A week until the new year and Liverpool's business on the January transfer market already appears all but done. Papers desperate to fill column inches and transfer websites desperate to draw more eyeballs may throw out talk of deals stalling or of mysterious other signings, but for most Liverpool fans the issue is now less about who will come in than it is about how they will be used and whether or not they'll be the successes the club hopes.
The question is no longer whether Tom Ince is returning to Liverpool but rather whether he will slot straight into the starting eleven or rotate with the likes of Raheem Sterling—or be loaned straight back to Blackpool to ensure he continues to play every week if Liverpool only seek to secure his services now because Rodgers fears the summer will see other clubs chasing him. And if Ince isn't to be loaned straight back to his current club, the question becomes whether Liverpool might have to loan someone to the Championship side for the remainder of the season to help ensure a smooth transaction.
In the case of Daniel Sturridge, the question too is not whether he'll arrive in Liverpool once the Jnauary window opens—in fact he may have already had his medical—but what role he'll play at his new club given rumours that part of why he never appeared fully part of Chelsea's future plans was founded in his desire to play centrally when most saw a future in wider areas. Given those rumours and the player's imminent arrival, it's no surprise that at his Christmas Eve press conference ahead of Wednesday's match against Stoke, manager Brendan Rodgers was pushed for an answer on the subject.
"Once we've signed a player," he said, "I'll have no problem in speaking about who we've signed. But until anything is done on paper, there is nothing to say. We'll always do our business privately and in the way we want to do it. As you've seen over the last number of weeks, there are always going to be things written about players, clubs and dealings."
However, despite his attempts not to address the issue of Sturridge directly, when pressed on the matter he did offer something of a rebuke to any rumours the player may have made demands about playing centrally before agreeing to a move: "You can keep writing and saying these things but no one will come into this club and demand where they play, that's for sure."
Rodgers went on to add that while the club won't be making a great number of moves in the January window, they will be making "one or two," a statement that all but rules out anyone beyond Sturridge and Ince arriving before the summer.
"We're confident we can get some business done early in January which will really help the squad," he concluded. "Until that happens, there is nothing really to add. I think [the additions will] make a difference and help us. If we can do that, I think we'll have a good second half to the season."
Many fans will continue to doubt Sturridge and Ince are the men to make that happen; few will be hoping not to be proven wrong on the subject.