Liverpool has started the new Premier League season with a bang; winning their first three games without conceding a single goal. After the impressive victory against rivals Manchester United at Anfield, they now find themselves top of the table.
Liverpool has been fairly active in the transfer market this summer, purchasing Simon Mignolet, Iago Aspas, Luis Alberto, Kolo Toure, Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Illori. Victor Moses and Aly Cissokho were also captured on loan deals.
Out of these deals, Liverpool has brought in one goalkeeper, four defenders, one winger and two forwards. Fairly impressive some might say, however they have not strengthened their weak central-midfield area and have failed to obtain that ‘marquee’ signing required to compete for the league title.
While Mignolet has been very impressive in goal this season and has made some wonderful saves, Toure and Agger have formed a formidable partnership in the middle of defence and have looked solid along with Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique playing at in the full-back positions. Therefore, the £20 million purchases of Illori and Sakho leaves Liverpool with five centre backs – Toure, Martin Skrtel, Agger, Illori and Sakho.
While Cissokho is a good backup for Enrique, there was no need to spend that money to reinforce the defence. Instead, the money could have been spent to strengthen the central-midfield area.
Manager Brendan Rogers will most likely play the trio of Philippe Coutinho, Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge up front with Moses and Aspas as back up. This system will require Liverpool to play three of their available four central-midfielders - Joe Allen, Steven Gerrard, Lucas Leiva and Jordan Henderson.
Allen has not been able to recapture the form he showed while playing for Swansea since his transfer to Anfield, while Lucas has always had a history of injury problems and cannot be relied on to play an entire season. Henderson has mostly been used on the right side by Rogers and has not impressed. Gerrard is the club’s best bet in midfield, but he is 33-years-old and Liverpool should eye a long-term replacement for him.
Ideally, Liverpool should target IIkay Gundogan or former player Xabi Alonso. Both players would be excellent in the middle of the park and would serve as the 'marquee signing' to make Liverpool genuine title contenders.