It is no secret that the one thing Liverpool lack - and have done since last season - is firepower. For all their intricate passing and constantly creating chances, they lack regular goalscorers in the side, apart from Luis Suarez. Steven Gerrard is not scoring goals as frequently as he did in his prime, Fabio Borini's lengthy injury layoff means he will have to start all over again as he tries to assimilate himself in to the side, and Raheem Sterling is far from the finished article, and his erratic finishing is to be expected. They need at least two attacking signings in January - something Brendan Rodgers admitted himself - if they have any serious aspirations of challenging for a top four place (which, given the inconsistency of any team that doesn't originate from Manchester, is anyone's game). With that in mind, here are five relatively realistic and attainable transfer targets that could help kick-start the Reds season:
Wilfried Bony (Vitesse Arnhem)
The powerful Ivorian has already been mooted as the potential heir to Didier Drogba's throne as focal point of the national team attack, and, according to his agent, both Chelsea and Liverpool recently enquired about his availability. Having been prolific for Sparta Prague, he has continued that impressive form to Holland, where he scored 30 goals in 49 appearances, and currently heads the Eredivisie scoring charts. The success rate of players moving from Holland to England is certainly hit and miss, but the man he would be coming to help out didn't turn out too bad.
Liverpool had Bony on trail in 2007, but a move never materialised. Now he has proven himself to be a capable striker, though, the Reds could rekindle their interest providing the price is right. He's could easily play as a lone forward, and would be particularly useful away from home where Suarez's tendency to constantly make something can sometimes lead to them struggling to keep the ball in the opposition half to create chances. Despite his success this season playing the central role, there is always the option of playing Suarez off the main forward; he's good enough to play well in any of the attacking positions.
Heung-Min Son (Hamburg)
The Bundesliga has done a fantastic job of importing the finest players from Asian football over recent, and Heung-Min Son of Hamburg looks to be another fantastic talent. The influx of Asian players in the German league is peculiar as they have mostly been a roaring success and cost next to nothing; however, other leagues have not yet seemed to have tapped in to the Asian market with such regularity. He joined HSV when he was 16, Min Son came up through the ranks and after initially struggling to adapt to the demands of first team football, he has exploded on to the scene this season.
After scoring a brace against champions Borussia Dortmund which led to their first league defeat in 31 games, he followed it up with another wonder striker against Greuther Furth and has already scored 6 goals in 13 games this season. Whilst he was played out wide for most of last season, he’s only 20 and it’s too early to say where his best position is as he has had to alternate between the wide positions and upfront - but he has the all of the strengths to play up front. He is more of a ‘project’ than any of the other alternative but fits in with FSG's philosophy and Rodgers has proved himself to be wholly capable of developing young talent, and Min Son will only get better the more he plays.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Saint-Etienne)
It’s strange that Aubameyang is still relatively unheard of in the footballing world, as if you’d seen him play for Les Verts you would wonder how one of the most exciting players in Europe has flown under the radar for so long. Having come up through the youth ranks at Milan, the French-born Gabonese forward failed to make an impact in Italy as a forward or a winger in his early years, and was forced to go out on loan in France to make a name for himself. Spells at Dijon, Lille and Monaco brought varied degrees of success, but it wasn’t until he joined Cristophe Galtier’s ASSE last season that he really showed his true potential, finishing the season behind only Olivier Giroud, Nene and Eden Hazard in the Ligue 1 top scorer standings.
He has continued this season is similar fashion, with 8 goals in 14 games he is establishing himself as one of the most prolific young forwards in Europe. Physically he's perfect for the Premier League, and he’s a nightmare for defenders to play against. He can play as a lone forward, or play off the main striker coming in from the wide positions; he likes to drop off in to the channels, and is just as likely to create a goal as he is to score it. Aubameyang has all the tools to be a force, and according to reports would likely cost less than what Montpellier received from Arsenal for Giroud, which would be tremendous value. He'd be the perfect foil for Luis Suarez.
Loic Remy (Marseille)
Remy's current position in the South of France is peculiar. He's by far and away their best forward, yet due to financial difficulties l'OM appear to be willing to sell him, and not for a particularly extravagant fee, either - €10m is the fee banded about. He won't be short of potential suitors, and Chelsea, QPR as well as Liverpool have been linked with a move for him. He has struggled with a thigh injury that kept him out of Euro 2012, and has been problematic throughout this campaign, but as long as a thorough medical shows no permanent damage he'd be a potential bargain for whoever signs him.
His pace makes him a real threat when playing on the shoulder of the last defender, whilst he is a threat in the air, making him effective when playing against both the bigger teams who will look to attack, and the smaller teams who will focus on defending. His versatility is important, too, particularly for teams who don’t play with two up front, so his ability to effectively play in both of the wide forward roles as well as through the middle is an invaluable trait to have. Liverpool would be crazy to pass up on a player of his quality; he'd offer something different to Borini and Suarez, and he has proven he can score goals.
Martin Harnik (Stuttgart)
Martin Harnik has been transformed from an inconsistent striker in to one of the most prolific wide men on the continent over the past couple of seasons; he has scored more than the likes of Arjen Robben, Frank Ribery, Shinji Kagawa, Mario Gotze, Andre Schurrle, Jefferson Farfan and Mario Mandzukic over the past two seasons -and, when you consider how poor Stuttgart were two seasons ago, that is no mean feat. His size and attributes make him an unconventional winger, but his offers a mismatch against opposing full backs who he often holds the size advantage over. He formed a strong understanding with Vedad Ibsevic, but the prospect of him forming something similar with Luis Suarez is scary.
Like Theo Walcott, Harnik may prefer to play a central role, but his production from out wide is unquestionable. He'd offer a nice complement to Raheem Sterling on the other flank as Harnik is tall, more direct and regularly gets in to the box, and, if there's one thing you could question about Sterling - even though he's still in the infancy of his career - it's his ability to score goals regularly; he often gets himself in to good positions but struggles to convert chances - but that should come with experience. He's on a long-term contract, so wouldn't come cheap, but it would be money well spent.