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Who should Liverpool target to reverse their slump?

December 15, 2009

Liverpool ’s dismal start to the season is an open wound on Merseyside and events over the last seven days have thrown a handful of salt into the gaping gash.

Michael Owen reminded Reds fans what an able deputy he could have been for Fernando Torres by firing a clinical Champions League hat-trick against Wolfsburg, while their own campaign came to a whimpering end at home to Fiorentina.

And then Andrei Arshavin, who seems to enjoy playing at Anfield more than any Liverpool player does at the moment, hammered what must be the final nail in their Premier League coffin.

The only positive for Reds supporters that may come from the Russian’s moment of brilliance is if Liverpool ’s increasingly unpopular owners realise that players of Arshavin’s ability cannot be acquired in football’s equivalent of the bargain basement.

And if there were ever a man in need of a spot of retail therapy, it’s Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez.

So assuming there is money to spend, and that is a massive ‘if’, who could Liverpool turn to when the window opens in January to turn their season around?

The problems are there for all to see. A niggling injury to Torres has highlighted the club’s need for striking reinforcements, the absence of Steven Gerrard has shown them to be desperately short of another creative influence in midfield and left back Emiliano Insua shows promise but has made mistakes while standing in for the often-injured Fabio Aurelio.

So here’s a list of the players I think the Reds should be targeting. Think I’ve got it about right? Let me know in the comments below.

Ruud van Nistelrooy (Real Madrid)

The likes of Sergio Aguero and David Villa are out of reach and while Tottenham’s Roman Pavlyuchenko has been mooted, you cannot imagine boss Harry Redknapp allowing the striker to leave for one of Spurs’ rivals for the coveted fourth spot in the table.

But there is a former Old Trafford favourite, currently kicking his heels in Madrid, who could do just the job at Anfield. Van Nistelrooy is not a long-term solution, but he ticks all the boxes to help them in their current predicament.

In six years at Manchester United, he filled his clogs with 95 league goals in 137 starts and his eagerness to secure a place in the Netherlands’ World Cup squad means a loan move or a relatively inexpensive transfer could be a possibility.

Liverpool fans may not warm to a man who used to score at will for their hated rivals, but if the Dutchman were to come off the bench and bag a winner at Old Trafford when the two sides next meet in the league on March 20, than open wound may just be healed a little.

Juan Mata (Valencia)

Benitez has been searching for creative influence that can produce a moment of magic from nothing since the departure of Luis Garcia in 2007. While Yossi Benayoun has shown glimpses of promise, a quick glance at the Liverpool bench on Sunday highlighted a lack of inventive talent waiting in the wings.

Reports said Benitez was rebuffed in a close-season attempt to sign Valencia’s David Silva, while interest from Manchester United may now have pushed the tricky wide player out of the Liverpool’s reach.

But the depth of the Spanish club’s debts is widely known and another of their leading lights, Juan Mata, has caught Benitez’s eye, reports have said. The left-sided midfielder struck 15 goals last season and already has six to his name this time around.

 
Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich)

Three of the best left backs in the business are plying their trade for Liverpool’s rivals with Patrice Evra at Manchester United, Gael Clichy at Arsenal and Ashley Cole at Chelsea. Liverpool have their own less impressive triumvirate of Andrea Dossena, Aurelio and Insua.

Benitez has shown he is prepared to spend big on full backs when he splashed 17 million pounds on Glen Johnson and 7 million on Dossena and my guess is a bid of somewhere between those two figures could persuade Bayern to part with Lahm, a right-footed left back who was an ever-present in Germany’s World Cup 2010 qualifying campaign.

PHOTO:Real Madrid´s van Nistelrooy celebrates his goal during their Spanish Super Cup final against Valencia in Madrid, Aug 24, 2008 REUTERS/Susana Vera

Comments

Van Nistelroy would hardly be an asset, I think, for a club aiming for a top-four finish. He is not even a pale shadow of the player who struck primal fear into the hearts of United’s opponents during his time at Old Trafford. Lahm could be a good buy but in my opinion, Liverpool’s more pressing need is to find a replacement for Jamie Carragher.

Posted by Magicwand | Report as abusive
 

My gut feeling is that there’s unlikely to be any money made available for Rafa. Given his fractious relationship with Gillett and Hicks I can’t see why they’d back him now; I have a suspicion they’d see the cost of getting rid of him as a better investment than money for a new player.

That said, three excellent choices. Whilst I don’t know a great deal about Mata, he sounds like the sort of thing we need. I’d welcome a loan move for Nistelrooy and Lahm is a great player. We could probably do with all three. Sad state of affairs at Anfield.

Posted by WillJames | Report as abusive
 

The Reds management itself is to blame for their quandary. Poor selection of players acquired, poor management, and lack of oresight in the event of injuries. With the departure of Xavi Alonso, injury to Gerrard and to Torres, the Reds have been very vulnerable. What I don’t like is they are seeking a quick fix to remedy the situation. Might I suggest that they look at how Arsenal built up its present crop of players and copy it. a strong youth system is what is needed.

Posted by luisito | Report as abusive
 

Agree with Magicwand on Van Nistelrooy, although he would still bring something. Bn and get a striker that will be able to deputise for Torreut Liverpool should already look beyond this terrible season. IMHO, David N’Gog does not make the cut.
And, as Benitez did not hesitate to show the door to Robbie Keane, he should not think twice when it comes to putting Glen Johnson on the transfer list. He is more a problem than Andrea Dossena. Johnson is a terrible right back, and I do not say that because of last weekend’s catastrophe. He has been embarrassing for a long time.
As for Mata, I believe he would fit in nicely, indeed

Posted by julienpretot | Report as abusive
 

julien i cant agree with you when it comes to johnson fair enough at times his defending can be bad but who hasent been bad at the back for liverpool at times this season? and all in all johnson has been one of liverpools best players this season the way in which he gets forward is a real asset to liverpools attack to comepare him with dossena is just plain wrong and is by far the best fullback england has as richards is inconsistant brown loves an injury and gary neville is far to old for england!

Posted by Simo89 | Report as abusive
 

THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS THAT BERNITEZ HAS GOT NOTHING TO OFFER ANY MORE. MONEY HAS GOT NOTHING TO DO WITH HIS TACTICS AND LIES. THE GUY IS NOT PREPARED TO ACCEPT ANY WRONG OR BAD SELECTIONS HE ALWAYS READY TO BLAME EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN BUT NOT HIMSELF. MANAGERS TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR PLAYERS INCONSISTENCES NOT OUR MANAGER. HE IS PACK OF EXCUSES. TO BE HONEST HE WOULD DO US A LOT OF FAVOUR BY JUST MOVE ASIDE, HE COULD TAKE HIS FAVOURATE PLAYER LUCAS WITH HIM. ALL THE TEAMS THAT BEAT THE SHIT OUT US HAS NOT GOT HALF OF THE MONEY LIVERPOOL GOT.

Posted by OLATHOMPSON1 | Report as abusive
 

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