The need for additional attacking talent is questionable at this point for Liverpool; Henrikh Mkhitaryan is still out there somewhere, waiting to cure all Liverpool's ills from the midfield forward, but with deals already done for Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas, most would be content for the club to shift their focus to bolstering a thin defensive unit. Christian Atsu was thought to possibly be a target to help out going forward as well as to provide cover at the back, but today we learn that Liverpool's interest in the Ghanaian winger has cooled drastically after reportedly coming close to striking a deal just a few weeks ago.
With Raheem Sterling back to full fitness and Jordon Ibe impressing during his senior debut in the 2012-2013 finale against QPR, The Liverpool Echo's James Pearce writes that the club are content to focus on developing the promising young pair rather than bringing Atsu aboard in a deal that, at least financially, wouldn't be too dissimilar to the one that saw Oussama Assaidi join last summer only to find himself on the bench or out of the squad completely.
I don't know that this will be too upsetting for anyone, even with Liverpool likely to offload Assaidi before the summer ends. Both Sterling and Ibe showed enough at the top level to warrant more appearances during the coming season, with the former hopefully featuring in a slightly toned-down capacity after a season that saw him succumb to injury and burnout, and the latter making more consistent appearances off the bench and in domestic cup competition. Atsu would have likely had a role somewhere in between the two, and the decision to walk away indicates that we can expect to see plenty of both Sterling and Ibe this season.
Once again, the need to bring them along slowly and successfully will be the top priority, especially after the way Sterling struggled through the winter before being effectively shut down. Better balance for him and more minutes for Ibe are unquestionably positive, and provide even more reason for excitement as the preseason gets fully underway.