Three signings to boost Liverpool’s top-four bid
David Marsh takes a look at three players Liverpool could still sign this summer to boost their hopes of Champions League qualification
The 24-year-old Alexandre Lacazette is hailed as one of Europe’s most promising youngsters. The Frenchman currently plays his trade in Ligue 1 with Lyon, where he has risen through the ranks to become a regular first team starter. A forward player with the capability of playing centrally or out wide, Lacazette would be a shrewd signing for Liverpool and would be a like-for-like replacement for Raheem Sterling, who left Liverpool to join Manchester City last month. An elusive runner and a deadly finisher, Lacazette has netted 51 times for Lyon since making his debut, and his club form earned him an international call up in 2013. Lacazette was chosen as part of the 30-man preliminary squad for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, however he did not make the final 23. He has however recently fought his way back into the side and scored his first international goal against Denmark in March earlier this year. Lacazette’s pace and agility would be welcomed by the Anfield faithful as they look to boost their top four hopes after a disappointing 6th placed finish last season. Brendan Rodgers enjoys deploying fast attacking players who can hit teams on the counter attack and score early goals. With Lacazette’s goal scoring record, he would surely be an instant hit with the Merseyside club.
Another attacker more than capable of filling the void left by Sterling, Pedro Rodriguez is not only an exceptional talent, but he is a proven winner. Having been a part of two treble winning seasons with Barcelona and picked up a number of trophies on the side, Pedro certainly knows what it takes to win. However, after the signing of Luis Suarez last summer and Neymar the summer before that, Pedro lost his place in the starting eleven at the Nou Camp. The attacking trio of Messi, Suarez and Neymar proved to be the best in Europe as they secured the treble last season. Not only could Liverpool be keen on Pedro, but the Spaniard might also be keen for a move away. After seeing his former club mate Alexis Sanchez enjoy success in England after leaving the Nou Camp, Pedro could be tempted to simulate the Chilean’s move to the Premier League. The 27-year-old forward is too good of a talent to be sat on the bench each week, and he would no doubt become an instant starter if he were to make the move to Anfield. His experience at the highest level would no doubt be beneficial for the likes of youngsters Jordan Ibe and Danny Ings to learn from. Liverpool fans have become somewhat frustrated with their side’s attack over the last season, with Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli both struggling to find the back of the net. The signing of a proven goalscorer like Pedro could help Rodgers to win back some of his doubters.
After the departure of long serving club captain and fan favourite Steven Gerrard, there are now a pair of very large boots to fill in Liverpool’s midfield. Like many Liverpool managers in the past, Brendan Rodgers was blessed with the luxury of relying on Steven Gerrard to enforce himself in the middle of the park, spraying passes left right and centre, and leading his team mates by example. His consistency over a number of years was invaluable to Liverpool. However now that he is gone, Rodgers has a gap in midfield he needs to fill, and quickly if he wants to be challenging for top four again. Blaise Matuidi, the French central midfielder playing his football at Paris Saint Germain, could be Rodger’s answer. Matuidi is known amongst PSG fans as a fierce and ‘strong tackler’, and is a consistent performer at the Parc des Princes. At 28 years old, Matuidi is in the peak years for a footballer, and would be a strong signing and a statement of intent from Brendan Rodgers to get Liverpool back into the top four in the Premier League. Matuidi plays as a deep lying midfielder, and provides good cover for his defence. With the Liverpool back line becoming victims of harsh criticism last season, they would surely welcome some help from midfield in thwarting opposition attacks. Liverpool will face a tough challenge to prize Matuidi away from PSG’s grasp, with him being a key first team player and fan favourite for the French outfit since he joined in 2011. However, Rodgers has managed to tempt Matuidi’s former team mate Mamadou Sakho away from the French capital, and he may well fancy his chances of raiding PSG once more by signing Blaise Matuidi.