Liverpool have suffered a stuttering start to the season, as they continue to rebuild and regroup following last season’s title challenge and the loss of Luis Suarez. Most fans expected a period of transition whilst the club’s summer signings settled into the squad, however, despite their summer spending, the squad has found itself looking deficient in places. Injuries continue to disrupt the starting line-up – predominantly the fault of the repeated international breaks -, whilst defensive errors and goalkeeping mishaps have, if anything, increased this season. Here’s five players Liverpool could look to target to alleviate those problems:
GK – Victor Valdes, 32, unattached
Liverpool have long been mooted with a move for the ex-Barcelona goalkeeper, with reports of an imminent short-term deal refusing to leave the backpages of many English and Spanish media outlets. It is no secret that Liverpool have been in the pursuit of a new goalkeeper, after Simon Mignolet’s sharp decline in form, and a one-year deal for an experienced ‘sweeper keeper’ such as Valdes may prove to be a very canny move.
GK – Simone Scuffet, 18, Udinese
Valdes may prove to be an effective short-term solution; however, Liverpool should look to invest in a young, talented goalkeeper who can make the role his own for the next ten years. For this, Liverpool should look no further than Simone Scuffet. At only 18 years old, Scuffet has made a meteoric rise into the Udinese first team, playing 16 league games and keeping his place with a string of highly impressive performances. If Liverpool have any sense, they will allow him to mature and perform for Udinese on loan until the time is right to recall him, much like Thibaut Courtois at Chelsea.
CB – Matija Nastasic, 21, Manchester City
Nastasic, despite performing fairly well in his time at City, has largely become the forgotten man at Eastlands. With Pellegrini choosing to alternate between Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis partnering Vincent Kompany, Nastasic has been relegated to the bench this season, failing to make a single appearance so far. Following Liverpool’s penchant for picking up talented young players sidelined at wealthy clubs, surely Nastasic could be worth a punt?
CM – Dele Alli, 18, Milton Keynes Dons
Liverpool’s pursuit of Dele Alli – a player once described as “the new Steven Gerrard” – has been a protracted one. The midfielder is emerging at MK Dons as one of the most exciting talents of recent years, scoring 12 goals in 44 games from midfield at 18 years old. MK Dons boss Karl Robinson – a former coach at Liverpool’s academy – has often remarked of Liverpool’s interest, and has hinted many times that Alli is on the verge of a move to a larger club. This deal looks almost certain to happen at some point, and may very well go through in January.
ST – Divock Origi, 19, Lille
This move is not so much a transfer as the cancellation of a loan, but is probably the most important move that Liverpool could make in January. Liverpool paid £10m for Origi in the summer of 2014, prior to his emergence in the World Cup for Belgium, and yet were forced by Lille to include a loan-back clause in order for Origi to remain as the star of their front-line. However, Daniel Sturridge’s injury has left Liverpool looking incredibly suspect up-front. Mario Balotelli, despite some promising performances, has failed to flourish as a lone striker, whereas Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini do not appear to be of the quality required to replace Sturridge. Origi, on the other hand, looks made for Liverpool – quick, incisive and clinical. Liverpool should do all they can to sever the loan deal early and bed Origi in sooner rather than later.