We put five key questions after Liverpool’s start to the 2015/16 season to the This Is Anfield writers. Here, the focus on where the squad needs strengthening, if at all.
If you could sign a player for one position in this final fortnight of the transfer window, which position would it be?
KARL MATCHETT: Centre-back. No, goalkeeper. No, definitely centre-back. Hang on, did we really keep two clean sheets so far…?
HENRY JACKSON: Defensive midfield, especially if Lucas leaves. Rodgers seems worryingly flippant about the role, but if he doesn’t bring someone in and plays Can there, it will be troublesome at times. Illarramendi might not be an out-an-out defensive midfielder, but he’d be a very good signing.
DAN HOLLAND: I’m still not convinced with Skrtel I’m afraid and I don’t think Toure is a good enough back up. Skrtel just cannot leave the opposition alone from dead balls and it will cost us dear at some point. A right sided centre half would be very well received.
MAX MUNTON: Right-back — whilst Clyne is doing an excellent job, we may need more adequate cover for him at some stage.
JOSH SEXTON: I’m happy with the squad the way it is, once we have shifted the obvious deadweight. However, I’d probably say a holding midfielder would be my preference, especially if Lucas Leiva does end up leaving. My suggestions would probably be Grzegorz Krychowiak or William Carvalho. Although I believe Emre Can could do a job in that position.
ANDREW RONAN: Circumstances dictate that it must be a holding midfielder. Whatever has happened with Rodgers and Lucas, it looks like the Brazilian’s days at Anfield could be numbered – leaving us a bit short of a reliable holding midfielder. Against Bournemouth, we got away with not playing an out-an-out holding midfielder – as we probably will do for most of our home games, bar the likes of Chelsea and Man City.
Away days are a different matter; we’ll need someone who can sit in front of the back four when we are under intense pressure – and stay there when we are on the attack. I feel that Henderson, Milner and Can all have a natural tendency to wander forward as soon as we have the ball in the oppositions half. That can leave the back four exposed when a move breaks down and we are caught on the counter-attack. I’m not forgetting Joe Allen for that role, but I feel he isn’t physical enough to play there.
We need someone a bit bigger and more inclined to get stuck in, but who? A top-class holding player may be out of our reach, but Alex Song could be picked up for less than six or seven million. He’s currently in limbo as he’s surplus to requirements at Barcelona, and West Ham are dragging their heels over whether to sign him permanently. Song was one of the main reasons behind West Ham’s impressive run in the first half of last season, and he would bring experience having played at Arsenal and Barca. He’s only 27, and if we could bring him in for a small amount of money it could be an astute signing.
NEIL POOLE: Haha! Defensive midfielder. It’s not going to happen though.
AARON CUTLER: Should Lucas depart a Defensive Midfielder. Emre Can is a big talent but doubts remain over his positional discipline. The German has a tendency to venture upfield and turns like the QE2. Those are not the traits of a holding player, as we saw on Monday evening. Given Rodgers has never signed an obvious DM we will be better served retaining Lucas. I fear for us if left short in that area.
BEN TWELVES: If we make another signing, it needs to be natural defensive midfielder. We have options to play the role, but none of which you ideally want there.
PJ VAUGHAN: I think it has been painfully obvious that we need a top quality defensive midfielder. However Brendan Rodgers is unlikely to sign one, so I would take any world class centre midfielder that is comfortable in possession and able to tackle.
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