Liverpool are in a crisis and Kenny Dalglish does not know what to do about it.
Granted, it’s probably not one that will see them plummet down the Barclays Premier League table, but one that could seriously hamper their participation in the Europa League, never mind Europe’s premier cup competition.
This crisis is down to goals, and Liverpool’s inability to score sufficient amounts of them.
This problem was laid bare in the shock loss at Bolton Wanderers this past Saturday evening, where an unusually lax defensive display was compounded by their inability to score more than one goal.
Dalglish has tried everything; he tried Andy Carroll up front by himself and the £35million man floundered, Dirk Kuyt was given an opportunity and his ineffectiveness was matched only by his wastefulness when an opportunity arrived.
With Luis Suarez still suspended, and staying so until the game with Tottenham in two weeks, the Anfield club need to make an addition who is going to consistently trouble defences.
Here are five of those around who may arrive to alleviate the crisis or just some Liverpool fans would like to see.
1) Nikica Jelavic, Rangers
The Rangers striker has scored freely in his year-and-a-half with the Scottish champions and could provide some much needed confidence into the forward line. He is good in the air and has a sound touch, so could provide a different option to what it already there.
Verdict: Probable – Jelavic’s father has claimed he close to joining Liverpool.
2) Moussa Sow, Lille
The powerful forward from Lille has a terrific scoring record over the past two seasons and would certainly provide some goal threat. He is quick and finishes well with both feet – his effectiveness is illustrated by the fact he was Ligue 1 top scorer last year. However, the Reds will have to act quick as reports Sow has joined Turkish side Fenerbache have been rife in the past week. They would also have to wait for him to return from Africa Cup of Nations duty in February.
Verdict: Possible – Lille are willing to sell and Sow is willing to leave, but the price could be a stumbling block.
3) Darren Bent, Aston Villa
If it is goals you want, then Darren Bent is usually your man. He has consistently found the net over his past few seasons in the Barclays Premier League with both Sunderland and Villa. One common criticism of Bent is that he has not done it for a big team at the highest level, but Liverpool’s recent past suggest a team firmly outside of English football’s elite. An injection of goals from a proven finisher could be just what Liverpool need to boost their top four chances.
Verdict: Expensive – It would be a hefty price, but Villa would ultimately have to sell and Liverpool aren’t averse to shelling out big sums.
4) Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Sporting Lisbon
The Dutchman was a hit, and apparently much sought-after, in his time at Utrecht but it was the Portuguese side who managed to secure his signing. Since moving to the Iberians, van Wolfswinkel has shown some impressive form. He his strong, direct and the timing of his runs is impeccable, along with sure finishing ability. He would be a great improvement on Andy Carroll but also has the versatility to play in a number of positions in attack.
Verdict: Intriguing – Sporting have in the past not been able to hold on to their best players, but van Wolfswinkel is unproven to a degree and possibly overpriced.
5)Demba Ba, Newcastle United
Another Senegalese striker at the Africa Cup of Nations, but Liverpool’s problems were there when Suarez was available and Ba has been in sensational form. His physicality has troubled many defences this season, while his finishing has been second to none – he has already scored 15 league goals this season. It will be hard to convince Newcastle to part with their main man up front, but Ba reportedly has a release clause in his contract worth around £8million – a cheap investment in his current form.
Verdict: Unlikely – Liverpool need someone now and may not be willing to wait, as well as Ba declaring allegiance to the Toon.
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