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Why Do Liverpool Need A Second Striker?

Liverpool have offset the sale of Luis Suarez with other buys which have added depth to midfield, defence and to their strike-force. However, as of now, Rickie Lambert is the only new arrival who could be termed an out-and-out replacement for Suarez. Former England international, Trevor Francis has also pointed out to Sky Sports that,

“There’s £100million spent and only £4million put aside for a striker, that being Rickie Lambert.”

Now, Rickie Lambert is a good striker, as is evident from his performances for Southampton and for England, before the World Cup. However, he is 32 and his aging legs cannot carry the weight of an entire season. Brendan Rodgers has also taken note of that, which is why his role has been that of a substitute so far. Divock Origi, the only other striker to have been signed by Rodgers in this summer’s spending spree, is a precocious young talent who represented Belgium in the World Cup at Lukaku’s cost, but would do well with more experience, as is evidenced by his loaning back to Lille.

With Fabio Borini close to sealing a permanent move to Sunderland, the entire pressure of the striker’s role will fall on the nimble shoulders of Sturridge. Liverpool could stop Borini from going to Sunderland, by offering him a chance to fight for his place in the squad, and by rotating Borini and Sturridge so that both are not overused over the course of a season which will have Liverpool competing in Europe after a long time. Unfortunately, Borini could not inspire any confidence in Rodgers to hold on to him in hope of good, consistent performances, which is why Rodgers wouldn’t decline the money being offered by Sunderland.

Iago Aspas has already gone out on a loan deal to Sevilla and the Loic Remy transfer fell through, due to a problem with the results of his medical. Obviously, Sturridge cannot handle the rigours of an entire season on his own, and Roidgers will have to buy someone who can compete with Sturridge for the striker’s berth, which will keep Sturridge from taking his place for granted in the team, and will also provide cover in case of an injury.

One doesn’t have to look too far behind to see what happens when a club goes into a season with just one first-team level striker: Arsenal, last season – Wenger went into the season with Olivier Giroud as his main striker, and Bendtner and Sanogo as backup strikers. Both Bendtner and Sanogo were not good enough to play in place of Giroud, and Giroud was too fatigued to play at the turn of the New Year, as Arsenal slid from first-place to fourth, from January to May.

Now that Remy is out of the way, Rodgers has mulled over the possible signing of another striker. Wilfried Bony, who has been linked to Liverpool for a long time, but whose wage demands are too much for Liverpool to strike a deal; Mario Balotelli, who is a trouble-maker. Rodgers has shown a tendency to veer towards players who have been vilified, but Mario might be too much to handle. Mario also is a blow-hot, blow-cold striker, which means that he will be subject to bouts of inconsistency.

Also, Sturridge is the alpha-forwrad at Liverpool and there might be fireworks if Mario arrives at Liverpool, as he revels in the same role, too. Marco Reus is another name that has emerged; he is not an out-and-out striker, but could provide good support to Sturridge in a wider position and Ezequiel Lavezzi, who could also play on the wings in addition to being a second striker.

Liverpool might have a lot of players who can play wide, up front, but Rodgers has to realize that these players may not be able to excel through the center. He has to sign a top forward who can handle the pressure of playing a more hectic season this time around, with Liverpool also in the European mix. Finding the right player, though, will not be easy, but Rodgers will have to spend, to get a player who can make an immediate impact.

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