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Liverpool Must Strengthen Spine in the Summer

Many of Liverpool's struggles this season have been the result of a lack of depth in key positions.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Forget about clever attacking midfielders. Trust in Jon Flanagan to push Alberto Moreno if Liverpool revert to a back four. Seek help for your obsession with Marco Reus. Liverpool may have greater depth in the squad after a busy summer transfer window where the loss of a world class talent in Luis Suárez had to be compensated for with greater numbers ahead of a Champions League campaign, but work needs to be conducted on the spine.


Having Brad Jones as backup for Simon Mignolet is unacceptable, and an injury to the Belgian number two should cause panic ahead of even the most modest of opponents. Jones is a loyal servant to the club and appears to be a nice fellow, but lacks the quality to sit on the bench for any of Liverpool's rivals in the Premier League. Mignolet's resurgence ensures that he should enter his third season at the club as number one, but there is nobody else beyond the impressive and increasingly confident custodian.

Such a move would not undermine the current number one and would provide him with the necessary competition to push him further. Still only 27, Mignolet could assert his claims further or succumb to an even more talented option. Either way, Liverpool would be stronger for it.

Defensive Midfielder

Joe Allen has produced some of his best performances in a Liverpool shirt over the past month in place of the injured Lucas Leiva but lacks the defensive positional awareness of the experienced Brazilian That's not to denigrate Allen, a good player who merits a place in the squad, who would not be the only player to compare unfavourably with Lucas in terms of defensive competence in the midfield area.

Emre Can is the only other option but his versatility could see the young German deployed in a box to box role in midfield or in the defence next season to benefit the side. Liverpool have the chance to keep Lucas and add further quality in the position, and boasting two fine players in defensive midfield would give the club an advantage over the course of a season where many clubs struggle with barely one reliable option.


Liverpool actually made moves to add depth and variety in the summer, signing three players in the position last summer. Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert, and Divock Origi were signed for a combined £30 million to cater for the present and the future. Origi remained with Lille to continue his development, while the two more experienced players joined immediately. Three league goals is a poor return from two players in just under 1400 minutes. That is of little use to the club. Daniel Sturridge has scored a goal more after playing just over half that amount. Origi has the talent to be a big player for Liverpool but is still only 19.

Sturridge and Origi is a good start, but Liverpool need a reliable goalscorer who possesses the finishing, movement, and the tactical understanding to fit in. That Raheem Sterling has been more productive than either Lambert or Balotelli up front with three goals and two assists from his nine starts in the position is damning. Balotelli may possess the talent but may never find favour with a manager who has benefited from the excellent attacking movement from the likes of Sterling, Suárez, and Sturridge in his time at the club.

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Liverpool have a strong option in each position but may not be able to count on them over the course of a season. The injury proneness and lack of durability in Lucas and Sturridge demand the addition of players who could potentially usurp them, because those two improve Liverpool considerably when they're fully fit. Liverpool's midfield lacks cohesion in the absence of Lucas and the attack lacks sharpness without Sturridge.

The injury proneness of Mamadou Sakho can be mitigated by the growing competence of Dejan Lovren, a player who still needs to find his head to come close to what was expected of him upon making him the most expensive defender in the club's history. Other central defensive options ahead of Lovren and on loan make central defence less of a priority. If Lucas and Sturridge remain fit during the course of next season, Brendan Rodgers will have more depth and quality to call upon. Again, the club benefits.

Liverpool's season is coming to an end, and while there is still much to fight for, the Transfer Committee must ensure that the failings of this season are not repeated in 2015/16.

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