It is that time of the year again, where players all over Europe keep their VISA close and the cellular devices closer. It’s not too different at Melwood, considering the upheaval brought about by Juergen Klopp looking to stamp his authority on this buccaneering Liverpool side, with as many as seven arrivals, and nine departures.
It’s been hit and miss so far this season with two games being played, mostly a miss, if you consider the Merseyside club were mostly amiss for one-and-a-half games, excluding the redemption in the second half vs Arsenal, at The Emirates. The conversations on the apparent weaknesses have been discussed to ad nauseam and then onto death and then back again, in a bile churning cycle of bewilderment (as to how Herr Klopp won’t acknowledge the issues) and bemusement (fans prepping themselves up for disappointment).
In an ideal Football Manger situation, these three players would have been shown the door and the following mentioned players would have been recruited to commandeer a title challenge that Klopp hoped for at the start of the season:-
#1 Lazar Markovic [OUT]
– Leandro Paredes [IN]
Lazar Markovic has been in a crisis of confidence ever since Brendan Rodgers ill-witted-ly shoehorned the boy as a right wing-back from some confounding reason or the other. His loan spell at Fenerbahce raised very few eyebrows, and he returned to Liverpool to stake a claim in Juergen Klopp’s new attacking template, but the German doesn’t seem overly convinced. Interest from Lazio, Schalke, AC Milan, Benfica, and Fiorentina, could see the Serbian wide-man, who was once one of the most sought-after talents in Europe with Chelsea almost securing his signature, leave for a decent amount.
Leandro Paredes is exactly the type of midfield conductor Liverpool have needed. The 23-year-old’s playmaking talents has been compared to the enigmatic Riquelme in his homeland, and is capable of playing a box-to-box, regista and an attacking midfield role with equal aplomb, such is his technical ability and tactical nous. Liverpool’s bid going in for 21 million Euros yesterday, will look to test the resolve of AS Roma, who have a cordial relationship with the higher-ups of the Merseyside club.
#2 Lucas Leiva [OUT]
– Gary Medel [IN]
For all of Liverpool’s enthralling style, the team lacks some dirty, bare-tacked substance. That’s where Mad Dog, Gary Medel comes in. A defence’s best friend, the 2016 Copa America champion draws upon all the South American clenched-teeth guile of his ancestors, and an understanding of space that few can dispute. Unfaltering and full-blooded in the tackle, he’s exactly the type of ugly necessity Liverpool need in the middle.
Lucas Leiva, with all due respect, has been a whole-hearted servant to the Liverpool cause, and if it weren’t for his back-to-back cruciate ligament injuries that robbed him of his pace and his edge in the tackle, he was poised to become one of the best defensive midfielders in Europe, nevermind, the league. But lo, ces’t la vie, he’s deemed as more of liability, than an asset. Almost sold off to Besiktas this summer, for Liverpool to pull out at the last minute – you’d think he’d been gone had the Reds done their homework to single out a defensive midfielder earlier in the summer.
#3 Tiago Illori, Luis Alberto, Andre Wisdom, Mario Balotelli [OUT]
– Ricardo Rodriguez [IN]
Ricardo Rodriguez, aged just 23, is one of the most complete full-backs operating in Europe, who, belying his age, has shown balance in both aspects of the game – defensive resoluteness and offensive enterprise and would a perfect fit for Juergen Klopp’s template of play. Liverpool could do a lot worse than forking out the 20 million Euros that Wolfsburg would demand.
It’s absolutely integral that young Alberto Moreno has the cover. One of Liverpool’s stand-out players for the first-half of the season, last season, his fortunes has waned with him being over-played. The Spaniard still hasn’t recovered his confidence, and remains susceptible to the odd lapse of reason and concentration, despite having all the technical and physical tools to be a stand-out full-back in the league.
Illori and Luis Alberto have been a victim of the necessary evil of modern football stockpiling, and deserve to have a fair crack of the whip elsewhere. Andre Wisdom’s ceiling is high only high enough for a mid-table Premier League side. Mario Balotelli, is, well, Mario Balotelli.