You don’t have to look too far nor too wide in order to find someone who will put Liverpool’s failure to win the Premier League title this season down to the disparity in quality between their back line, and their frontline.
So long as Brendan Rodgers doesn’t mysteriously lose the ability to think logically over the summer then he will return to his duties in the knowledge that one area, above all else, needs to be fixed if his team are to enjoy sustainable success. The likes of Adam Lallana, Yevhen Konoplyanka and Dani Parejo may be the touted targets with the summer transfer window looming, but it’s Liverpool’s defence that needs to be addressed as a most urgent priority.
Experience, consistency and genuine quality are the three key elements that Rodgers must inject into his Anfield back four with next season’s conquests in mind, and generally speaking there’s a limited supply of players who encompass all of those traits. But whilst many of the Liverpool boss’ peers can be found scouring Spain, Portugal and France in order to acquire such individuals, it would be nothing short of foolish for Rodgers to look anywhere other than west London. More specifically, Chelsea.
It just so happens that the Blues are now virtually destined to relinquish the services of Ashley Cole this summer, and none can deny that amongst his ageing skill set experience, consistency and genuine quality aren’t to be found. The now former England international has about as much pedigree as any manager could ask for, having enjoyed a lengthy career which has seen him dominate the left full-back position at both Arsenal and Chelsea.
With regards to the consistency of his game one need only look at his record for his national side to see that he is an incredibly capable performer game after game. In his 107 appearances for England he’s put barely a foot wrong, and the fact that he’s been widely regarded as the king-pin of left-backs for the better part of the last decade is telling of his reliability whilst he goes about his business. Then there’s his actual footballing ability, and the question mark that currently hangs over his capabilities of remaining at the very top level of the sport moving forward.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s clear to see that the days when Cole could look forward to penning five-year deals are well and truly behind him, but he is exactly the type of player who could come in and do Rodgers a job at the back for at least next season. He may not be considered as in-his-prime as Leighton Baines, nor as exuberant and exciting as the marauding Luke Shaw, but his level-headedness would serve the Reds well in their pursuit of the ever elusive title they crave so much. Plus there can be no arguing with the fact that he remains one of the best left-sided defenders in the Premier League, and he’d be a vast improvement on what Liverpool currently boast.
On top of that there remains just one realistic reported rival for his signature in the form of mega-rich French contenders Monaco. A switch to Ligue 1, and the subsequent millions on the table, would be intriguing for Cole if he intends on calling time on his career sooner rather than later, but surely the chance to hit back at Jose Mourinho and Chelsea for an apparent lack of faith would be high on the 33-year-old’s agenda.
He may not be deemed good enough for Chelsea anymore, and Roy Hodgson’s World Cup snub has hardly done wonders for his reputation. There’s every chance however that Rodgers could get himself a very capable defender to sure up his shaky defence, if he can just beat Monaco to Cole.