Kenny's Reds Are Almost Ready- but Defence Still Needs Strengthening
The first arrival of the summer was highly rated young England international Jordan Henderson. Bringing energy and determination combined with clear ability, Henderson can play either in the centre of midfield, where he is expected to serve as a long term replacement for club captain Steven Gerrard, or on the right of midfield, providing an alternative to the ever-industrious Dirk Kuyt.
Next came Charlie Adam, the Scottish midfielder known for his passing accuracy as well as excellent set pieces. He took the Premiership by storm in his first season, even earning a nomination for the PFA Player of the Year award as well as a move to the Reds. Adam can sit alongside Lucas Leiva against stronger teams, or perhaps provide an alternative to the Brazilian in games at home to lesser teams.
Experienced goalkeeper Doni has joined from Roma to provide a backup role to Pepe Reina. The Brazilian is unlikely to start many games, especially if Reina is available, but is a solid second choice keeper.
The club's most recent signing was winger Stewart Downing, a player known for the accuracy of his crosses which are expected to provide chances for powerful forward Andy Carroll. Liverpool fans have been crying out for a quality winger for years, and with the arrival of Downing, they may finally get their wish.
Despite all of this investment, a couple of players are still needed if the Reds are to return to the Champions League. A new left back is a clear priority, and Jose Enrique seems to be on the verge of a move to Anfield, solving this problem.
If Enrique signs, all that is needed to complete the squad is a new centre-back. Jamie Carragher is now 33, Daniel Agger is injury prone, Martin Skrtel is somewhat inconsistent, and Soti Kyrgiakos simply isn't good enough for a side challenging at the top of the table. The names which seem to be cropping up most often are Scott Dann and Gary Cahill—either would be a good addition, but Cahill, as more of a footballing centre half, could be ideal for the style of play that Dalglish is trying to implement.
There is also, of course, the issue of those who are leaving Anfield this summer. Paul Koncheskey and Milan Jovanovic have already gone, but a number of other players who aren't needed remain—the likes of Philip Degen, Nabil El Zahr, Christian Poulsen, Kyrgiakos and Joe Cole must be shifted if the club is to progress.
There have been question marks all summer over the future of Alberto Aquilani. Whether the Italian should remain at the club depends largely on what formation Dalglish intends to generally employ. In a 4-4-2, there is likely to be little chance of him getting a game, but if Dalglish wants to use 4-3-3 often, Aquilani should be kept, especially with question marks hanging over Steven Gerrard's fitness. However, if it comes down to a choice between keeping Aquilani and Raul Meireles, Meireles should be retained, given that he has already proven himself at Liverpool and shown a desire to play for the club.
The final question facing Dalglish is that of his strongest XI. Of Course, different teams will be used depending on the opposition, but there is still surely a strongest team—the one that would be selected for the cup final, if you like. This is selected on the assumption that all players are fit and available. It is selected only from the current players, presuming Enrique signs.
My Team (Right to left)—(4-3-3) Reina, Johnson, Agger, Carragher, Enrique, Adam, Lucas, Gerrard, Suarez, Carroll, Downing
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