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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Liverpool Need a Striker - But Who?

LIVERPOOL need a new striker. Well, that’s a fact that former Liverpool tactician Rafa Benitez will agree with in totality. The goals simply haven’t been coming for the Merseyside club.

SCORING 18goals in 15matches is not a record a club aiming to finish in the top four and guarantee European football next season would want to be associated with. Heck! Even, Bolton, the team lying rock bottom in the premier league have scored more.

LIVERPOOL’S lack of goals may be down to two reasons. One, the proverbial beauty and the beast partnership between Luis Suarez and Andy Caroll has come to no good. 

THE two were touted as potentially the best strike partnership in the premier league. Suarez was supposed to be the creator, Caroll, the natural finisher. From headers inside the opposition penalty area to left and right foot drives from outside the box. Even Stewart Downing was signed to feed the Geordie’s head with balls, only for the him to nod them in. I wouldn’t want to delve into the problems with Andy Caroll because enough has already been written across the web, some legitimate, some a wee bit shortsighted and off the cuff.

THE second reason has been the profligacy of the players in front of goal. Opta, the match statistics guru will not only tell you that Liverpool have hit the post the most number of times in the premier league – and they continue doing so even in their latest match against Queens Park Rangers – but they’ll also tell you that they have the least chance conversion rate, converting the lowest percentage of shots into goals this season at 8.9%. 

GOALKEEPERS from Manchester United’s David De Gea to Man City’s Joe Hart to Michel Vorm of Swansea have all looked inspired to produce the form of their lives especially at Anfield. They have kept Liverpool from turning a single point into three. But this shouldn’t be used as a scapegoat.

LIVERPOOL seem to be lacking that killer man in the opposition penalty area. A Mario Gomez-esque frontman who does more of scoring than scuffing clear-cut efforts wide.

AND as the January transfer window approaches, the rumours are back and Liverpool, like it always happens when such a period is nigh, is being linked with all manner of players.

MENTIONING Fernando Torres among the likely suitors for Liverpool should be an abomination, given the circumstances under which the Spaniard left the club. But this hasn’t stopped all manner of websites, including the Daily Mail from linking him with a return to a club he ditched for a “bigger team”, Chelsea.

SHOULD Liverpool buy him back? Should they even consider a loan move should that be an option? These are the questions many KOPS are asking themselves now. The answer of course depends on how much the fans think El Nino betrayed the club, and whether you think he could revive that form that saw him bang in 65 goals in only 102 appearances in his 4-year stint at Liverpool. With Chelsea, he’s only managed a return of three goals in 25 appearances.

CRAIG Bellamy returned, so did Robbie Fowler. Michael Owen almost returned. Alonso’s return is still a thought so common in many of the Kopites’ mind. Heck! The King also returned! But the difference lies in the fact that none of these players or the manager handed in a transfer request like Nando did. And none of them insinuated that Liverpool was a smaller team than any of the teams they moved to. Nando did. And that is could prove to be a big problem.

BUT the biggest fix is whether Chelsea will allow the club’s and premier league record signing to leave Stamford Bridge. Villas Boas has already reiterated that Torres will not be sold saying, “'Fernando Torres is not for sale at any price, now or in the summer.”

ALL managers say that, but players still move. Nando is no different. Should Torres decide to put his nightmarish stay in London behind him, it will be at an astronomical loss to the club because I don’t see any club willing to pay anything beyond £30 million for the 27-year-old.

A swap deal with Barcelona which will see David Villa leave Camp Nou for London has been mulled over but I don’t see the La Liga Champions recruiting a player who doesn’t look the bit a player he once was.

VILLA is another player Liverpool has been linked with in recent days. The all-time leading goal scorer for the Spanish national team is reported to have fallen out with Lionel Messi and was dropped from the starting line-up in the crunch El Classico clash with Real Madrid. The latter move added fuel into the speculations that the former Valencia forward was looking into moving to another club, with Chelsea and Liverpool his likely brooding grounds should El Guaje move to England.

THE former Valencia hitman has scored five times in 15 league appearances for the Blaugrana this season and looks certainly a better piece of business than Torres. But with reports indicating that Villa could be out with a broken leg for up to six months (hence eliminating him from any January deals), a transfer looks dead at least until the summer transfer window.

SHOULD Liverpool fail to capture any of these two players, the likes of Lucas Podolski and Mario Gomez can be used as fallback options.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!