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The Rebuilding Job That Faces Roy Hodgson at Liverpool

 The Rebuilding Job That Faces Roy Hodgson at Liverpool

With the departure of longtime club favourite Rafael Benitez, a lack of Champions League football and a hard rebuilding job with minimum cash influx in front of Roy Hodgson, it’s indeed a tough time to be a Liverpool fan as the decisions taken by Hodgson, Purslow and Broughton might go on to define the club for the foreseeable future.

But looking back, the circumstances in which Rafael Benitez had taken up the reigns of the club seem to have a striking similarity to the ones Roy Hodgson now faces, and which ultimately led to the sacking of Houllier and Benitez. Hodgson inherits a squad in need of a grand rebuilding job with disgruntled players and with no money in hand along with several flopped signings of the previous regimes.

So what must Hodgson do to get Liverpool back on track and fighting at the very minimum for a top four place? Let’s analyze Liverpool’s current squad position-wise and try to find remedies for problematic areas, beginning with goalkeepers:

Goalkeepers :-
In Pepe Reina, Liverpool perhaps have the safest pair of hands in the Premiership. He showed exemplary character and quality while players around him crumbled last season. At 5 million he was certainly one of the best signings made by Benitez and after having signed a longterm deal his position shouldn’t be a source of worry for Liverpool.

But who shall be his understudy next season? Diego Cavalieri has yet to make an appearance in the league in his time at Anfield and is largely expected to move on to new pastures possibly back to Brazil this off season leaving a vacancy required to be filled.

With the homegrown rule now applicable it might be wise to go for a youngster trained in England who might be happy to learn under Reina. Wayne Hennessey of Wolverhampton Wanderers would cost around 2 million pounds which would be the same amount that Cavalieri might fetch if sold. Being a young, upcoming keeper with talent, he would be an outstanding buy.

Another option could be Richard Wright, the former England keeper who is available on a free transfer after leaving Ipswich and would be an experienced, economical option.

Defence :-
Already a lot of movement has been made in the off-season in the Liverpool defence which was surprisingly open last season.

Out have gone Fabio Aurelio with reports suggesting fellow left back Insua and right back Degen are expected to leave, while the future of Sotoris Kyrgiakos is up for debate. Insua is expected to complete a transfer to Fiorentina for around 5 mil. While Degen is expected to swell Liverpool coffers by another 2 mil. Mikel San Jose too has made his move permanent to Athletico Bilbao after a great season on loan.

Meanwhile Liverpool themselves have signed young upcoming Scottish prospect Danny Wilson from Rangers for 2 mil. He is expected to provide more competition in the central of defence.

But with both their recognized left backs leaving Liverpool shall certainly need to invest in that area. Up til now Hodgson has been linked with a move for Taye Taiwo of Marseille, Wayne Bridge of Manchester City, and German utility left sided player Marcell Jansen. Either of these 3 are expected to cost around 6-8 mil. And would be a quality addition to the squad while a player like Konchesky could be bought to add cover.

Also a utility centre-back like Steven Taylor who can also play at right back might be considered to provide cover.

Midfield :-
With the signing of Joe Cole and return to fitness of Alberto Aquilani, Liverpool already seem to have a very good midfield which can match any in the league.

However with Javier Mascherano allegedly looking for a move, Liverpool might well cash in on him and use the money to strengthen other areas of the team. Yossi Benayoun has already left for Chelsea in a 5.5 million pounds move, Albert Riera moved to Olympiakos for close to 4 million while the futures of Lucas Leiva and Ryan Babel are also in doubt with the duo being linked with Palermo and Milan respectively.

If Liverpool do sell Mascherano they might well decide to play Lucas as the only out and out defensive midfielder with a ball playing central midfielder who can tackle like Ever Banega replacing Mascherano. Also Hodgson might decide to add another winger to his options. Arda Turan has been linked strongly with a move to the Premier League and is a known Liverpool fan.

Attack :-
One of the prime reasons for Liverpool’s dismal show last season and in the end Rafa’s sacking was the lack of bite upfront when Torres was out injured. However this season could be different as Liverpool have already signed Serbian Milan Jovanovic on a free transfer and are looking for a player who could fill-in for Torres or play alongside him.

The three players most consistently linked with us have been Bryan Ruiz who plays for FC Twente, Frenchman Loic Remy and AC Milan’s centre-forward Klaas-jan Huntelaar, each of whom are expected to cost upwards of 10 million pounds.

Of these Huntelaar seems the best option as he is a player whose game suits the Premier League and whose poacher’s skill will be highly valued as he will have the like of Aquilani, Maxi, Gerrard and Cole playing behind him.

Meanwhile youngsters David N’Gog and Kristian Nemeth might be sent out on loan to gain experience.

So on the whole this might prove to be a rather busy off-season for Liverpool and Hodgson has assured the fans that quality shall not be compromised on and no panic buys shall take place. That would be the right way for Hodgson to follow as he tries to rebuild this proud team to once agains challenge for honours.

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17 Responses to The Rebuilding Job That Faces Roy Hodgson at Liverpool

  1. MattWWFC says:

    What makes you so sure that Wayne Hennessey “would” cost 2 million? He signed a new 5 year contract about 2 weeks ago. The prices of highly rated young British players will rise even more under the new squad rules.

  2. Ayush Srivastava says:

    well there have been several reports of wolves being ready to listen to offers for him and a price of around 2-3 mil. has been quoted in general

  3. MattWWFC says:

    The wolves staff try to do all their transfer dealings in private. So all those reports are just paper filling rumours. We wouldn’t offer a player a 5 year contract and then listen to offers! We’re also one of about 3 premier league clubs that aren’t in debt, so we have no need to sell!

  4. luke says:

    joe cole best signing

  5. Ayush Srivastava says:

    @ luke

    yes…i totally agree :)

    @ matt

    well i do know about the excellent condition wolves are in,you have a good setup out there but hennessey has been linked with a move during rafa’s time so i gave him as a good alternative.

  6. onkar says:

    dont you think liverpool needs to get a good look in the youth academy for young n bright talents? I doubt that the current squad has considerable self grown players. so it may be authentic to make the youth academy a serious concern…

  7. Ayush Srivastava says:

    well liverpool have been working hard on that front. good young players like gulacsi(who could be an alternative second choice keeper),kelly,ayala,nemeth,pacheco,eccleston have come through the reserves and are set to break into the team in the near future. there are infact a number of youngsters who are in the reserves who could be set for a bright future. infact i expect kelly,ayala and pacheco to get several opportunities this season. then there was insua who showed plenty of promise but seems on his way out unfortunately.

    also we have signed several youngsters like raheem sterling,jonjo,danny wilson so the focus is on youth.

  8. Kevin says:

    Not sure I agree with this quote:
    “But looking back, the circumstances in which Rafael Benitez had taken up the reigns of the club seem to have a striking similarity to the ones Roy Hodgson now faces, and which ultimately led to the sacking of Houllier and Benitez. Hodgson inherits a squad in need of a grand rebuilding job with disgruntled players and with no money in hand along with several flopped signings of the previous regimes.”

    Rafa was able to take a squad filled almost exclusively with Houllier’s players to the Champions League title. I think Roy has been left with a significantly harder repair job to do than Rafa.

  9. Ayush Srivastava says:

    thats a big misconception. you look at the squad he inherited from houllier…traore,biscan,smicer,cisse,diao,pongolle were no great players and it was rafa’s achievement to take the team to the cl triumph. you just have to look at the fact of where these players went after leaving liverpool to see how low on quality and depth the squad was.

    • Kevin says:

      In your opinion it is a misconception. Don’t we have to see how Rafa’s garbage ends up before we make this decision? I’m not expecting much of those that Roy has been forced to offload.

      If, in fact, you are correct it is a greater indictment on Rafa though right? Meaning he could win with Houllier’s junk but not his own? I personally think Rafa has left this club in worse shape than Houllier, by guite a margin.

  10. SantaClaus says:

    The rebuilding at Liverpool will truly only begin once new owners come in. The budget contsraints on Hodgson are such that he will have to replace the likes of Mascherano and perhaps Torres if they leave since there’s no one in the club right now to replace them. Insua was sold and now there’s no left back at the club so a new left back and maybe a backup will have to be bought. He won’t be able to make any big name signings as there’s no money. He might not also get all the money from player sales to buy new players as the present owners will want to use some of the money to pay off debts.

    In years past Liverpool fans always talked about challenging for the title. This year they are talking just about being in the top 4. How times have changed.

  11. Andrew says:

    I think we need to sell masch and get 25-30 mill for him. We should get banega and christian poulsen since they are great CDM and will give us alot of support. Liverpool have talked about swaping(trading) Dirk Kuyt for Christian Poulsen who got top 100 player a year ago which I think will be a very soild deal for us. Recently a day ago Rafel van der vaart who we been pursering for years has some worries about playing for the first-team and we could replace for kuyt. Van der vaart is a playmaker than can help Gerrard with the set piece’s and put some pressure of Gerrard. Hodgson is so far doing well with the tranfers unlike what Benitez can do but lets see how he does with his tactics some Benitez knows very well.

  12. Ayush Srivastava says:

    @ kevin

    mate there is a serious difference. rafa had the club progressing each season until the last one where he just lost the plot and got involved in boardroom scuffles. you just need to look at the spine of players he has left,it is infact much better than what houllier left. but the same problem of lack of a telling contribution from the wings and no firepower upfront(especially when torres is not fit) is what hodgson faces,plus disgruntled players like yossi,riera and mascherano.
    i mean wernt yossi and masche integral to our team ? atleast i loved yossi’s game,while insua was a very good lb who with experience would have gotten better. both of them have been offloaded to good clubs and mascherano shall not leave

    look at the depth at cb for instance,we have several good players out there while rafa had just hyypia and carra and had used traore,riise and later bought a pellegrini kind of player for cover….i mean whom would you rather have…skrtel or traore ?

    true rafa left us in a mess last season but that should not make us take away from him the respect he deserves for the work he did before that…and with his plan for the youth academy i think we will get plenty of chances to thank him later

  13. Ayush Srivastava says:

    @ santaclaus

    well you are quite right there but i think the yanks will want to invest atleast whatever they earn from player sales in the squad because they too want to sell the club and a liverpool with no stars like gerrard and torres in it would not be as appealing to a buyer and thereby the value of the club would drop.

    @ andrew

    mate why would you let one of our best players and crowd favourite dirk kuyt leave in exchange for a juve flop ? i think we really need him next season. there are better dm’s than poulsen available and am sure hodgson shall make the right signings

    as for VDV he is a good player but an AM like him would be a luxury at the moment. i would rather get the attack,defence and CM sorted out before going for him.

    as for aiming for the top 4 we have gotta be realistic really,we can pressurise roy with unrealistic demands.he has got no magic wand

  14. MarkB says:

    Am I the only Liverpool supporter who’s starting to get a little bit annoyed at Torres’ attitude? Sure he is world class and has scored some fantastic goals, but there were times last year when he spent much of the game sulking and looking as if he couldn’t be bothered.

    • Gaz Hunt says:

      Totally agree – I said this in a previous post.

      If the media is giving us accurate reports, he’s all but checked out. We should milk 70 million out of Manchester City or Chelsea and get four quality players without injury problems that want to fight for our club.

      On my list: Darren Bent and a Modric-type playmaker (and obviously some proven defenders).

  15. RedMist says:

    Goalkeeper – Reina, Goulacsi and Bousanis. Cavaleiri will be sold.

    Defence – Maynor Figeuroa will be the left back! deal 90% done. Wilson will be the backup with Liverpool’s outstanding French U19 international Chris Mavinga battling it out for some time. As for the rest of the defence, Right Back will be Glen Johnson with Martin Kelly backing him up. A the centre of defence we have Carragher, Agger, Skrtel and the young and very impressive Ayala. Martin Kelly can also play at the centre of the defence. I fully expect Kyrigiakos to be sold. He’s at an age where he needs to be playing and with the new rules his nationality goes against him!

    Midfield – Joe Cole, Milan Jovanovic, Stephen Gerrard, Alberto Aquilani, Lucas Leiva, Ryan Babel, Jonjo Shelvey are certain to stay. Youth players David Amoo, Jay Spearing, Tom Ince will get playing time. However Havier Macsherano will be sold and one from either Ever Benega, Scott Parker, Christian Poulson (please no!) or Steven Defour could possibly coming. Is there also room for Arda Turan? We’ll have to wait and see!

    Attack – Torres IS staying! Dani Pacheco is proving by the day in the UEFA U19 Championships what a wonderful player he is and will be in the future an Dirk Kuyt should remain at the club for the time being. Hopefully now as a full-time forward! (ROY likes pace on the wings). Liverpool need help upfront and the purchase of a quality forward is paramount. I like the Loic Remy rumours! Two footed, quick, tall and explosive. Can play though the middle or on either wing. David Ngog should be sold back to a French club! Maybe in part-ex for Remy. Good player but not good enough for Liverpool.

    Add to the sales Plessis, ElZhar, Itadje, Degan and Derby. We have more than enough finance to attract and purchase the 4 further players Hodgson has intimated to wanting to buy before the window closes.

    Figeruroa £5m, Remy £12m, Benega (or other options) £12m tops and Arda Turan £12m

    Do the math!!

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