Where’s the new Gary McAllister when Liverpool need him?

October 22, 2009

Liverpool’s run of four straight defeats has generated a lot of discussion about what has gone wrong, but precious little about how to put it right, aside from the suggestion that it might be nice to see Kenny Dalglish back in the dugout.

So let’s leave aside for a moment Rafa’s handling of big players and whether he should have kept hold of Sami Hyypia and Xabi Alonso, and consider what the club’s next moves should be.

As many have noted, without Fernando Torres they look impossibly ordinary in attack, and when Andriy Voronin was brought on with a few minutes to go against Lyon it seemed to many fans an indictment of the Spanish coach’s transfer dealings.

Certainly Liverpool could do with another top class forward but with money short the chances of them landing David Villa or someone similar in the transfer window are remote. And in any case, I’m not sure pitching in a player like Villa at the halfway stage of the season would provide the answer.

What Liverpool really need is a player with a touch of gravitas, the sort of performer who can command respect from team mates and opponents alike, can put his foot on the ball, weigh up the options and give players around him a lift.

Arguably the best signing Gerard Houllier made, apart from Hyppia, was Gary McAllister. The Scot was 35 when he moved to Anfield yet he still had a profound effect on the team, playing an instrumental role in the run to the Cup treble of 2000-01 and, more importantly, the club’s first qualification for the Champions League.

How Benitez could do with a player cut from the same cloth. But where should he turn?

David Beckham might have been a solution — well, Michael Owen did sign for United, after all — but the England man seems set for another stint with AC Milan.

He is no McAllister, but in the absence of such a player Liverpool might consider making a bid for Rafael van der Vaart, a player with the same sort of quality on the ball and the experience of leading a team during his time at Hamburg SV.

He is currently warming the bench at Real Madrid and might jump at a chance to show what he can do in the Premier League.

But if not the Dutchman, who would you suggest? They certainly need to find inspiration from somewhere, as they contemplate the possibility of falling 10 points behind Manchester United on Sunday.


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The first thing they’ve got to do is give Voronin a chance. He did wonders on loan at Hertha Berlin last season. They were in the running for the Bundesliga title last term and now they are really struggling without him.
He cant have become a bad player overnight and the Bundesliga is not so much weaker than the Premier League

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

Robert Pires is just about to turn 35 and could probably switch to midfield or second striker. He’d be an option. And it would annoy Arsenal fans.

Posted by King Kenny II | Report as abusive

how about patrick viera? surely he would tick all the boxes, also he has already said he isnt happy with the role he is playing for inter this season, not so far fetched as im not too sure how many top teams will be going for him in the jan transfer window if he does decide he wants a change, and surely he wouldnt turn his back on the arsenal faithfull by heading down to white hart lane?

Posted by maid | Report as abusive

Hi maid. Patrick Viera not a bad shout … Ideally I think they need someone with a bit mroe creativity about him, though.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

Hadn’t thought of Pires. Is he still going strong at Villarreal?

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

Having already Aquilani, we need a player who can play as a froward just off the striker and as a right winger I think the player who could be instrumental is Eduardo Salvio from Lanus, he beats defenders for fun, very fast has a good eye for goal shouldn’t cost more than £10 mil

Posted by jakub | Report as abusive

good point you dont see lucas or mascherano for that matter creating that much in the oppositions half, this one would never happen as i think he is content staying in the argentinian league now but riquelme would be great for a creative spark either in the middle of the park or even sitting behind torres, letting gerrard take control of the midfield where he is probably most effective

Posted by maid | Report as abusive

Aquilani will do the Job in MF … we need a CF ….. Pandev or Lavezzi … Try to involve Dossena in the deal ….

Van der Vaart is a good shout as it will improve Babel and Kuyt’s game !!!

Posted by Malta | Report as abusive

I think it’s a lot to ask for Aquilani to come in and make an immediate impact but you never know. Didn’t he play for the reserves last night? Anyone know how he looked?

Goran pandev sounds like he would be a possibility, Malta, as he supposed to be “unsettled” at Lazio, or so they say.

And jakub, the idea of a more creative Argentine at Anfield is an intriguiing one. I did think at one stage that Rafa would sign Pablo Aimar but Salvio sounds even better from your description.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

Even a Loan Offer for Adriano will look good. Would Be nice to have a good mix up upfront.

Pace of El Nino
Vision of Steve G
Strength of Adriano – L’ Imperatore as the Interist use to call him.

Posted by Malta | Report as abusive

Not sure as not seen many games but Landon Donovan is a creative player who when ive seen him looks quick direct and can pick a pass, could be a loan option as last year spent the winter months of the states season with Bayern. Or do we feel he is an ordinary player but shines because he is in a poorer quality league??

Posted by Chipking | Report as abusive

How about Gary Neville – lots of gravitas and the fans would love him.

Posted by des | Report as abusive

Neville might be stretching it a bit … but maybe Paul Scholes would fit the bill. In fact, about perfect, I’d say … except for the fact that they’d never get him … but that’s a minor detail.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

It’s funny you should mention Landon Donovan, chipking. He didn’t quite find his feet at Bayern but Juergen Klinsmann is a huge fan. Klinsmann was all over Sky Sports this week … Liverpool couldn’t yet turn to him as coach, could they?

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

David Beckham would fit the bill

Posted by Ed Osmond | Report as abusive

The world on the street here in Italy is that Pandev, banned from the Lazio team for demanding a move, will go to Inter in January to cover for Eto’o at the African Cup of Nations.
Aquilani was very hit and miss at Roma and will get in the way of Gerrard. He is was bought as Gerrard’s understudy but hey presto they are both injured. Sounds like AA needs another reserve game after so long out

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

what’s all this talk of forwards?? torres wants to stay, he and kuyt can score goals! we have quality midfielders, not including mascherano and lucas as they are shit! benitez sends out the most baffling lineups usually i don’t know how he continues to make the same mistakes. our biggest problem is DEFENSE! we must bring in a world class defender to compliment skyrtel, carragher needs to go and reina needs to build some confidence.. i say give benitez one more year with some new quality players brought in and if no improvement then benitez needs to go!

Posted by ticked off reds fan | Report as abusive

1. David Beckham would never go to Liverpool
2. Van der Vaart would be a good choice at this stage of the season
3. FC Next Season need to start building from the back when this season is over, piling up strikers and midfielders is a waste of resources if your back four are as thin as Liverpool’s.
4. They need another top class striker they can afford and Ajax’s Luis Suarez would fit the bill.

Posted by Zoran | Report as abusive

liverpool should concentrate on building up the back four,.The club should buy a solid defender like Lucio of Inter Milan. But for me the black sheep of the team is the 1st choice goalkeeper, Reina.they need to change him, immediately!!

Posted by Esniq | Report as abusive

I have no hesitation that Rafa is the right man for Liverpool and I also have no doubt he’ll stay at Anfield for many more years. I don’t think The Reds desperately need new players. Of course, it’ll be good to add a solid central defender and an experienced striker who would be ready to be included in starting 11 only when Torres is missing or rested (12-15 games in all competitions). But with or without acquisitions Liverpool have the potential to be title contenders. It’s naivety to say that the lack of one player (Alonso) could turn a record-breaking team (86 points last season – best ever achievement in the Premiership) into an ordinary outfit. Why do people have short time memory loss? It’s still very early days and being seven points adrift of the top means nothing! Twenty nine games left and only seven points… just look back four and half years ago and you’ll see Liverpool coming back from being 3-0 down at HT in a Champions League final. It’s not even a mountain to climb now. They only need to look at their next opponents to realise it’s the team they defeated and outplayed twice last season…

Posted by Angel | Report as abusive

No doubt Liverpool is in a heap of problems created by Rafa himself, there’s no excuses after 6 years. Money can not be a problem anymore, it’s not like the manager wasn’t given any money, it’s the players he bought who failed to live up to their price tags. The main problem might be that Liverpool really needs some strengthening in all departments in case of injuries cause for now, it really looks as if Liverpool is a two-man team. And look at it this way, 4 losses out of 9 games? As said by Angel, it’s still such as early stage, but does that mean it isn’t something to be worried about? When will the dismal performance end? Even if Liverpool beats ManU 10-0 next, will they be able to be consistent enough all year? The Premiership isn’t about winning 4-0 this week and losing 1-0 the next, it’s about consistency and something Liverpool is lacking in. There’s no use getting hyped up beating ManU twice and saying that “It’s our year” but at the end of the day they’re getting the last laugh because they are able to keep winning other games. Gosh.. time to wake up.

Posted by Josh | Report as abusive