Going in to Boxing Day, a merriment existed in the air which had been so desperately lacking in recent years.

Much to everyone's surprise, Liverpool were top of the league - but alas, it was not to last. Two consecutive away defeats against Chelsea and Manchester City exposed the Anfield outfit's greatest problem - the lack of depth in their squad.

In the absence of talismanic skipper Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge, the Reds had been pretty much playing the same eleven day in day out.

The fatigued stars gave it their all, but came in short against teams in much better shape, attained purely because their superior squad depths gave them the chance to occasionally rest their biggest stars.

And it is exactly this area that has caught Brendan Rodgers's eyes, as he looks to improve upon his slim squad in the winter window.

Left Back

As of now, Liverpool's greatest need seems to be a new left back. The erratic form of Jose Enrique, combined with his incessant injury problems prompted Rodgers to bring in Aly Cissokho on loan from Valencia in the summer.

However, the continuing injury problems of Enrique and the uninspiring performances from Cissokho meant that youth team product John Flanagan has been the most used left back for Liverpool.

And impressive as he was, Flanagan cannot be counted upon to produce the same level of play day in - day out - and so a new left back is number one priority.

Possible Targets

Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea): The Englishman was reported to be Rodgers' initial choice in the summer, but he opted to stay and fight for his place at Chelsea.

But six months down the line, having played only a single match so far in the Premier League, and with Ashley Cole and Cesar Azpilicueta in front of him in the pecking order, the Champions League winner may rethink his stance if an offer from Liverpool presents itself again.

Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg): The Swiss international has been in inspiring form for the German club, prompting Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City to cast admiring glances in his direction.

However, among these teams, Liverpool do hold a good chance of landing the youngster as they are the only heavyweights who can guarantee the player regular first team football.

Center Midfielder

At first look, Liverpool seem to be reasonably well stocked in this department with the likes of Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva to call upon. But Rodgers' penchant to play three in the centre means that the Northern Irishman has just one player to call upon from the substitutes bench, with the exception of on-loan Chelsea man Victor Moses. In this scenario, reinforcements are indeed needed in this department.

Possible Targets

Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla): When Sevilla sold both Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo last summer, most pundits expected them to struggle. And though they have struggled at points this season, Rakitic's form has ensured that they are still in the running for Champions League football next season. With the Croatian's contract running out in 18 months, Sevilla might be compelled to sell if the price is right. 

Yann M'Vila (Rubin Kazan): The presence of the French international in the recent Merseyside derby has fueled rumours that the player is headed for Anfield. A middle ground between the more attacking minded Henderson and the tough tackling Lucas, M'Vila has the credentials to slot right into the Reds' midfield. M'Vila is also understood to be on the lookout for greener pastures to push his name into the reckoning for the World Cup in six months time.

Will Hughes (Derby County): Arguably the hottest prospect in the Championship right now, the England Under-21 international has been in supreme from this season, and has been one of the key reasons for Derby's impressive showing in the Championship this season where they are in the running for promotion. And Liverpool's good relations with The Rams (youngster Andre Wisdom is currently on loan at Derby) make this a deal would spark little surprise if it happened.

Winger

The lack of quality wingers at Anfield has seen Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho play almost every match uncontested on the wings. While these two have played admirably, the busy schedule Liverpool are facing means that Liverpool may have their work cut out if they keep on playing these two players. Thus, this remains an area of concern for Brendan Rodgers.

Possible Transfers

Mohamed Salah (Basel): The Swiss side's star in both their victories against Chelsea in the Champions League group stages, Salah - dubbed as 'Egyptian Messi' has been touted as a possible transfer target for the Reds. If recent reports are accurate, then Liverpool look to be beating Manchester United and Chelsea to the African's signature.

Yevhen Konoplyanka (Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk): The Ukrainian international winger is another who has been in inspired form for both club and country this season. And now seems just about the right time for him to test his mettle at the highest stage. A team player with great pace, vision, pace and creativity, the exciting 24-year-old won't come cheap. The fact that he is being monitored by a host of other clubs will not help either. 

Abel Hernandez (Palermo): The Uruguayan international striker/winger has set Serie B alight this season, as his club Palermo find themselves on top of the league at the moment. The player has already got 11 goals for the club in 17 matches and would prove to be a cheaper option to Salah and Konoplyanka. However, the fact that his primary position is that of a striker, and there is very little need for another striker at Liverpool, means that this deal is highly unlikely during this window.

Cristian Tello (Barcelona): With the Barcelona starlet getting increasingly frustrated with lack of opportunities at Camp Nou, it is understood that he will be looking for a move to increase his chances of making Spain's World Cup squad. The Spain international is also wanted by Valencia though, and is also understood to prefer a move closer to home.

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Topics:
#Liverpool
#Premier League
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