While Liverpool fans' attention will have been on their side's dramatic 3-2 victory over Queens Park Rangers on Sunday afternoon, the day's newspapers were also full of news on the Reds' January transfer plans.
Liverpool have endured a mixed start to the 2014-15 Premier League season following a busy summer in the transfer market, and it is therefore little surprise to see more changes hinted at in the months ahead. For the time being, all is not as it was last campaign.
However, worryingly for the club's supporters, reports also link star youngster Raheem Sterling with a potential move to Real Madrid next year. Following the departure of Luis Suarez this summer, it would be a loss the club cannot afford.
Per ESPN FC reports, though, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has distanced the club from interest in the young winger. The Italian is quoted as saying:
It is clear Sterling is not in our plans. Sterling is a player of great quality, certainly one of the best in Europe. But we already have extraordinary talent here.
Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo are still young—and we have a talent here called Jese who is even younger.
That a club of Real's magnitude should be linked with the 19-year-old is little surprise, with Sterling already having registered three goals and two assists this season per WhoScored.com. Indeed, he is well on course to better last season's tally of nine goals and five assists.
For his age, there are few if any better in the European game, and while Ancelotti may cite Jese, the Spanish youngster's development has been slowed by a lack of opportunities at first-team level, although he is currently injured.
While he is a fantastic talent, he has started on just six occasions at the age of 21. It is a real concern at a club not renowned for giving youth a chance in recent years.
Whatever Ancelotti may protest about his alternatives, Real have also never been shy when it comes to adding extra stars to their ranks irrespective of the cost. If the interest is genuine, Liverpool must resist in the case of Sterling—he is a player capable of being the base building block for a new era at Anfield.
His figures from Sunday's game against former club QPR, as shown in this tweet, demonstrate just how integral the player has become to his side's play:
Brendan Rodgers' side has learned the hard way this summer that it is difficult to replace departing stars, and the same situation must be avoided at all costs, especially with a player who represents the future for both the club and the England national team.
The same cannot be said of Glen Johnson, who the Mirror's Simon Mullock reports will reject a new reduced contract at Anfield in order to continue his career in Europe. His decision, though, will be less of a concern.
Having added talented young Spaniard Javi Manquillo to their squad, the importance of Glen Johnson to the side has already diminished considerably before even considering last season's breakthrough star John Flanagan.
Johnson's performance levels have failed to reach the levels he showed when he first arrived in the North West, with his £120,000-a-week wages unjustified in the Reds' current salary structure. If he is unwilling to take a cut, Rodgers and Co. should show little hesitation in letting him continue his career elsewhere.
One player who may arrive at Anfield, however, is former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes, with the Daily Star's Jack Wilson citing reports that the players agent is due to arrive in the city for talks with the club.
This Is Anfield reported via Twitter that his representative will arrive next week:
Given the inconsistency of current goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, a change between the sticks would be welcomed by most Reds supporters, and Valdes certainly possesses a CV that few in the game can match.
The status of his return from injury will be a concern, however, while the Spaniard has also at times faced similar criticisms to those that Mignolet is currently being confronted with. However, his experience and ability on the ball will be a major positive for Rodgers' side as it seeks to consolidate the improvements it has made as a unit over the past couple of seasons.