In the wake of Luis Suarez departing and Liverpool spending big in the transfer market I will here give my verdict on the effects it will have on the upcoming season and longterm. And what I think lies behind the transfer strategy.
When Luis Suarez left the opinions have altered between: it is impossible to replace him or wishes and demands that Liverpool buy another big name to replace him.
My take is that you can´t replace Suraez with a single player. I guess the manager Brendan Rodgers and his staff shares that view. So what´s the answer to the issue? Well, it came out the other day in the press when the manager said that the goal for the coming season is to be in the top four. He had earlier said that Liverpool now needed to win trophies but I think the comment about fourth place is the one that best summons up the ambitions for the season 2014/15.
If Suarez had stayed then Liverpool would have aimed for the title. Now most people understand that such a goal is almost out of reach. Not only did he score 31 league goals, assist to almost half that sum and was the instigator to a lot of the attacking from the Reds. He also created space for others through his hard work and running. The thing that Liverpool will miss the most though is none of this, it´s something you can´t buy. The fear Suarez struck into defences.
Every defender in the Premier League was terrified of Luis Suarez, especially when he came at them with the ball at his feet. They knew it was a good chance that they soon would look like a fool at the same time as Suarez wheeled away after nutmegging and scoring. This fear made them defend worse.
This kind of fear is absent from Liverpool´s armoury this season. And it takes a few seasons for a player, or a team, to create it. Rodgers know this and realizes that a title assault isn´t probable this time around. He won´t say it out loud of course but the way he is approaching the transfer market points to this. He is collecting a lot of young talent and has the future in mind. And subsequently follows the idea of the owners. But I suspect Rodgers has an idea of his own.
That is to make the coming season a one for rebuilding and above all letting young players develope and grow in stature and ability. The aim for Liverpool this season is to continue to play attractive and quick football, reach the top four, make a good account for themselves in the Champions League and perhaps pick up a domestic cup.
Without Suarez Liverpool has lost many components that can´t be restored straight away. So the ambition level has to be lowered a bit for a season. At this stage there is no point in bringing in a forward for 50 million pounds, somone like Edinson Cavani och Radamel Falcao. Okay, on paper it would be great. But who knows if the new star can adapt to PL directly and score 25 goals. Which is a minimum requirement for such a expensive purchase. And what if the player breaks his leg in the first match? Not particularly well spent money then. Another resaon to not spend 50 million on either of these two is that they are 27 respectively 28 years of age and noone in that age is worth 50 million.
A better strategy, and the one I think the manager goes for, is to build a team where several players can be ones to fear. That´s why we haven´t seen a big name attacker coming in. Brendan Rodgers is hoping that Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Lazar Markovic, Philippe Coutinho and Jordon Ibe in the near future can be a quintet of fear.
But not this season, it´s to soon.
This season though, the Reds need at least one more striker. Loic Remy would have fitted the bill. Now it´s getting more and more difficult tog get one. But it´s a must because Daniel Sturridge is probably gonna miss at least 8-10 games through injury and we need a top class replacement. Rickie Lambert can´t fill that void, neither can Fabio Borini, if he stays. It´s high time to really make a huge effort to bring in Marco Reus or someone of similar class, and in a fairly young and developing age, in the 20 million pound bracket. Okay, Reus is not a recognised striker but could certainly occupy that position for a handful of games.
Naturally I hope I am wrong in my prediction that Liverpool won´t win the league 2014/15. And I won´t give up until it´s mathematically impossible.
And whatever happens, as always:
We Go Again.