Roy Hodgson is left to take the flak for want-away midfielders who should have been sold in June, and limited (and restricted) transfer funds to bring in quality players similar to the ones leaving Anfield so late in the window.
Here are five key areas that require attention, not only if Liverpool are seriuosly considering getting back in to the top four this season, but also if the club ensure continuity over the next couple of years as ageing stars move on and youth is needed to be brought back in to the ranks.
5. Right Wing
Some say he runs from his house to the stadium instead of driving his car. Some say he has been training for the London, New York, and Paris marathons in between training sessions at Melwood. And he even plans to run all three races simultaneously.
Some say he took a relaxing holiday after the World Cup final by running up and down volcanoes. Carrying tourists on his back.
All we know for certain is Dirk Kuyt is committed to this football club.
Yes his touch can go from the sublime to the sub-par. Yes his passing can either split a defence or go straight in to the front-row of the Kop . But every successful team needs a Dirk Kuyt.
A great man once said a football team is like carrying a piano. You need eight to carry it and three who can play the damn thing. Well Dirk Kuyt can carry it all on his own and play Mozart in e-sharp. While signing autographs.
But even the Duracell bunny had to retire at some point and at the age of 30, that time could be fast approaching for our Dutch attacker.
Thankfully now committed to Liverpool for a couple more years at least, Kuyt gives us a bit of time in regards to the right-midfield position.
Coupled with the similar ethos of Maxi Rodriguez, and the clear potential of Joe Cole in that role from his days at Stamford Bridge, it's not an area that will need immediate attention this year.
However, age is not on the side of all three players, with Kuyt and Maxi very similar in ability, that leaves only Joe Cole, who looks to be playing in the middle behind Torres, as the creative outlet from wide right. Unless of course Ryan Babel is giving the opportunity on that side of the field.
There are some very promising attacking talents coming through the reserves, but there is still a considerable amount of time before any of their potential is reached, and consistently
maintained to ensure the club are fighting for top honours.
Perhaps not this season, but next year we will definitely need this part of the first XI needing serious investment, with both youth and a different set of attacking attributes from Dirk Kuyt being required.
Immediate Need: 2/5
4. Right Back
A shrewd purchase that gave Liverpool much needed width and attacking flair down the right-hand side last season, Glen Johnson has settled in to his attacking role very well and will certainly chip in with more than his fair share of goals and assists.
Still adjusting to his defensive duties and his new team mates, despite having to now readjust to a new manager's ideas again this year, his second season on Anfield should see a much more consistent display at the back.
With the majority of big club's needing two quality players in positions of high intensity, Liverpool are perhaps a little limited in this department compared to their rivals for the top honours.
As proven over the last few campaigns, Jamie Carragher is ample cover if the need arises, but the Bootle-born defender turns 33 in January and has said himself he no longer has the legs to perform his attacking requirements from the full-back role.
It would also be detrimental to the strength of the club's spine through the middle if he is moved away from his now comfortable position leading the line in front of Pepe Reina.
Roy Hodgson, and his predecessor, have however been playing 20 year-old Martin Kelly with much success. The Merseyside born Kelly is as versatile as Jamie Carragher, able to play in either full back position as well as being comfortable at centre-back.
Highlighted by former manager Benitez as a future star for the club, Martin Kelly has quickly become a firm favourite on The Kop and certainly looks likely to go on and become a regular feature in the side for many years to come.
But his young age and inexperience at the top level, as well as a two year back injury which hampered his development slightly, could possibly suggest it's a year too early for top level consistent performances from the England International.
Immediate Need: 3/5
3. Left Back
One of the problem areas that former manager Rafa Benitez struggled to fill successfully was the left back position. Failed £7million signing Andrea Dossena and an injury-prone free transfer Fabio Aurelio led to a sustained run in the side for the £1million Emiliano Insua, which looked more than likely the position would be secure for the future.
Going into February of last season, the 21-year-old Insua was one of the most productive left-backs going forward, as he led the assists table for Premier League full-backs.
However, due to his inexperience at handling the immense pressures of constant first team football, the Argentine International became tired and his defensive immaturity was always evident. Which is to be expected at his young age.
Unfortunately it looks like cost-cutting from Christian Purslow, and the new home-grown quota being introduced this season, means Insua will no doubt fulfill his potential with another club.
Despite praise from Roy Hodgson at the start of his tenure, the player has requested a move away from Anfield. But an odds-on transfer to Genoa for a reported £5million this Summer looks to have fallen through and Inusa remains on Merseyside without a squad number and possibly without a future at the club.
The only experienced left-back currently on the books is now Fabio Aurelio.
Unable to negotiate a long term contract under Benitez, he was let go in May by the club, but after impressing the new medical team at Melwood and agreeing a new two-year contract in July, the first Brazilian to play for Liverpool brings his dangerous left foot back to Anfield.
Something Edwin Van-de-Sar and Peter Cech are not looking forward to.
Martin Kelly has been utilised at left-back in a couple of games so far this season, and his run in the team will no doubt add much needed experience to his game, regardless of being played out of position.
But an injury to Glen Johnson will see Liverpool's back line seriously weakened if Jamie Carragher has to move out of his centre-back role.
Aurelio turns 31 in September and with his career injury record and no other recognised experienced left-back at the club, this is an area that will need immediate attention from those in charge.
Immediate Need: 4/5
Arguably the best signing Rafa Benitez achieved at Liverpool, what many considered to be an expensive gamble on a striker who scored very little from open play; three years on and Fernando Torres looks to be an absolute bargain.
The only downside to the Spaniard's game is an apparent trouble with minor recurring injuries, mostly picked up on International duty.
Hopefully now that one of the world's best medical teams, installed By Benitez before he left for Inter Milan, this will put an end to the constant niggling injuries that kept Torres out for so long over the last couple of years.
Roy Hodgson now finds himself with a profit from player departures, an urgent need to add another experienced quality striker, and just three days remaining in the Summer transfer window.
The board failed last year when they didn't extend Mascherano's contract as they knew the Argentine would be departing, and they failed by not putting a time-frame on any incoming offers for his services.
Not to mention the manor in which any deals to bring in quality forward players has now been left to the very last minute, which has once again left Liverpool short in quality back-up to Fernando Torres, and time for the new player to bed-in to the first team, giving Liverpool the best possible start to this season. Which is considered by many to be a crucial one for Liverpool FC.
Immediate Need: 5/5
1. The Liverpool Board
No debate. No question. No argument.
If there is one transfer that should have happened this Summer, it's the much welcomed departure of Tom Hicks, George Gillette, Christian Purslow, and Martin Broughton.
There is a cancer that has been eating away at this club for three years.
The sooner these parasites leave Anfield for good, the sooner this once proud institution can start rebuilding it's legacy.
Immediate Need: Needed years ago.