Outspoken former Liverpool striker John Aldridge has assessed the club’s striking options ahead of the 2015/16, and expects more in than Danny Ings this summer.
Misfiring trio Rickie Lambert, Fabio Borini and Mario Balotelli all look set to be sold, leaving one position yet to be filled in Brendan Rodgers’ strike-force.
Christian Benteke has been linked with a move to Merseyside this summer, but Aldridge says the Reds need a “20-goal-a-season” striker to ensure progress in the Premier League.
“Liverpool have bought some good players in recent weeks, he told Kicca.
“But they will still struggle to finish in the top 4 because they haven’t bagged a proven goalscorer.
“I’m very happy with Nathaniel Clyne as we needed someone in that position, the Brazilian Firmino should slot right in and Milner is a good signing following the departure of Steve Gerrard.
“But they have not signed the 20 goal-a-season player they really needed.
“Unfortunately Sturridge will not deliver that many goals and Ings will struggle to get the chances in his first season.
“They haven’t replaced [Luis] Suarez and that’s what they had to do.
“You need someone who will score 20+ goals season in, season out and they still haven’t got that player.
“And without that striker they will not break into the top four – where the fans expect them to be.”
Perhaps rightly, Aldridge doesn’t predict Ings to be that 20-goal-a-season striker, with the England U21s forward having just one season of top-flight experience prior to his move.
“Ings needs to hit the ground running at Anfield,” he continued.
“I see him as a squad player so when he is given a chance to play he needs to make sure he makes the most of it.
“However if he does score and start scoring regularly then he will have a great opportunity to shine at Liverpool.
“The club has had some brilliant goalscorers over the years like [Ian] Rush and [Robbie] Fowler and he would obviously love to join that group.
“But he needs to be scoring a goal every other game to make his name.”
With no Liverpool striker coming close to scoring one goal every two games last season, supporters will likely be happy if Ings manages to notch 10 in his maiden campaign.
Aldridge may be ramping up the pressure on the Reds’ young stars, but Ings should go into the season with low expectations.
He has the talent, but an adjustment period is inevitable following a relegation-battling season at the Turf Moor Stadium.