Liverpool made a habit of crushing teams with their incredible firepower last season, with defending often looking a mere afterthought.
Conceding 50 goals wasn’t much of a problem for Brendan Rodgers’ side when they knocked in an incredible 101 of their own – but things have changed.
With Luis Suarez gone and Daniel Sturridge sidelined for some time, scoring hasn’t been nearly as abundant the problems in defence have become more amplified.
The Reds have given up 15 goals through 11 Premier League matches – 1.36 per game – as Rodgers’ back line has often looked a chaotic unit.
Marquee signing in defence Dejan Lovren has looked out of sorts in a Liverpool shirt after impressing out Southampton, especially troubling considering his £20 million price-tag.
Meanwhile injury-hampered Mamadou Sakho has been a near non-factor while Rodgers has been reluctant to field 33-year-old KoloToure.
This has left veteran Martin Skrtel to make up the other half of the first-choice central defence pairing alongside Lovren – and things clearly haven’t gone to plan.
After a summer of heavy spending, it’s fair to say the further investment in January could be deemed even irresponsible, even if help is needed.
But for the right bargain, spending a bit more could entirely be worth it. And as young, talented centre-backs go, Eder Alvarez Balanta fits the bill.
Before springing for Lovren, the Reds were linked with the 21-year-old star. His meteoric rise at River Plate saw him make Colombia’s World Cup squad, bringing him to the attention of Europe’s elite.
The Reds, of course, eventually looked to the Croatian instead. Balanta remains available, however, and seemingly at low cost.
At those figures, Liverpool would do well to insert themselves into the frame. Despite the heavy spend they hold an advantage over Roma, who are feeling the pressure of Financial Fair Play restrictions.
For slightly extra cash than required, the Reds could seemingly beat the competition to Balanta and have a potential gem for years to come not having broken the bank.
Balanta’s pace, powerful frame and excellence on the ball suit him to English football, and with minimal investment, there’s little for Liverpool to lose at a time when the defence is in a bad way.
The opportunity to pounce for the Colombian is out there – yet only the Reds can decide to take the cue.
Balanta has popped up on the Liverpool radar before and it would be wise for Rodgers to have another look, as he’s a potential steal out still there for the taking, the Northern Irishman having turned his attentions elsewhere the first time around.