Liverpool’s heart was broken when its courageous fight for the English Premier League title came up short, but that doesn’t mean Everton’s arch-rival is sitting back and letting the wound heal. The club has saddled up and gone out in search of new recruits. In a couple of days, the club has signed an aging striker and a young midfielder.
The acquisition of Rickie Lambert and Emre Can does not make Liverpool the best team in the league; however, it is the perfect foundation for what could become a dominant force in modern football. Brendan Rodgers has signed these players because his team will be competing in at least four competitions next season.
Lambert is the perfect understudy for Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suárez. The 32-year-old has lots of experience, and unlike Iago Aspas, he knows the Premier League like the back of his hand. In his two seasons in the league, he’s scored 28 goals and created 15.
The former Southampton forward would provide adequate cover in case either Suárez or Sturridge needs rest or gets injured. Lambert has been acquired to provide depth and experience up top, which is why he will be the go-to guy less meaningful competitions like the Football League Cup.
The big forward’s niche is inside the 18 yard box. He enjoys battling center backs, which is perfect for Suarez. The game should open up for the Uruguayan to score goals like this.
Upon his return from the World Cup, Lambert’s leadership will be crucially needed in the locker room. He and skipper Steven Gerrard will be tasked with keeping the younger players in line.
Can is a different kind of animal. The German youth international is young and inexperienced. Last season was his breakout year in the Bundesliga. He played 29 league games for Bayer Leverkusen and scored three goals.
Even though he might not be a regular starter next season, Can will definitely make Liverpool better. The German’s versatility make him the ideal athlete that Rodgers has been desperately seeking.
He mostly plays as a holding midfielder, but has also been used as a left back and center back. These are three positions Liverpool struggled to fill last season. Lucas Leiva was always an injury risk, the left backs were never consistent and the center backs let in too many goals.
Can will learn what it takes to be a world-class deep-lying midfielder from Gerrard and Leiva. And the German should gain valuable experience either in the FA Cup or Football League Cup.
These two signings will make Liverpool a strong side even without Gerrard, Suárez or Sturridge. Can and Jordan Henderson would provide the energy in the middle, while Philippe Coutinho creates scoring chances for Lambert.
Lambert and Can’s acquisition is proof that Rodgers means business, but the manager needs to sign at least three more players. For his side to really instill fear in its opponents, Rodgers has to sign a solid and experienced center back, a winger (Adam Lallana is a strong option) and a top-notch left back.