It has been an extremely productive transfer window for Liverpool, and two more signings in much-needed areas of the pitch would make it the perfect summer, writes Henry Jackson.
Much of the end-of-season talk in May and June was about ensuring Liverpool did not repeat their 2002 and 2009 errors in the summer transfer window.
Both the 2001/02 and 2008/09 campaigns saw the Reds finish second in the Premier League, but their business the following summer on both occasions was, quite frankly, disastrous. Twice they had the chance to push on and become even stronger, but they failed.
The names El Hadji Diouf, Salif Diao and Alberto Aquilani are enough to make even the toughest Liverpool fanatic weep.
There was a slight apprehension that the same thing could happen this time around, but Brendan Rodgers has passed with flying colours where his predecessors, Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez, failed.
Although the Reds’ defensive performance against Manchester City left a lot to be desired, it would be very knee-jerk to judge the likes of Dejan Lovren and Alberto Moreno on one game. They, along with Javier Manquillo, will almost certainly help eradicate last season’s woes at the back, and are still adjusting to life on Merseyside.
There is certainly an argument to say that all three should be in Brendan Rodgers’ first-choice starting XI, if that is even a thing these days, what with squad rotation and alike. Moreno is a clear upgrade on both Jon Flanagan and Jose Enrique, while Lovren has a leadership and dominance lacking at centre-back since the retirement of Jamie Carragher.
Manquillo, meanwhile, impressed on his debut against Southampton, and was not dissimilar in style to the reliable Alvaro Arbeloa during his Liverpool days. Glen Johnson is simply not good enough to justify being a regular anymore.
With Lucas Leiva seemingly surplus to requirements under Rodgers and age catching up with Steven Gerrard, midfield reinforcements were paramount this summer.
The signings of Emre Can and Adam Lallana will add undoubted depth and quality to the Reds’ midfield, and with constant Premier League and Champions League football until at least Christmas, it is an area of the pitch they need to keep fresh.
Can will add dynamism and defensive quality in central areas, and although he looks older, at just 20 there is a huge amount of potential there. The German has an imposing nature about him not unlike Chelsea‘s Nemanja Matic, and the fact that he can also fill in at left-back is an added bonus.
Lallana moved for big money from Southampton, having been deservedly nominated for the prestigious PFA Player of the Year award last season. Some detractors may balk at the price the club paid for the 26-year-old, but he is hugely talented and versatile. His style of play matches Rodgers’ philosophy down to the ground too.
Added Attacking Quality
Lazar Markovic is a potentially sensational signing by the club. The 20-year-old is one of the most exciting young players in Europe, and will flourish under Rodgers. There seems to be a great self-confidence about him, and his cameo against City was very promising.
He will add pace in wide attacking areas that was, perhaps, lacking barring Raheem Sterling in 2013/14, and like his 19-year-old teammate, he can also be just as effective playing centrally behind the striker.
Rickie Lambert has fulfilled every Liverpool fans dream, joining his boyhood club in a move that surprised many this summer. It is a clever signing, however, as not only is it guaranteed that Lambert will give his all in every game he plays, but his aerial presence and hold-up play offers something completely different to the rest of the forwards in the squad.
The 32-year-old will be far from a regular, injuries permitting, but he will prove his worth over the course of the season, chipping in with goals at key times.
Divock Origi was signed from Lille, but has returned to the Ligue 1 side on loan this season. He is very much seen as an exciting long-term investment.
The Final Pieces Of The Jigsaw
There are probably just two areas of the pitch that still need to be added to in order to make it the perfect transfer window for Liverpool.
A backup goalkeeper who will put pressure on Simon Mignolet to be first-choice is much-needed, with the Belgian perhaps almost too comfortable at the moment. Brad Jones is not good enough to be second-choice for a Champions League team.
Argentina number one Sergio Romero is certainly one who fits the bill, and he has been linked with a move to Liverpool from Monaco a number of times. Other contenders include Cardiff’s David Marshall and Karl Darlow of Nottingham Forest, as Jack Lusby mentioned back in May.
Another defensive midfielder would be the final piece in Rodgers’ transfer puzzle, with Lucas’ rumoured move to Napoli set to leave a hole in the squad in that area.
Someone like Alex Song of Barcelona would be a good replacement for the 27-year Brazilian, with the Echo linking him with a move to Anfield on Thursday. The former Arsenal man is far from a world-beater, but he would be a reliable option when called upon.
If a goalkeeper and defence-minded midfielder can be bought in between now and ‘Deadline Day’ on Monday, the likes of Rodgers and Ian Ayre will be deserving of a huge pat on the back for their efforts over the last few months.
Those 2002 and 2009 disasters have fortunately not come close to being repeated again.
Where do you think Liverpool still need to strengthen? Who has been the Reds’ best signing of the summer? Let us know in the comments section below.