There are a lot of Liverpool fans talking about the need to purchase a striker in January, to bring some rain upon a very sun scorched and drought ridden chance conversion rate. In fact, 15 games into the season, Liverpool has the worst chance conversion rate into goals in the league: a feeble 8.9%. However the question remains: Do they need to purchase a new striker to keep their Champions League ambitions alive or, considering the amount of goals they were scoring under Dalglish last season and taking into account the fact they have their skipper to return in the next few weeks, perhaps the goals are already in them and as Dalglish keeps saying, “It’s just a matter of time before their luck in front of goal changes.”
If you were to ask Liverpool fans about their most desired transfer targets, headline grabbing names such as Cavani of Napoli, Higuain of Real Madrid and Mario Gomes of Bayern Munich would be touted. However if there is one thing Harry Redknapp has taught us in his 2 years at Tottenham, it’s that you can get your team into the top four on a modest budget: Tottenham having spent approximately £107 million under Harry’s tenure.
Bob Paisley was renowned for offloading players well before their twilight years. In fact he would offload them while they were still in their prime, timing it so that when they left they might have a season, at best, left in them. However two of Liverpool’s current strikers, namely Kuyt and Bellamy, are 31 and 32 respectively. Bellamy has shown fine form since coming in on a free transfer, while Kuyt has failed to show the same form of the past few seasons.
Liverpool is building for the future and they need younger strikers to be competing for places in the starting 11.
One name that is catching the headlines is Steven Fletcher with 6 goals in 10 games.
He may not have the tanned foreign name or the flare that most fans would expect to see as a transfer target but he knows the Premier League. He’s only 24 with virtually no injury record and his goal record from 2007 with Hibernian to the current season with Wolves speaks for itself: 1 goal in every 3 games on average and there is the added bonus of him and his family being avid Liverpool fans.
His heading ability is his most obvious strength. He likes to play short passes and flick-ons. Many would argue “Why buy another striker whose main strength is his heading ability when you have Andy Carroll?” But Fletcher is in fine form at the moment and goals are something Liverpool can’t afford to wait for them to happen.
Whether Mick McCarthy would let his top goalscorer go from a relegation battling Wolves remains to be seen. This week he has reiterated Fletcher is not for sale. However money and transfer requests may give rise to a different response. Would Kenny Dalglish even consider such a target? Goalscoring record in itself will not be the only thing considered and the question of whether a player like Fletcher would be able to cope with Liverpool’s style of play and the clubs ambitions remains to be seen.
Last season Fletcher averaged about 1 in 3 overall. This season he has 3 goals in every 5 games.
- Suarez is 4 in every 9.
- Andy Carroll is 3 in every 11.
- Craig Bellamy is 1 in every 4.
- Kuyt is 1 in every 16.
Fletcher has a better scoring ratio than any of Liverpool’s current strikers so far this season. Only time will tell if Dalglish is looking to buy a striker in January or if he would even consider Fletcher, but one thing is sure: If Liverpool do not correct their problems in front of goal soon, they will fall outside of the top four this season.