It has been reported today that Liverpool are stepping up their chase for Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge and may be prepared to pay up to £15 million for the 24-year-old striker.
The news will come as no major shock to football fans as Sturridge was previously linked with Brendan Rodgers' men over the summer - only for a lack of funds did the deal stall.
After witnessing Fabio Borini flop in his first three months at the club, Andy Carroll's exile from the squad and an over-reliance on Suarez emerging, it appears that Rodgers is very conscious of how vital a new frontman is for the club.
Sadly for Liverpool, signs suggest that Sturridge is not the man to release the pressure from Suarez's shoulders. For starters Sturridge is a very selfish player. In some systems that is fine and acceptable but in a system such as that of Rodgers Tiki-Taka style, the emphasis on the strikers role is greater in playing a part in the build-up, dropping deep to collect and always offering an option.
The selfish nature of his play means that he often fails to pick out the correct option and slows down intricate and incisive build up play.
In many ways he is a fairly similar player to Borini, signed in the summer for his finishing prowess. They both have excellent finishing skills but as Borini has shown this will not be enough to lead the line in Liverpool's side.
They both also thrive on perfect service from creative midfielders as opposed to creating their own opportunities. Therefore if Liverpool's midfield isn't firing on all cylinders, this style of striker becomes an unnecessary luxury with little impact.
Nevertheless his pace would be welcomed as part of a dynamic front four consisting of the S-Quartet of Sterling, Suso, Suarez and Sturridge when Liverpool are pinning down their opposition. Such pace and direct movement would cut any side open.
The price of £15 million however is remarkably high for a player who has struggled for first team appearances over the last twelve months. Di Matteo has instead preferred to use Torres as his frontman and rare glimpses of Sturridge have largely been a shadow of the player that fully emerged on to the Premier League scene with a bang during his loan spell at Bolton.
Considering that price tag, it seems inconceivable that Liverpool wouldn’t look elsewhere. Theo Walcott has been in excellent form this season for Arsenal and his long drawn contract dispute with the Arsenal board has been well publicised.
Tie that in with consistent murmurs in the Rumour Mill that Liverpool have held a long term interest in the striker and it’s an option that makes a far more viable proposition. You may ask why he’d step down from Champions League football but it’s well documented that Walcott sees himself as a striker rather than a wing forward – the position he plays for Arsenal – and if Rodgers could guarantee first team opportunities up top, that would be a hugely convincing factor.
Alternatively, West Brom’s Shane Long has started the season fantastically and demonstrates all the attributes Rodgers likes in a centre forward. He’s strong, works hard, links up well with teammates and most importantly knows where the goal is.
Within the current Liverpool attack, bar Suarez, there aren’t any that possess even three of these abilities. Whilst his value has probably increased since his £8 million move from Reading, it’s difficult to imagine it would be much more than Sturridge’s price tag.
And how about offering Carroll the second chance? He may not be the most glamorous of players on the pitch but he is effective and contrary to popular belief can play the ball along the floor.
All these options are profusely better matches for Liverpool than Sturridge, a potentially very good player but one riddled with inconsistency. Luis Suarez cannot keep doing it on his own, that much is for certain but would Sturridge really provide the necessary support?
It’s more likely there’d be another Borini situation on his hands. Liverpool’s owners need to be careful here. We know what happened last time the club overpaid for English ‘talent’. Ahem… Downing, cough… cough.
image: © Sorren Lissner