Liverpool top gaf Rafael Benitez’s latest dippings into the transfer market have already caused quite a stir this summer. After the pandemonium that greeted the arrival of Fernando Torres last year, Rafa is looking to cement his untouchable status among the Anfield faithful by bringing in Gareth Barry – highly rated by both the Kopites and their influential captain Stevie Gerrard. Much will be pinned on their pair showing the glimpses of midfield dominance occasionally afforded to the England team as the Red’s strive to end their 18 years of Premier League heartache. However, it may be the signings that are NOT made which could shatter Liverpool’s silver vision.
As we look back to the last few seasons under Benitez’s guidance, Liverpool have failed to perform in one crucial area; the wings. Rafa has struggled to find suitable personnel to fit that vital position in his squad, and Liverpool have consequently suffered from a real lack of talent in width. With the torment that was Harry Kewell’s Anfield days finally at an end, we see few examples of real quality in those wide positions. Youngster Ryan Babel has desperately tried to fill that void, but his youth and experience is telling – seemingly being far more effective as an impact sub late on against tired legs. There is no doubting that he will go on to achieve great things, but it is too early for the Dutch wonder-kid to be the consistent creative dynamo that Liverpool need.
Talk of Silva joining Rafa at Anfield seems to have slowly died down, with the rumors of Rafa’s next targets after Barry’s farce of a transfer saga is finally resolved seeming to focus more on strengthening the defensive and forward positions. One has to question if Liverpool can truly mount a sustained challenge without proper investment into the wings?