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Darren Lewis: Liverpool need a striker like Benteke. They can’t afford any more transfer mistakes

12 Jun | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Darren Lewis: Liverpool need a striker like Benteke. They can’t afford any more transfer mistakes

They need someone to hit the ground running after the £16million disaster that was Mario Balotelli, the deluded Fabio Borini, and poor old Rickie Lambert.

STEVEN GERRARD was right to wonder out loud what is going on.

Liverpool have responded to their disappointing season by sacking two of Brendan Rodgers’ coaches but keeping the Irishman himself in place.

The logic seems a curious one. The sackings undermine Rodgers and, if he gets off to a bad start next season, he too may be shown the door with Jurgen Klopp keeping his phone switched on.

All of which must surely have an impact on the club’s transfer dealings.

To sign for Liverpool regardless of whoever is in charge would obviously have been a dream for Danny Ings, relegated with Burnley.

After Arsenal pulled out of the running for James Milner the only other way would have been down for the ex-Manchester City midfielder. 

Liverpool (and that £156,000-a-week) would have been the best option for him too.

Beyond that, however, you do wonder about the direction that the Reds’ transfer business will take. The signing of Hungarian international keeper Adam Bogdan from Bolton has not set pulses racing.

The Reds like Christian Benteke but don’t want to trigger the release clause – or pay anywhere near the £32.5million – that it will cost to land him.

Why though? Yes, it is a hell of a lot of money and yes, if Liverpool were back in the top four already they would probably be justified in not paying it.

But Liverpool are not in the top four. The Anfield club need a top-line striker. They need to rectify their transfer mistakes.

They need someone to hit the ground running after the £16million disaster that was Mario Balotelli, the deluded Fabio Borini, and poor old Rickie Lambert.

Benteke did better last season than all of them put together. Despite not starting his campaign until October because of injury and despite being plagued by a hip problem thereafter.

Liverpool need a marksman to come in, lift spirits and put enough pressure on Daniel Sturridge to inspire the England man back to the sizzling form he showed alongside Luis Suarez two seasons ago.

Benteke is just 24. He has scored 42 goals in 89 League appearances for Villa and he now wants out to play at a higher level.

The way that Liverpool play he would fill his boots. If they really do want to make a statement in the transfer market, landing the Belgian international striker would go a long way to doing so.

Liverpool are also in for the Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette, who struck 27 times in the French top division over the past season. He, though, has clubs interested that can offer Champions League football.

Not only that, as impressive as he has been, how will he adapt – if at all – to the English game? He might go on to confirm that he is indeed a world beater.

If not, however, can Liverpool really afford another expensive mistake in the transfer market?

Elsewhere it will be fascinating to see whether Rodgers moves for an enforcer in midfield. 

At Southampton, defender Dejan Lovren was helped (or possibly made to look better than he is) by the protection he received from Victor Wanyama alongside Morgan Schneiderlin in front of him.

At just 24 Wanyama would be a decent acquisition for Liverpool. As would the Marseille ball-winner Giannelli Imbula who has interested Tottenham.

If Chelsea follow up their interest in the 22-year-old, who has already been compared to the likes of Claude Makable, then that – obviously – would pretty much be that. 

If not, however, then Imbula would the kind of man that Liverpool should be looking at.

The opening bid for Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne is encouraging. He would be a big improvement on what Liverpool have had at right-back.

That new deal that the Saints keep insisting Clyne is about to sign has still not yet been penned, leaving Liverpool time to give the England defender something to think about.

Defensively strong, offensively able, Clyne would be a solid acquisition in the Reds’ rebuilding process.

The Inter Milan midfielder Mateo Kovacic is highly-rated despite his club’s poor season. The 21-year-old scored five goals, created 62 chances and Liverpool’s interest in him looks justified.

You can understand too the Reds’ interest in Real Sociedad centre-back Inigo Martinez. Only Spurs, of the teams in the Premier League’s top seven, conceded more goals than Liverpool over the past season.

Real Sociedad have already turned down a £14.3million bid for the defender, who has a £21.7milliion release clause.

Twelve months after their £20million outlay on Lovren, it is easy to see why Liverpool don’t fancy saddling another centre-back with a similar price tag.

There will hopefully, however, be more of a strategy to their thinking this summer.

They clearly mean business. Let’s see just how much.