It was a roller-coaster season for the red half of Merseyside last term as Liverpool came agonisingly close to winning their first league title since 1990.
But with Luis Suarez’s World Cup nibbling episode resulting in a transfer to Barcelona – there’s a 31-goal hole in the Liverpool front line that needs to be plugged sharpish.
1. Loic Remy £8.4m
With the former Marseille, QPR and Newcastle striker flying to Boston for a medical, Liverpool are at pains to point out that he’s been on the club’s radar since 2011 and definitely not a panic buy to shore up the Suarez goal gap.
Remy boasted a 46 per cent strike rate with six goals in 13 games for Harry Redknapp’s QPR before deciding that a trawl through the deadwood of the Championship wasn’t for him and switching to Newcastle on loan last season.
The French international banged in 14 top-flight goals in 24 games for the Magpies for an impressive 58 per cent strike rate – given Alan Pardew’s side inability to string a consistent run of form together.
With pace and power to burn, the 27-year-old could prove a very shrewd bit of business by Brendan Rodgers – especially if Sunderland don’t get second thought over paying £14m for Fabio Borini.
2. Adam Lallana £23.6m
There’s not many Johnstone’s Paints Trophy medal winners who go for £5m more than World Cup and 12-trophy man Toni Kroos.
But Brendan Rodgers insists that there was always going to be a premium for buying ‘British’ players like Adam Lallana (26). Given that three of the four ‘British’ national sides failed to make the World Cup finals in Brazil and England were irrelevant, that statement is either to be taken with a large dose of an alkaline substance or Rodgers may know he’s overpaid.
What the Liverpool manager will get though is a two-footed, versatile midfielder with 12 goals and 14 assists in 68 Premier League matches. Lallana’s 84 per cent pass completion rate and strong pressing skills could be tailored-made for the Liverpool system but he needs to hang onto the ball in possession longer particularly as the Reds play Champions League football for the first time since 2009.
Reportedly already impressing his news boss in Boston with his work-rate, the all rounder who grafts hard on and off the ball should make his debut against Olympiakos on Sunday in Chicago after the Reds’ 1-0 injury-time loss to Roma on Wednesday night .
3. Emre Can £10m
Old timer Steven Gerrard doesn’t get to cover the ground like he used to and was badly exposed during the World Cup.
The Liverpool skipper will have to be used sparingly this season – especially with a Champions League campaign to factor in – and German signing Emre Can could slot into an attacking midfield role straight away.
Comfortable on the ball, Can’s versatility is a manager’s wet dream having played left-back in his breakout season at Bayern Munich as well as defensive, central and attacking midfield-roles in his 39 games at Bayer Leverkusen last season – although he may miss out on the International tournament in the States after picking up a knock in the 2-1 win over Preston last wekend.
The one blind spot for the £10m signing is his indiscipline. Picked up 13 yellow cards and a Champions League red (against PSG) last season. Expect his mettle to be tested in the Merseyside derby.
4. Lazar Markovic £20m
A big player in Benfica’s amaze-balls treble season last term and scored five goals in 26 Primeira Liga games.
Will add some much-needed experience to Liverpool’s European adventure as the Serbian international made five Champions League and eight Europa League appearances en route to a defeat by Sevilla on penalties in the final.
Favours playing on the left of a three-man attack and his pace, dribbling ability and versatility on either flank will be a big bonus as Liverpool make tactical switches from domestic games to European competition and in the white-heat of a the big Premier League clashes.
Markovic (20) made his internatioal debut for Serbia at 17 and should make his Liverpool debut against Olympiakos in Chicago on Sunday.
5. Rickie Lambert £4m
Almost 17 years a pro has come full circle for Rickie Lambert as Liverpool’s first and most surprising signing of the season returns to his roots.
Released by the academy in 1997 as a 15-year-old one-time journeyman – his goalscoring in the lower leagues attracted Southampton and he became the main man in the Saints’ back-to-back promotions to the Premier League.
Seen as a more traditional No 9 for those games when Liverpool have to win ‘ugly’ the perceived wisdom is that he’ll be used as a bit player or impact sub when the Reds have to get down and dirty.
But Rodgers has praised the 6′ 2″ striker’s touch and ability to bring others into play as well as his aerial prowess even if half his 28 league goals in two seasons have come from either set pieces or penalties (10) and never missed a penalty (34) for the Saints.
Capable of doing a job when needed – and unlike some of their past high-profile signings – (we’re looking at you Andy Carroll) Liverpool didn’t break the bank to get him.