With the summer transfer window open, and plenty of business already done, Henry Jackson outlines four areas Liverpool must strengthen next.
It would be hard for even the most pessimistic Liverpool supporter to claim it hasn’t been a decent start to the summer in terms of transfer business.
Six new signings have already been brought in, with Roberto Firmino, James Milner and Nathaniel Clyne all definite regulars in 2015/16, and Danny Ings a clear upgrade on the likes of Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert.
Although Brendan Rodgers and FSG should be pleased with their efforts since that disastrous 6-1 defeat to Stoke City in May, there is still plenty of work to be done.
Certain positions still need reinforcements, with four currently standing out.
Alberto Moreno had a very up-and-down first season on Merseyside, and while the young Spaniard is certainly worth persevering with, a left-back to rival him for a starting berth needs to be signed.
Jose Enrique has become nothing more than a liability in recent times, and it is hugely likely the 29-year-old will move on this summer.
Paris Saint-Germain’s highly-rated star Lucas Digne has been linked with a move to Liverpool, and would be perfect in terms of what is needed.
With Clyne very much solving the right-back issue, the other flank is now a real priority for Rodgers. Moreno needs competition, especially if last season’s inconsistency is anything to go by.
Key target: Lucas Digne
Other options: Alex Sandro, Ludwig Augustinsson
The Reds have conceded goals at a fairly alarming rate since Rodgers became manager in 2012, and Jamie Carragher has never been replaced since his retirement in 2013.
Mamadou Sakho is the standout centre-back at the club, but even he is far from perfect at times. Martin Skrtel, meanwhile, can either be superb or a liability.
Dejan Lovren endured a horrific first year at Anfield, and unless he has an enormous turnaround in fortunes, it’s hard to see him ever becoming a success story.
Kolo Toure is past his best, and Tiago Ilori remains a work in progress who may even spend next season on loan.
A centre-back with leadership, consistency and ball-playing quality needs to come in, although it is admittedly hard to find a player of that ilk available at the moment. Toby Alderweireld of Atletico Madrid would be perfect.
Ilori could grow to become that player, but he cannot be relied on yet and still has plenty to prove.
Key target: Toby Alderweireld
In-house option? Tiago Ilori
The 28-year-old may be a fading force who cannot play too regularly, but he is the only genuine defensive midfielder at the club.
Rodgers seems worryingly unaware just how important that position is to the side, and if he doesn’t sort it, the Reds’ defensive issues will remain.
Asier Illarramendi has been linked with a move, which would be a terrific signing, but the Real Madrid man does still lack the physical presence of someone like Nemanja Matic—that is what Liverpool need.
In that respect, highly-rated Portuguese youngster William Carvalho would be a tremendous purchase, but acquiring his signature appears unlikely.
Key target: William Carvalho
Other options: Ignacio Camacho, Jordy Clasie, Asier Illarramendi
Perhaps the most talked-about area that needs strengthening this summer is up front, where Liverpool were so lifeless in 2014/15.
Daniel Sturridge‘s injury problems were a huge issue, and Borini, Lambert and Mario Balotelli scored just eight goals between them in all competitions.
With Sturridge still on the sidelines, and a long-term concern, it is imperative that the Reds bring in someone who can guarantee 20 goals a season or more.
Christian Benteke appears to be the hot favourite to come in and fill the void, but he would not be a popular signing in the eyes of many Liverpool supporters.
The Belgian is far from a bad player—we’ve witnessed him destroy Liverpool in the past—and has scored 49 goals in 99 games for Aston Villa, but there are question marks over whether he fits into Rodgers’ style of play.
Someone like Gonzalo Higuain would be a superb purchase—a proven world-class goalscorer—but the chances of signing him are incredibly slim, while German youngster Kevin Volland would also be excellent, as Jack Lusby outlined for Bleacher Report.
It’s hard to see beyond Benteke being Liverpool’s next striker though, and there will be huge amounts of pressure on him to deliver.
Key target: Gonzalo Higuain
Other options: Kevin Volland, Christian Benteke
Where do Liverpool most need to strengthen next this summer? Let us know in the comments below.