Liverpool have lost too many leaders, and need to buy strong personalities in January…
In the last 18 months Liverpool have lost Jamie Carragher, Pepe Reina, Daniel Agger, and by next summer Steven Gerrard will have also left the Anfield club, leaving them bereft of leaders on the pitch.
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While Gerrard has always held the captains armband under Brendan Rodgers’ stewardship, the Kop boss has lost three players who were well accustomed to taking the role in the midfielder’s absence – and they simply have not been replaced.
Anfield legend Jimmy Case told reporters late last year that the Reds would have won the Premier League had they kept Carragher for one more season, while supporters must crave a new defensive partnership of the quality of Carragher and Agger.
Liverpool missed out on their first top flight title win in over two decades last season, despite scoring over 100 league goals. Much of the blame for their narrow miss was directed at a defence that conceded 50 goals, and struggled without their long-time leader.
Those issues have continued once again this season, with new signing Dejan Lovren failing to live up to expectations. Rodgers has recently changed to a back three, but has been forced to use midfielder Emre Can in the position in recent weeks, due to injury problems.
Kolo Toure – who couldn’t even get near the squad last season – now arguably finds himself as the club’s key man, alongside Martin Skrtel, while young full-backs Javier Manquillo and Alberto Moreno have endured a mixed start to the season.
How Liverpool fans must also miss Reina – frozen out by Rodgers – when they consider the struggles of current number one Simon Mignolet, whose mistake-littered season has had even more pressure placed upon it by the recent injury to number two Brad Jones.
Gerrard – an integral part of the Reds midfield for well over a decade – will leave an even bigger hole to fill, not just on the field, but off it. The skipper held great influence at Anfield, and was key to Luis Suarez’s decision to remain at the club last season.
Suarez has described Gerrard as ‘irreplaceable’, but that is the task facing Rodgers and co in the current transfer window, and upcoming summer market. This is priority number one, and should have been something the club have been planning for over several months.
Jordan Henderson has been billed as Gerrard’s potential replacement, both as a player and as a captain. That is a lot of pressure to place on a young player. Gerrard had support from the likes of Carragher, Agger and Reina, and Henderson will need a similar group alongside him.
Rodgers had made a habit of signing exciting young players in recent transfer windows, but if there was a time to sign a slightly more experienced pro, ready to step into his team and help them in a difficult transition period, this would surely be it.
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