Today has been most troublous for the average Liverpool fan. How does one go about one's day without being baited and harangued over the frankly batshit behaviour of Luis Suarez? For this particular supporter, despite being plagued by a current lack of internet access in my part of rural Ireland, there was no shortage of grinning idiots and tutting buffoons ready to hold forth on whether slow flaying or waterboarding was the most apposite punishment for our errant superstar. By lunchtime, when yet another punter approached me to earnestly suggest that the Uruguayan "really needs help," I'd had enough and sought solace in the rumour basket, from which I plucked a couple for your delectation.
This morning on the Newstalk radio station in my fair isle, a well-established rumour, gone somewhat flat at this point, was given a little extra effervescence by the loose lips of a former Reds legend. European Cup winning captain and former assistant to Gérard Houllier, Phil Thompson, for it was he, claimed that the proposed move for Barcelona and Chile's Alexis Sanchez was as good as done. The forward, currently impressing alongside his teammates at the World Cup, had been linked with the club for a while and only a couple of days ago the Echo seemed to confirm that Liverpool's interest had been lodged with the Catalan giants.
In the interview, Thompson's insistence that the Uruguayan's masticatory antics might see the club try to ease him out was one of the early reasons for my irritation with the media today, but in that same chat the indiscreet Liverpudlian suggested that some press associates of his, "with their ear very close to the ground at Liverpool," were convinced that Sanchez would be at Anfield next season and that "the deal is actually done" at a reported £27M.
No doubt the adaptable, skilful and mobile Chilean is very much the kind of footballer that Brendan Rodgers would feel he can work with at Anfield, but it cannot just be this scribbler who wonders if there might be a certain headline-generating Uruguayan heading in the opposite direction. The interest in Sanchez, whose talent is apparent to all, is certainly the type of thing that Liverpool fans will lap up, but most would be infinitely happier if the nimble attacker was supplementing the existing playing staff rather than part of a solution to replace and repair.
At the other end of the pitch, there can be no doubting that Rodgers must address the team's defensive shortcomings. Liverpool's attack is the envy of the division but the shambolic defending that was on display at regular intervals throughout the campaign just ended was what ultimately scuppered the Redmen's title tilt. Neither Daniel Agger nor Martin Skrtel, given their potential value in the market, will be certain, currently, that they will be at Anfield next season and last night rumours began of a possible exit for Kolo Toure. Mamadou Sakho, then, is probably the only current first teamer who can be fairly certain he will start next season and Rodgers will likely look to draft in some new blood.
To that end, stories have resurfaced about Liverpool's interest in Atletico Madrid's Toby Alderweireld. The 25 year old Belgian, like Sanchez, is representing his country at the little tournament some of you may have heard about but he had a far less taxing club season than the Chilean attacker. After his move from Ajax last summer, the imposing centre-half failed to establish himself for Los Rojiblancos, making a meagre 12 appearances as the Madrid club swept to the title and narrowly lost out to their neighbours in the Champions League final. Sky Italia are touting a £7M move for the versatile defender who Rodgers may view as a very astute addition to his squad.
So then, two very strong rumours that may or may not have a basis in reality, about two players we would no doubt all be happy to see don the Liverbird -- just, perhaps, not if it meant some of our current favourites were heading out the gate. With the incessant media chatter surrounding the spectacularly unedifying tale of our number seven, however, I will gladly wallow in the comparative delights of rumour mongering -- delightfully vague and utterly undetermined rumours, just how we like them.