With Brendan Rodgers implementing a new playing style at the club and culling several of the high-earning players who were past their prime, by all accounts, last season was a topsy-turvy ride for Liverpool FC.
The Reds though, improved markedly since this January, when boosted by winter transfer window additions, namely Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge, they showed some remarkable cutting edge in the final third, to add to the monopoly in possession, that they showed against most of the teams during the season.
While Luis Suarez’s rather public flirtations with Real Madrid might be a dampener, Liverpool seem to have definitely learnt from the fiasco of last summer, as they look to sort out their transfer dealings before the pre-season has even started.
Kolo Toure’s capture on a free transfer to add experience to the squad, has swiftly been followed by a deal for utility frontman Iago Aspas, who is the kind of forward Brendan Rodgers cherishes. Full of running and commitment, Aspas was a regular goal-threat for Celta Vigo last season.
However it is the potential addition of two attacking midfielders, Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Shakhtar Donetsk and Luis Alberto from Sevilla that have got the fans buzzing.
While Coutinho and Sturridge did ease the pressure on Suarez infront of goal in the second half of last season, Rodgers had often lamented the lack of an attacking midfielder who could guarantee a good haul of goals each season.
The signing of the Armenian would be a coup...
Mkhitaryan, who apparently will cost more than £22m, if he is to be prised away from his Ukrainian employers, is just the kind of player the former Swansea manager needs. Full of pace and movement, the Armenian was also the kind of goal-threat from midfield, which most clubs dream of. Not only did he score 25 goals in the league for Shakhtar, he also covered more ground than any other player, during his club’s Champions League run last season, which is a truly remarkable feat, considering that players of his ilk are often blamed of having a poor work-rate.
With an assured touch and with bagfuls of creativity, coupled with the kind of pressing and harrying that Rodgers expects from his players up the field, Mkhitaryan’s capture would definitely be a coup for the Reds, and would be a vital cog in Liverpool’s push to return to the Champions League arena next campaign.
He might be joined by Luis Alberto from Sevilla. Though the arrival of the Spaniard might receive far less fanfare than Mkhitaryan, if the deal does go through, Liverpool would have added another player who fits extremely well into the philosophy that Rodgers is trying to instill at Anfield.
An attacking midfielder by trade, Alberto can also play on either wing, and that is where he could possibly see most of his game-time. It must be noted that Liverpool now prefers wingers who can cut inside and add to the numbers in the middle, while at the same time having the ability to thread defense splitting passes.
With an ability to play in several positions, Alberto would give Rodgers options in attack...
Alberto has all the above mentioned ability, alongwith composure on the ball, and is not afraid to take-on defenders, with his mazy runs, often tying up defenders in knots.
Playing for the Barcelona “B” side last season, the Spaniard scored 11 goals and racked up an impressive 17 assists, which must have surely played a part in Rodgers pursuing the youngster, keeping in-line with his policy of recruiting young players on lower wages, who have the hunger to prove themselves in the game.
With an assured first touch and great work-rate, the utility attacker will definitely add depth and quality to a Liverpool side, which was at times lacking both, during the last campaign.
And while Luis Suarez’s possible departure would be a big blow to the Reds’ hopes of clinching a Champions League berth, the addition of these two attack oriented players would definitely make the club a more well-rounded and efficient unit.
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