Liverpool legend Ray Houghton says the club are on the right track towards challenging for the title this season, but believes some defensive help, in the form of Southampton’s Dejan Lovren, is still needed.
As Liverpool look to bolster their squad following Luis Suarez’s departure to Barcelona, close to £60 million of the cash windfall has been spent so far on Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Emre Can and Lazar Markovic, with Queens Park Rangers’ Loic Remy also reportedly set to sign for around £8.5 million.
With a deal for Lille’s Divock Origi said to be close too, Houghton sees all those additions as making a big impact in 2014-15, but still thinks that the rumoured Lovren signing will be the key move, after the side’s defensive frailties proved so costly towards the end of last season.
‘Liverpool had some really good performances from players who weren’t even expected to start in the team last season. Daniel Sturridge was in that position and he ended up scoring 21 goals,’ he told Sky Sports News Radio.
‘Now it looks like they’re trying to add the likes of Loic Remy and one or two others, plus you’ve already got Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana there, so they’re building and bringing in some quality players.
‘They’ve got a little bit more depth than what they had last season and I think they’ll be very competitive, but I’d still like to see them add some more defenders,’ he added.
‘I know that Lovren’s one of those they’re trying to brining in at the moment from Southampton. I think he’d be a great addition. I looked closely at him all last season and think he’s a very good defender and would be a good option.
‘One of the reasons Liverpool didn’t win the title last year wasn’t the fact that they didn’t score enough goals but because they didn’t defend well enough in the last few games.
‘When you’re a team trying to compete for the title you can’t concede that many goals. That’s where the top sides and the Liverpool of old used to win games.’
While Southampton boss Ronald Koeman recently denied that Liverpool had lodged a bid for Lovren, the Croatian centre-back is still widely thought be on the verge of a move to Anfield, giving the club some much-needed stability at the position, following inconsistent performances of Daniel Agger Martin Skrtl, Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sakho in 2013-14.
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In addition, Brendan Rodgers has also been working on deals for Spanish full-backs Alberto Moreno and Javi Manquillo, as they look to challenge on all fronts this season, following last campaign’s second-place Premier League finish.
Having narrowly missed out on the title to Manchester City, it remains to be seen whether the summer additions will prove enough to replace Suarez’s influence, after his 31-goal 2013-14 season, but Rodgers appears to be leaving no stone unturned in his attempts to strengthen all areas of the squad.