A heartbreak end to what was an iconic season for Liverpool. With the title theirs to lose, they found themselves getting hurt by nerves, the pressure quite literally got to them. Nevertheless, The Reds impressed throughout last season, making up for their porous defence by scoring over 100 goals in the League.
The centre part of this system was the sensational form of strike partners Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez who netted 52 times between them, more than 11 of the clubs in the league. When Suarez departed from Merseyside to join a certain Catalan giant, Liverpool were left with a hugely difficult job to try and replicate the form and the class that he brought.
Suarez left for around £70 Million and he was replaced by Ricky Lambert and Mario Balotelli, the latter bought for a very hefty fee – and big things were expected of the Italian. The least said about his one Premier League goal, the better then, eh? Daniel Sturridge could not continue his form from the last season after sustaining an injury at the end of September which kept him out for five months. Just nine games into his return to the side he sustained yet another injury, which put him out until the end of the season.
It tells just how poorly Liverpool have dealt with Suarez’s departure that Everton’s defenders have scored more goals than their new, and makeshift, strike-force this season. Sturridge, Lambert, Balotelli and Borini have 8 goals put together, whilst Everton’s defenders have 9… Awkward. It’s a crucial summer for Liverpool. They have to make the right choices on who to purchase in regards to the attack. They simply can’t go on with the strikers they have now, so which four strikers could potentially be playing in the red of Liverpool next year?
The Burnley striker’s contract is up this summer, and even though he started his debut Premier League season off superbly, his goals have certainly dried up recently. 9 goals in his first season is not a bad return at all, and the 21 year old still has time on his side. Making nine appearances for the England U21 team – he definitely has a huge future in the top flight.
With the Turf Moor team all but down, Ings has been linked with Liverpool for the most part of the season – and Brendan Rodgers was interested in a deal back in January. He seems to have attracted attention by Louis Van Gaal, amongst others – so it won’t be easy for Liverpool to strike up a deal.
Danny Ings predecessor at Burnley, Charlie Austin, has had a similarly impressive season in the Premier League. An astounding 17 goals has given Rangers the chance of beating the drop – even though they now seem to have failed the challenge. He’s been proved as a natural goalscorer from non-league to Premier League and looks set to prove his worth on the international stage as he gets ready for a call up to the Three Lions next month.
With a year left on his contract, Austin will be available for around £10 Million and has proved that he could do a job in Merseyside.
A player who has been rejuvenated by Tim Sherwood, in his 10 games in charge, the Belgian has matched it with 10 goals – some record. The 6 foot 3 in striker has attracted attention throughout his three year spell with Villa. 48 goals in 97 games speaks for itself, but his services would come for a very round sum.
With new owners set to take over at Villa Park, they wouldn’t want their greeting to be selling their star player. With Tim Sherwood promising a huge long-term plan, it may be a project that Benteke would want to be part of. Champions League football would be a huge attraction should Liverpool miraculously gain fourth place, but he could have Europa League next season with Villa, should they be successful in their FA Cup final later this month.
Born in the same city as one Luis Suarez, Cavani would no doubts come under the category of ‘marquee signings’. The PSG striker has been largely a reserve for Zlatan Ibrahimovic this season, and a move for him is most likely on the cards this summer. When not sat on the bench, he’s been played on the flanks, much to his dissatisfaction.
Liverpool certainly have a lot of competition for his writing on the dotted line. Manchester United and Juventus are both on the list of suitors, with Juventus potentially in a Champions League final, the Italian giants might be more of an attractive option than Rodgers’ scousers.
If Liverpool want to push on next term, their strike-force needs additions and changes – and there’s no questions about that. Danny Ings and Charlie Austin are probably not the answer, even though Austin guarantees goals wherever he goes. Christian Benteke would be a fantastic move for them, if they can get it over the line and Cavani would be the dream for Liverpool. Other names have also been thrown around, like West Brom’s Saido Berahino, Dortmund’s Ciro Immobile and Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain. The European names would all be worthwhile, but it remains to be seen if Liverpool will be playing in the Champions League – which is the decisive factor with the majority of top players.