By James Kostecki
A new January transfer window is upon us. Unlike recent years, where Reds fans have had to wonder which subpar player would be lured to a team screaming for improvement, the January transfer window brings hope and promise. John Henry and company have already shown over the past year they are willing to fork over serious cash for players Damien Comolli deems necessary. Last January’s purchases of Suarez and Carroll, combined with the successful additions of Charlie Adam, Luis Enrique and Craig Bellamy, Liverpool must view the current transfer window as an opportunity to improve.
There have been many positives during the first half of the season – most notably, Liverpool is undefeated against the big five. However, there have been just as many vomit-inducing negatives. Six home draws, losing Lucas for the season, and the eight-game ban on Suarez — which I refuse to address until I fully digest all that has transpired since that unfortunate day against Manchester United — are only a few. Yet, this is why football is truly the beautiful game. The month of January gives teams a valuable opportunity to buy and sell players that can make or break a season.
Here is a wish list for Liverpool to consider:
Central Defensive Midfielder
It is remarkable to think of how far Lucas has developed as a player with Liverpool. While it has taken a few years for the Brazilian to win over the fans holding pitchforks and torches since the first day he put on the red shirt, Lucas has become an integral part of this team. Always reliable, he quietly commands the midfield with his unwavering defensive abilities. After suffering ligament damage on November 29th, Liverpool has struggled without Lucas – and the Brazilian’s replacement Jay Spearing quickly reminded Liverpool fans that he is still very young, getting himself sent off in his first start against Fulham in December. Additionally, Charlie Adam often looks disoriented and out of position without the defensive dependability of Lucas. It is essential for Comolli to find a suitable central defensive midfielder to provide Liverpool with the midfield structure needed to push into the top four.
Goals have been few and far between for Liverpool this season. Poor offensive performances have caused a very talented team to drop points against far inferior opponents. Assuming the ban on Suarez is not reduced, that leaves Liverpool with only Craig Bellamy, Andy Carroll, and the makeshift Dirk Kuyt as viable striking options. To Bellamy’s credit, his form of late has been exceptional. But if Liverpool is to push for Champions League qualification and League Cup and F.A. Cup honors, the pressure needs to be taken off the aging Welshman and the inexperienced Carroll. Expect John Henry and company to be aggressive this January in pursuit of another goal-scorer. Manchester City has demonstrated this season that money is the winning formula. Liverpool would be wise to replicate this formula as best they can – or at least as much as their checkbook will allow.
With the absence of Gerrard, the Liverpool midfield has often lacked the creativity necessary to produce much-needed goals. This was glaringly obvious during last week’s game against Newcastle with Gerrard making an immediate impact after being subbed on in the 60th minute. Every cross that the Liverpool captain provided was threatening. He even provided his own bit of offense and scored Liverpool’s third goal to seal the win. However, captain fantastic is aging quickly and cannot (and should not) be expected to produce 110% week-in and week-out. Ideally, Comolli will be searching for a young talent that has time to develop under Dalglish, yet still carry the ability to dictate the midfield and provide support up front.
If Liverpool expects to qualify for the Champions League and finish in the top four, purchases must be made in January. The void Lucas left must be sufficiently filled, and additional goal-scorers need to be brought in to boost our lackluster offense. There shouldn’t be any doubt that Fenway Sports Group is willing to invest, and the names that are being whispered among transfer window-insiders are mouth-watering.
Who would you like FSG to buy this January? Comment below.