Why The Next 4 Weeks Are Vital In Liverpool's Rebirth As A PL & CL Force

With Aspas, Moses and Cissokho clearly not up to it, we need to balance the need for bodies with an even greater need for quality if we truly are to prove we're back...
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With Aspas, Moses and Cissokho clearly not up to it, we need to balance the need for bodies with an even greater need for quality if we truly are to prove we're back...

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There is a theory prevalent amongst Liverpool Twitter feeds at the moment that Brendan Rodgers' use of 17 year old Brad Smith as a second half substitute against Chelsea was a none too subtle message to Liverpool's owners that his squad is thin and he would like some money to spend this week please.

This may or may not be the case (let's be honest though, we all believe that it is) but should anybody need convincing that a few unfortunately placed injuries can highlight the paucity of depth of talent then a sodden New Year's Day Anfield should have served as notice enough of the need to invest during January.

Sturridge injured, Sakho hamstrung after establishing himself as first choice central defender, Joe Allen's abductor stricken as he was once again showing evidence of his early promise, Jose Enrique still missing, Jon Flanagan having usurped Enrique as left back another hamstring victim, the returning Gerrard on bench duties.

In the absence of major figures Rodgers has been unable to rotate his team across the demanding festive period; accordingly, Liverpool begin 2014 a full 4 places lower in the league than they had been only 7 days before.

The 1st of January wasn't about a relatively docile Liverpool achieving reparation for their embarrassment on Humberside with an uneventful 2-0 win over a Hull side that presented Simon Mignolet with the easiest afternoon that he is likely to encounter all year via a Daniel Agger header from a corner and yet another world class Luis Suarez free kick. It wasn't even about the fact that the win would have been far more convincing had either Jordan Henderson or Phillippe Coutinho capitalised on open goal opportunities in the first half.

What was evident here was the peril of being forced to shop for bargains due to limited resource and lack of Champions League football and three players stood as testament to this limitation:

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Aly Cissokho; on loan from Valencia, a limited left back at best and targeted all afternoon by an equally limited Hull side, his only contribution to the spectacle a succession of clearances into touch. On the one occasion that he found himself in space with a chance of bearing down on the Hull goal an obvious panic overcame him; it was possible to observe the confusion that filled his entire being from the rear of The Kop. Not good enough.

Victor Moses; a substitute appearance for another loanee, this time from Chelsea. And their reasons for allowing him to leave for the season are readily apparent. It would be difficult to imagine a player looking less interested in their role; he doesn't track back, he doesn't take on defenders, he doesn't threaten, what does he do? Answers on a postcard please.

Speaking of mystifying figures - Iago Aspas. Iago Aspas, winner of the 'this year's Fabio Borini' trophy; too lightweight, no touch, no awareness of the shape of the game, Aspas actually manages to become less impressive with every appearance. Another player that is quite simply not good enough but at least we can send the other two back at the end of the season, we need to find somebody that will pay at least some of the £7m that we parted with last summer, not to mention his £1.5m a year salary.

Of our other summer signings the jury remains out on both Luis Alberto and Thiago Ilori (another £13m all told) until Brendan Rodgers actually plays either.

If the Brad Smith substitution was political you would imagine that John Henry will only be willing to part with money if he is sure that it will be well spent. Notably our highest outlay last summer was on Mamadou Sakho who has settled well and started to look indispensable. It may be obvious but £17m gets you more of a player than £7m, the battle now is between Rodgers' need for numbers and need for quality.

I'm well aware that I'm complaining after a relatively comfortable (if mostly unentertaining and somewhat frustrating) win that placed Liverpool back into the top four and within clear sight of the leaders but the fact is we are in the top four, this is the most advantageous position that we have occupied in the last few years, this is quite definitely the time to strengthen if we intend to push on.

The next four weeks could be utterly vital for Liverpool Football Club.