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Can Liverpool Beat the Transfer Deadline?

With the end of the transfer window in sight, Liverpool need to bring a couple of players in to boost depth in the squad. What can the club realistically achieve with time running out?

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Hands on hips? I'll take two please.
Hands on hips? I'll take two please.
Dennis Grombkowski

Good things come to those who wait. What are these things? Who are those people? What are they waiting for and why? Maybe we don't just want the good things by merely lying in wait but desire appropriating these better things through old-fashioned action. Wait a minute... what's that you say? Could you repeat that please because I'm struggling to hear you over the glory of three straight victories. We already went for all the better things and waited a little too for a bit of variety? Oh, well never mind.

Anyway, there are quite a few things coming up in the next five days or so. We have the transfer window to sort out because it has been a little naughty so we must show it who is the boss of who. There's a match against The Dark Lord's The Dark Apprentice's Manchester United on Sunday and Bill Shankly's 100th anniversary on Monday. Weaving through all this is the end of times the transfer window. Brendan Rodgers has much to consider.

Aly CissokhoKolo Toure,  and Joe Allen all have picked up injuries in positions of perceived weakness among the Liverpool fanbase: left back, centre back, and central midfield. The win against a determined and gutsy Notts County side was costly. Shiny new left-back Aly Cissokho injured his precious ankle and spread nervousness amongst many a stable. New talisman for the ages, Kolo Toure, suffered groin damage while the metronomic Joe Allen experienced a wobble in his hamstring. Simply put, we need them to be okay and quickly.

Cissokho was brought as competition for Jose Enrique and it is unlikely, unwise too perhaps, to see another left-back coming in. Midfield is a contentious issue and it doesn't seem to be a priority for Rodgers at this time. It appears that Lucas Leiva, Steven Gerrard, Joe Allen, Jordan Henderson, and Luis Alberto are sufficient midfield chess pieces for Rodgers' grand plans this season. In terms of numbers and demands on the squad this season, that collection should be fine even if calls for a more physical presence to supplement Lucas seem well-judged.

There are complications in central defence. Toure's injury has pinged worry around at rapid speeds, Martin Skrtel is out of favour, and Daniel Agger has a colourful injury history. Now for the rest of the story. Sebastian Coates is out of the first team picture this season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and regardless of whether he has a future a the club, it is hoped that he can recover to take part in the World Cup and progress as a centre back. Before the game with Notts County, Brendan Rodgers revealed that Martin Kelly is "still quite some way off match fitness"* and sensibly reasoned that, "If you have been out for a year it sometimes takes you near enough that to be back to your best." So Kelly isn't an option at centre back or right back right now. While Rodgers admirably wants Wisdom to gain experience on loan "to maximise his talent", the youngster might very well be needed for the squad in two defensive positions.

Liverpool's schedule isn't such where two games a week or three in the space of eight or nine days is the norm but depth is required. Should Liverpool be relying on Wisdom and Skrtel to supplement Rodgers' current first-choice defensive partnership? Much depends on what whether the Slovakian international is even trusted as a reserve at this stage. Rodgers denied that a £10M bid from Napoli was made for Skrtel's services but the player has been a backup for veterans for much 2013. The player has gained respect for declaring his willingness to fight for his place but will another centre back supplant his role as a reserve? That might be too much for Liverpool's former player of the year to stomach.

"There's no doubt we need more numbers but it's about quality - hopefully we can bring that quality in."  Brendan Rodgers

Liverpool's commander has made his position clear after the Notts County match, "There's no doubt we need more numbers but it's about quality - hopefully we can bring that quality in." Rodgers has been quite open about his desire to strengthen the team throughout the summer but his efforts have not been rewarded with the biggest fish in the transfer pool. Liverpool have sought to bring in an attacking player who would look at Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge, and Luis Suarez as equals. An extra attacking player of noted quality who could combine with Liverpool's three attacking superstars would be a frightening prospect for opposing defenders. Rodgers desired that reality and chased it with fervour. Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Diego Costa. Willian. Liverpool FC and Rodgers courted all three. Unsuccessfully.

The departures of Oussama Assaidi, Daniel Pacheco, and Stewart Downing have surely paved the way for the arrival a player or two in the wide areas. Another striker could be an option too. Much depends on whether Suarez remains under Rodgers' cloak and if he does stay, whether Rodgers will continue to use a Suarez-Sturridge forward line with Coutinho coming in from the left. Does the club need a player to operate on the right? Should Iago Aspas be viewed as a valuable squad player if the right signing is made? Should Liverpool be pursuing two wide players to ensure that the club has the necessary depth in wide areas?

These are all questions that Rodgers and the LFC transfer committee must consider but with not long to go before the window closes, what would constitute successfully beating the transfer deadline? Liverpool must contend with the sands of time, warning all that tempus fugit.

*H/T to the indomitable Manwe for the link and information on Martin Kelly's injury recovery.

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