As the season comes to an end all eyes and ears will be fixated on who Liverpool will sign in the transfer window. The club has not been particularly successful in this area since Brendan Rodgers took over as manager three seasons ago. The Reds can only count Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho as successful transfers in the last six windows as Liverpool fans have been constantly disappointed with the infamous ‘transfer-committee’ botching signings on a regular basis.
The fans remember all too well the disappointments of missing out on players such as Sanchez, Willian, Mkhitaryan and so on. It has been a constant trend and one that needs to change this summer. Rodgers and the committee have spent a total of 242.95 million on player recruitment since taking over in 2012, which shows that the owners have not shied away from allowing him the finances to splash the cash. Unfortunately, the transfer committee has been incapable of convincing the high-profile players to join the team. Even with being the most entertaining team in the division last season scoring over 100 goals, the committee was unable to charm Alexis Sanchez to join as he opted for Arsenal due to a location preference. Yes, Liverpool is not the most glamorous place to live; however, it is the duty of the transfer committee to persuade players on the project being built at the club.
This summer Liverpool is going to oversee the departures of many experienced players. Of course, the biggest departure is that of Steven Gerrard, yet, there are players like Glen Johnson, Kolo Toure, Rickie Lambert and Brad Jones that are also expected to leave Anfield. The average age of Liverpool for the current season is 25.2 years, which is the second only to Tottenham in the Premier League. With the expected departures of the names mentioned, the average age is likely to drop to just over 24 years, making Liverpool the youngest team in the division.
Rodgers is renowned for developing youth talent, and since taking over has mainly focussed his efforts on signing young players with the hope of developing them into top class talent. However, Rodgers and his committee must look to bring in some much-needed experience into the squad. A blend of youth and experience creates the perfect balance for a football club with the young players feeding off the experience of the older players. Losing a character like Gerrard from the dressing room is going to be an impossible task to fulfil as is with the departures of others like Johnson and Toure, who may not be missed as much on the field, but their effect on the dressing room will certainly require replacement.
Liverpool have been strongly linked with the likes of James Milner for the past couple of months and he is exactly the type of player the club should be looking to sign. Milner is a 29-year old experienced England international who will not only inject a wealth of experience in the squad, but also provide versatility across the middle of the park. He will be able to assist and guide his England teammate and expected Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson with his experience through the season. The fact that his wages will be high coming from Manchester City should not deter Liverpool. He is available on a free transfer which should allow the club to pay him higher wages.
The one area the club needs some serious reinvestment in is the forward line. From scoring a mammoth 101 goals in 2013/14 at an average of 2.66 goals per game, the clubs average has dropped markedly this season to 1.39 goals per game having scored only 50 goals. Yes, the club lost a peripheral figure in Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge to injury, but the failure to sign a prolific striker severely dented the clubs chances of finishing in the top four. The signings of Balotelli and Lambert have just not worked and Liverpool must sign a striker who comes with experience and a track record of scoring goals.
Someone like Pedro from Barcelona would be an ideal candidate. He has been a part of the Barcelona setup for 8 years and at 27 years of age, will bring with him experience as well as goalscoring threat. With his game time limited, due to the brilliance of Messi, Suarez and Neymar, he will be looking to move to a club where he will get regular game time and Liverpool would be the ideal destination for him. Sturridge cannot be trusted to lead the line due to his injury history, which would mean giving Pedro the task of leading the forward line. His versatility to play across the front 3 is another appealing factor that Rodgers tends to look at when signing players.
Since Liverpool do not have the comfort of using Champions League as a means to lure potential recruits, the club must be willing to pay over the odds to get the transfers they require. It is most certainly a high risk given financial fair play could affect the team, but it is a risk the owners must be willing to take if they are to have any chance of competing for the top four next season.