After managing to keep the outside interest in Daniel Agger into a non-threatening situation for yet another summer, Liverpool still have to find their Danish centre back a partner to pair up with in the middle of their defense.
With Jamie Carragher retiring, the team is left with four central defenders: Agger, Martin Skrtel, who was terrible last season as he was forced to try and play on the ground a lot more than he’s capable of, leading to two embarrassing mistakes and eventually getting benched, Sebastian Coates, the tall Uruguayan still waiting to be noticed and Kolo Toure, coming in on a free transfer.
While Toure is a good centre back, it seemed like the premise of only purchasing young player with plenty of years ahead of them was forgotten when the option of signing him came up. The cost alone makes it worthwhile, but if Liverpool are about forming a partnership that will hold on for years to come and will be part of establishing a winning side at Anfield, Toure, 32, isn’t the answer.
So who is? Liverpool have been linked, with a differing degree of severity, to several players, most of them young and on the rise. They’ve made actual offers to Kyriakos Papadopoulos of Schalke, but the Greek centre back hasn’t seen his price been reduced despite the long injury he suffered from last season, and there seems to be a huge gulf between what Schalke are asking for (£20 million) and what Liverpool have been offering so far (£14 million).
Toby Alderweireld has also been on their target, but so far nothing has happened. The Belgian defender from Ajax is entering the final season of his contract, and yet there doesn’t seem to be any rush in Amsterdam to offload the player for some money before he walks away for nothing. There are other teams in the vicinity interested in him.
Tiago Ilori has also been a name keeping Liverpool busy. The 20-year old Portuguese centre back from Sporting CP has impressed in the few opportunities he’s had in the lineup, not to mention in the U-20 World Cup, but Liverpool haven’t been able to match what Sporting is asking for; a price that seems to rise with every offer, making it seem that despite their financial problems, they aren’t that desperate to sell players at all.
And there have been other names mentioned – Efe Ambrose of Celtic, Carlos Zambrano of Frankfurt and Stefan de Vrij of Feyenoord. But for now, Liverpool have gone on their tour without a significant addition at the position, which means that they’re either not that worried about it, and want to finish the Luis Suarez business before anything else; if the Uruguayan is sold, they’ll have a lot more money to spend on players, and will have to bring in another forward in any case.
Daniel Agger didn’t have the best of seasons last year, having to to cover for Skrtel and later for Carragher, hurting his own performances. Another season with a centre back that doesn’t quite match up to his own standards of quality will be a big failure on the part of Rodgers.