Five defensive signings that could save Liverpool’s season
After Liverpool (odds-on at 4/7 with Coral to finish outside the top four) leaked three goals away to West Ham United, and slumped to their third defeat in five Premier League outings, Brendan Rodgers is expected to dip in to the January sales.
However, despite their clear rearguard shortcomings, Rodgers’ Reds are still being overwhelmingly linked with making moves for further attacking additions.
Here, Coral writers instead take a look at the options available to reinforce a shaky Liverpool defence this winter.
Currently sidelined with a knee injury, out-of-contract former Barcelona stopper Valdes is available on a free and has been mooted to arrive at Anfield once he has returned to fitness.
The pressure has been piled on current first-choice goalie Simon Mignolet, who has never really looked assured when protecting the posts for Liverpool, with Rodgers stating: “I think Simon is a bit laid back. The key thing is to make sure you are on the front foot and aggressive.”
If Mignolet does not heed his coach’s warning, he could find himself benched in favour of the decorated and feisty Catalan keeper, who would bring the Reds a wealth of experience.
The Basel centre back is an asset at both ends of the pitch, having netted three times in eight caps for Switzerland. Set piece menace Schar is still just 22, but the highly-rated defender has already represented his nation at the World Cup, and will face Liverpool in Champions League Group B, when fans will be able to take a closer look.
Schar has been linked with a host of elite European teams, including injury-plagued Arsenal and their north London rivals Tottenham, but there is still time for Rodgers to pip his peers to the post and snap up the talented Swiss star.
With under two years left on his contract, Manchester City stopper Hart may be considering his future. Despite a shaky season last campaign, the England number one recently illustrated why he is still worthy of a place in the Sky Blues’ starting XI, with a series of sensational saves against Bayern Munich.
However, it appears Manuel Pellegrini has never been completely convinced, and may yet allow summer singing Willy Caballero to stake a claim for the slot between the sticks. This could open up space for Hart to move on, with Rodgers seemingly always keen to add to his English contingent.
The Aston Villa skipper was the subject of much transfer speculation this summer, following a tremendous World Cup campaign with Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands squad. Clubs were queuing up for the former Feyenoord centre back, but the Dutch defender stayed put.
Vlaar has been integral to the Villans’ success this season, forming a solid partnership alongside surprise package Philippe Senderos, and could be the rock at the heart of the Reds rearguard if paired with Dejan Lovren.
Tough tackling Vlaar could also be a bargain buy if, with under a year to go on his current contract, the Clockwork Orange international has not penned a new deal by January.
Uruguay centre back Godin, 28, would be a significant upgrade on Liverpool’s current options Mamadou Sakho and Martin Skrtel, but would undoubtedly be difficult to prise away from La Liga Champions Atletico Madrid.
Big-spenders Chelsea already snapped up Atleti’s left back Filipe Luis and superstar striker Diego Costa this summer, meaning the Spanish giants would be unlikely to let another key player depart, let alone one as crucial as Godin.
If the Reds want to challenge for the Premier League trophy, however, they may need to spend big to mend the holes in their backline, and luxury option Godin would be a truly top class recruit.
Despite recently ruling out an exit, if Atleti seem to be failing to replicate last season’s success, the Reds should go all-out to lure Godin to Anfield and make themselves true title contenders.