[dropcap]B[/dropcap]rendan Rodgers says Liverpool are unlikely to dip into the transfer market this month. Perhaps he has some secret plan to mould his current squad into the quality required to achieve a Champions League place. If so it must be something special because despite signs that the current incumbents are able to produce the goods on match day consistency is still some way off.
The team stuttered through the FA Cup tie at AFC Wimbledon and although there were a couple of positive signs there were also perfect illustrations of exactly where the team needs strengthening to fight for third, or, more realistically, fourth place in the Premier League.
I wrote recently about a strong spine, from goalkeeper right through to the front line. Chelsea have one, so too do Manchester City, though the absence of Vincent Kompany does underline a requirement for adequate cover. Below the clubs who are making the title race a two-horse monopoly there are a handful of clubs aspiring towards third and fourth place.
Spurs are starting to hit form and it remains to be seen what Arsenal do in the transfer window but those clubs and Liverpool need strengthening, which is where careful consideration of the available market comes into play.
Brendan Rodgers has already come under fire for his recruitment policy so this window could be a defining period for him.
Liverpool need; a proper goalkeeper, a dominant centre half and a midfielder who can shoulder some of the responsibility in the goals department.
Indecision at the heart of the defence almost cost Liverpool dearly at Wimbledon. When the League Two side scored their goal no one in the Liverpool defence took responsibility, Mignolet flapped at the ball and the defenders left him to it, and Wimbledon equalised.
Top teams have a top goalkeeper, some have two, namely Chelsea. Top teams have centre halves who take charge at the back. Chelsea and Manchester City have them. But in the Premier League’s leading bunch the rest of the teams behind those two are sadly lacking at the back.
Liverpool’s need for a midfielder who can pass, dominate AND score goals took on a whole new dimension this week with the announcement of Steven Gerrard’s departure. But there have been signs recently that Brendan Rodgers may be able to concentrate his attention to the aforementioned defensive deficiencies because of the form of Jordan Henderson.
It matters not a jot to the England man who he plays against, Champions’ League or League Two opposition, he always puts in a shift but against AFC Wimbledon I noticed more signs that he is well on the way to filling the void the Gerrard will leave.
On Monday Henderson was everywhere, a good sign for a midfielder. His touch has improved quite dramatically. His long range passing has always been good but his short game is progressing in leaps and bounds. That’s the good news. On the negative side he has to work on his finishing and his work in the final third as hard as he has obviously done on the other aspects of his game. Henderson also showed at Wimbledon that his decision making is also improving.
It is all of the above that might just indicate that if Henderson does step up to the mark, for the rest of the season, Liverpool’s needs might be restricted to their defence. But if the manager thinks his club will not be active in this transfer window I don’t know how he will rectify the obvious deficiencies with the players already at Anfield.
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