By Chris Rowland.
The Symposium is packing its bucket and spade for a well-earned break from chin-stroking pondering by the seaside. But before it sets off for the roadworks on the motorway, it kindly left us this last one: what further signings do we still need to make this summer?
Paul Grech: Raise their hands those who had heard of Henrik Mhkitaryan two months ago. How many honestly said: this is the player that Liverpool need to buy before rumours of Liverpool’s interest had started to circulate? A handful, at most.
Yet, no sooner had he chosen to move to Borussia Dortmund than it was treated as a massive disaster; that Liverpool had lost out on the only player that could help them bridge the gap from seventh to fourth.
By Rodgers’ own admission, Mhkitaryan was one of his prime targets, so missing out on him is a blow. That’s not the point that I want to get at here but, rather, that as fans it is effectively impossible to know of every player out there. That is, after all, why teams employ teams of scouts.
All of which makes trying to identify which players Liverpool should go for is something of a foolhardy task. So perhaps it is better to go by role to see which require strengthening.
The most obvious is probably that of central defender. It is impossible to shake the feeling that Martin Skrtel isn’t in Rodgers’ long term plans yet it is difficult to see him go unless a replacement was brought in. The strong interest in Kyriakos Papadopoulos shows just what kind of player Liverpool want: fast, strong tackler and young. If there’s anyone who fits that description and is available for a reasonable amount, then he is what Liverpool need.
Equally, Mhkitaryan is the template of the other player that Liverpool have gone for: an intelligent midfielder who can score goals. His experience in the Champions League was an added bonus. So, again, someone in that mould would be welcome.
Away from those two obvious needs, however, there are other areas that need addressing. As someone who defended Lucas when everyone wanted Liverpool to get rid of him, it is nice to see opinion of him shift so much. But, perhaps, it has shifted a bit too much. He hasn’t convinced since his return from injury and was caught out a bit too often when faced with a fast player.
And, finally, there’s left-back. Upon taking over, Rodgers’ instinct seemed to be that Jose Enrique wasn’t good enough. He tested a couple of options but ultimately, the lack of alternatives forced him to stick with the Spaniard. Perhaps, however, he should have trusted his instinct. Enrique isn’t a bad player but neither is he good enough. Even if he was, it is a risk starting the season without a back-up for him.
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