As we enter the January transfer window, Liverpool are understandably being linked with many players from around Europe as Brendan Rodgers seeks to strengthen his thin squad.
The two players who seem certain to arrive at Anfield are Daniel Sturridge and Thomas Ince. Both are young (23 and 20 respectively), English and have potential to prove their talents in the top-flight.
Then there are the more proven names – Huntelaar, Llorente, Ba, Villa – who are ‘linked’ with Liverpool in the media – but who seem much less likely to actually be pulling on the Liverbird any time soon.
The reason for this is FSG’s transfer strategy, were their preference is to sign young, and homegrown, players with potential to flourish at their new club and hold a re-sale value. This was the idea with Jordan Henderson and Andy Carroll – unfortunately Damien Comolli failed to grasp the concept completely and paid exorbitant fees, for which Liverpool are still suffering now.
But the problem facing Liverpool is the lack of players who are proven at the top flight. The squad is full of potential – much like the manager himself.
Looking through the squad, there is a lack of players you would describe as being ‘in their prime’.
Suarez and Lucas are nearing their prime. Johnson, Skrtel and Agger are probably three who are in their prime years. Gerrard is now past his prime, as is Reina (note; that doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable members of the squad still).
Then there are the majority of the squad who are talented players who are expected to prove their potential as they mature; Sterling, Suso, Allen, Wisdom, Henderson, Shelvey, Borini, Kelly, Coates, Robinson…
The squad simply does not have players who have won trophies and are experienced – players who can help the youthful players around them. That is where we need to strengthen.
Whether FSG will back the manager to sign a more experienced player or two remains the key question facing Liverpool.
It is the same throughout the football club – Rodgers has not managed a top team before and only has 18 months’ experience in the Premier League. Managing director Ian Ayre lacks experience in his role. While the chairman, Thomas Werner, is again inexperienced in English football – that is if he is actually active in the role.
The decision to backtrack on appointing a sporting director also emphasises the lack of leadership and experience at the club.
Building for the future is very admirable and pleasing, the potential is clear for Liverpool FC – but there is a worry that by the time the potential flourishes we could be too far away from where we want to be.
Liverpool’s long-term vision requires some short-term planning too.