Liverpool Transfers: 10 Players Who Could Take the Pressure Off of Luis Suarez
Liverpool, backed by new owners, the Fenway Sports Group, spent more than £55 million this summer recruiting the players necessary to get themselves back in the Champions League after poor sixth and seventh place finishes in the English Premier League 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, respectively.
With Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing, Craig Bellamy, Jose Enrique and Sebastien Coates all signed this summer, it was hoped manager Kenny Dalglish would be amply equipped with the tools to lead Liverpool to success.
However, things have not panned out as well as Liverpool fans had hoped.
Though Liverpool currently sit in sixth place in the EPL with only two losses, they have not looked like a dominant force in any of their games, and have had to rely on the brilliance of Luis Suarez to win almost all their games.
Henderson, Adam and Downing—the three most expensive Liverpool signings of the summer—have shown inconsistent form, and Henderson especially has lived up to neither the hype nor price tag he commanded this summer.
Andy Carroll, who also previously joined Liverpool with a massive transfer fee from Newcastle (breaking the British transfer record), has also struggled with form this season, while Steven Gerrard has seen limited play due to injury problems.
As such, Liverpool are in need of another creative influence on the field; a skilled player who can make things happen and move some of the club's dependence for creative play away from Luis Suarez.
Here are 10 such players who can take up this role.
I recently wrote about Lucas Moura in my article on the top 50 U-21 players in the world today.
In that article, I ranked Lucas as 17th best U-21 player in the world, but in truth, that ranking may do a disservice to how good the guy actually is.
The 19-year-old attacking midfielder is already a regular for club (Sao Paolo) and country (Brazil), and possesses incredible upside considering how much he's achieved at such a young age.
He often is not recognized as much as he should be because of all the hype surrouding Ganso and Neymar of Santos, but Lucas Moura would be a quality signing for Liverpool who would take a great deal of pressure off Luis Suarez.
His ability to attack defenses and regularly create goals and assists (as shown here) would be of huge value to Liverpool.
Lucas Moura has already admitted that he "dreams" of moving to Europe, so if Liverpool do show serious interest in acquiring him, there is reason to believe that a move could very possibly materialize.
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Oh look, another player who I included on my list of top 50 U-21 players in the world.
As I said in my slide regarding Boudebouz, I personally would be delighted to see Boudebouz move to Liverpool due to the fact that he is an Arab, like me.
But aside from that interesting little tidbit, Ryad Boudebouz is really a fantastic player who has developed excellently at Sochaux.
Some might say that Marvin Martin would be the more desirable player for Liverpool to persue, but Boudebouz's greater attacking tendencies make much more likely to directly take pressure off Suarez in Liverpool's offense.
Multiple sources are reporting Liverpool have made their interest in Boudebouz known to Sochaux, with director of football Damien Comolli himself flying to France to watch Boudebouz and for discussion with Sochaux's president.
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Okay, I'm starting to think that Liverpool are basing their transfer strategy off my U-21 article. Philippe Coutinho is another player off my list, coming in at 46th.
According to Crunchsports.com, Inter Milan manager Claudio Ranieri may look to cut Coutinho loose in January if he does not sufficiently impress him soon, as Inter Milan are in need of players who can get them out of their current run of bad form.
The article postulates that since Liverpool showed serious interest in the Brazilian playmaker earlier this year, they may decide to follow up on that if he is indeed put on the trading block or made available by Ranieri in January.
Coutinho would not be as poised to deliver immediate results as most of the other guys on this list, but he definitely possesses a great deal of potential that could be further unlocked at Liverpool.
It would be a risky move that doesn't look likely to happen, but, as we know very well in football, anything is possible.
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I know, I know, part of you was hoping you'd go through this whole slideshow without having to come across Carlos Tevez's name.
But before you dismiss this rumor, give it a closer look. There are multiple sources claiming that it may indeed be possible for Tevez to move to Liverpool on a short-term loan deal, and his latest stunt virtually eliminates any chance of reconciliation between him and Roberto Mancini.
Furthermore, with Carlos Tevez's value rapidly depreciating with each passing week of indiscipline and inactivity, Manchester City may decide a loan may be the best way to get the Argentinian's value back up (similar to their current approach with Emmanuel Adebayor).
Lastly, the Emmanuel Adebayor deal with Tottenham, and Craig Bellamy deal with Liverpool, indicates that Manchester City would indeed be willing to offload the striker to an EPL club—so that barrier is gone as well.
My personal opinion is that Carlos Tevez would give Liverpool a massive boost in quality and definitely take a significant amount of pressure off Luis Suarez.
But does Tevez himself favor a move to another club in England—and are there suitors in South America who'd still be willing to still pay a healthy transfer fee for him in January? The likelihood of Tevez moving to Liverpool will be significantly influenced by the answers to these two questions.
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Gaston Ramirez may be one of the guys who I unfortunately overlooked in my list.
The Uruguayan has amassed seven international caps for Uruguay already at the young age of 20, and scored an impressive seven goals for Bologna is his first season with the club.
His performances have greatly impressed Liverpool, who've been linked with a move by various sources.
However, a move for the Uruguayan playmaker is becoming less and less likely; his agent has ruled out a move until next summer, and with each passing month it seems more and more teams are making their interest known in his services.
He'd be a great addition to Liverpool's squad, and provide a great deal of creativity, but it remains to be seen if Liverpool will still be interested in June and if they will be able to fight off interest from the likes of fellow Serie A clubs Juventus and Fiorentina.
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The highly rated Danish attacking midfielder is wanted by nearly every major club in the world, and Liverpool is no exception.
I ranked Eriksen one place ahead of Lucas, at 16th, though I believe an argument can be made that both players deserve inclusion in the top 10.
It is possible that Eriksen will be more inclined to move to a club like Liverpool, where a player like him will be highly valued and quickly integrated into the starting lineup.
However, he may also decide against a move since he and Steven Gerrard play roughly the same position, and thus could potentially spend extended time on the bench if Kenny Dalglish does not favor him in a new position.
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It is practically an obligation that Lille's Eden Hazard be included on every Liverpool transfer rumors article.
There are numerous reports constantly linking him with Liverpool, and who can deny the young Belgian starlet would be an amazing addition to Liverpool's starting lineup?
Certainly he'd be a huge jump in quality over Liverpool's current selection of wingers, and would be an excellent complimentary player to Luis Suarez.
But do I see a move happening? Not a chance. Eden Hazard has come out and made his preference for Inter Milan over all other clubs in the world known.
Even if he does not move there, there are numerous clubs who have been linked with Hazard that will likely be much more attractive destinations and will be able to splash. Real Madrid, Chelsea or even Arsenal are all much more likely to land the Belgian winger, for various reasons.
Under contract until 2015, Lille general manager Frederic Paquett recently rejected suggestions the Reds would have first option on Hazard after loaning Joe Cole to the French champions.
Luuk De Jong
The next candidate on this list is FC Twente's 21-year-old striker Luuk de Jong.
Luuk de Jong came in at 31st on my list, which I believe is a fair assessment. He's not quite a world-class talent the way Hazard, Eriksen and Lucas are, but he's an impressive striker with a solid scoring rate and great deal of upside.
De Jong could very likely be the target man Andy Carroll has never been able to become for Liverpool, and would decrease Liverpool's dependence on the Englishman greatly.
Currently, rumors are linking de Jong with a move to Newcastle United or Blackburn, but if Liverpool follow up on their initial interest, chances are high the Dutch striker could move to Anfield and quickly be integrated into the squad.
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The final U-21 player on this list that would be an excellent addition to Liverpool's starting lineup and, again, serve to take pressure off Luis Suarez is Xherdan Shaqiri.
What is slightly puzzling about Shaqiri however is that it is being reported he is close to signing for Bundesliga's Hamburger SV for a measly fee of £7 million instead of Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, AC Milan and Juventus.
Should this rumor prove to be false, as I expect it will, Liverpool ought to seriously considering signing up the Swiss winger as soon as possible.
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We conclude this slideshow with the most ridiculous transfer rumor of them all—David Villa leaving Barcelona for Liverpool.
Kopsource, one of the many websites to report this rumor, rightly gave the likelihood of the transfer happening a rating of 30 percent. I'm tempted to drop that to 20 percent, just to emphasize how ridiculous this rumor is.
And honestly, I may have been willing to entertain a rumor like this in '08 or '09, when Liverpool still had Fernando Torres, were competing for the title, and Villa was still with Valencia.
But why would David Villa want to leave for Liverpool now, when Torres is no longer there, Liverpool are far from competing for the title, and he's playing regularly for Barcelona, currently the greatest team in the world?
Maybe I should drop the likelihood of this rumor to .1 percent, i.e. when pigs fly.
If I had to pick someone off this list to end up with Liverpool sometime soon, I'd think Boudebouz is probably the most likely, with De Jong and Lucas being outside bets.
Who do you all think will end up arriving at Liverpool to help out Suarez, if anyone? Is there anyone not on this list who you'd like to see arrive? And be reasonable here; we'd all love to see Messi arrive at our respective teams but that's not going to happen.
Make your opinion known below.