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Liverpool About to Add to the Defense, But Will They Improve It?

Liverpool have had a busy window, but have yet to address the defensive side of the ball, which was arguably where the title was lost last season. However, that might well be about to change, with several players linked. Are these the right players, though?

Tony Marshall

Liverpool Football Club certainly hasn't been shy about spending money this summer. It's still 6 weeks from the close of the transfer window and already Adam Lallana Emre Can, Lazar Markovic and Rickie Lambert have completed their physicals and signed on as members of the YNWA army. Divock Origi is widely rumoured as being only days away from being unveiled himself, but he might not even be next up if rumours of an impending announcement of Loic Remy's arrival are to be believed.

So then, the vast majority of the Luis Suarez transfer fee has already been earmarked, and I hope you'll agree it's been well spent. Remy, Borini and Lambert provide a range of skillsets behind the Premier League's second highest goalscorer from last year and since the first will be playing in La Liga whenever he's not suspended, a Daniel Sturridge-led attack could well be once again the top strikeforces in the country. Lallana and Markovic add to an impressive array of attacking midfield options, and alongside Coutinho and Sterling give Brendan Rodgers a wealth of creative attacking players either out wide or just behind the striker. Still though, Emre Can might be the best add of the bunch, a young talented central midfielder who's impressed in preseason and can cover for either Gerrard or Henderson more ably then perhaps Joe Allen and Lucas were able to do, especially given Henderson's suspension might have been the difference in the title race. Origi is also a great sort of player for Liverpool to buy, young and relatively cheap but he's already talented enough to start ahead of Lukaku in the World Cup and he has time enough to grow into a true superstar. Liverpool have shown that they aren't likely to go out and buy a James Rodriguez, Marco Reus or Edison Cavani, but adding a few players like Origi and sending them out for loans could well be the way to mine for future players of such ilk.

Already a successful transfer window then, even with the loss of one of the three best players in the world. Still, though, you might note that Liverpool have yet to acquire a defensive-minded player, unless you count Emre Can who could well play left-back in a pinch. At this rate he might have to, although if we believe the latest rumours LIverpool are on the verge of adding not one but three defenders in the coming days. What's more two of whom are fullbacks and a third has played at either fullback spot. Surely this is good news?

Personally I'm not incredibly convinced. Dejan Lovren, Javier Manquillo and Ryan Bertand are players who certainly could help the team, but for a combined transfer outlay of around 28 million pounds I can't help but think Liverpool could look to do more. First of, this spend doesn't even include Manquillo who is rumoured to be on his way here for a most unusual 2-year loan. He's regarded as a relatively talented if raw right-back prospect and if the loan progresses well the rumoured 6 million option to buy could easily prove to be a bargain. Atletico Madrid supposedly have a buy-back option though, for an undisclosed price, which does limit the upside here. This is all predicated on him getting enough playtime to impress though, and being a right-back has him buried behind Glen Johnson and Jon Flanagan and right now it's difficult to see him leaping above either. As we saw with Aly Cissoko and Victor Moses, the leash on loaned players is shorter as Brendan has less incentive to push forward their development by keeping them in the lineup through early struggles like he did with Raheem Sterling. Manquillo has upside, would come with relatively low risk and probably doesn't preculde the signing of another fullback who could provide a more instant impact so this certainly could be a sensible addition.

I'm a little less thrilled with that instant impact at fullback being projected to come from Ryan Bertrand though. Yes, adding a Chelsea reject who's always being loaned out isn't in itself an unappealing idea (see above re: the reigning second top scorer in the EPL) and yes Brendan Rodgers knows him from their time together at Stamford Bridge. Still, though, it's hard to see this as anything other than a lottery ticket at this point, and while that paid of handsomely with Studge, Liverpool shouldn't need to still be shopping in the bargain bin. With Champions League football to offer and a transfer kitty that had 60 million pounds in it BEFORE Suarez, this team is in a position to attract players from the top of the market. Alberto Moreno from Sevilla is a player who is plainly interested in coming here and more importantly is a player Liverpool have been plainly interested in acquiring. The sticking point has been the transfer fee and with a valuation that's apparently only a couple of million (side-note, I wish I will one day be able to say only a couple of million with reference to my personal life) apart, should we perhaps not overpay slightly to close the deal?

Perhaps there is something to be said about sticking to valuations and not being drawn into overpaying just because we have cash. Still though, the Lallana buy for 23+ million did seem steep at the time! and even more so if Liverpool shell out another 20 million to Southampton for Dejan Lovren. Don't get me wrong, I really like Lovren and I think him and Sakho would be a great pairing for years to come, but do we really need another expensive centre back? What does that do for Skrtel and Agger? What about Ilori and Wisdom who will be back from loans next year? Also, Toure may not be the player he was but certainly when you consider the fact that we already have veteran depth at centre back to couple with developing young players and 3 established starters perhaps this isn't a position that needs to be strengthened. Certainly if the money could be spent instead on a talented young fullback who could be a part of this teams future in a way that Bertrand probably won't given his age and current level of historical performance. Like, I don't know, that left-back who plays for Sevilla that we were just talking about. Who apparently we could get for 20 million.

Brendan Rodgers and FSG have earned a certain level of trust for their incredible efforts to return Liverpool to relevance. I'm certainly willing to see what they get up to with regards to adding defensive players this summer, and look forward to cheering for all the new wearers of the famous red kit. Still though, I have to admit, the attacking names we've brought in make me feel more positive than the defensive ones we're likely about to add.