Liverpool’s season hasn’t exactly gone to plan so far, but there is still plenty that manager Rafa Benitez can salvage and a top four Premier League finish isn’t out of the question. However, to achieve that Champions League qualification Liverpool are likely to need reinforcements in January, which means that players will have to be sold to give Benitez money to spend. Given Liverpool’s performances thus far there are a few players that wouldn’t be missed if they were offloaded in the January transfer window, and these four should be first on the list:
The first misfit that Liverpool need to offload is Andriy Voronin, as the 30 year old striker offers little if anything to the current team. The Ukrainian has never really cut it in the Premier League and I was surprised when he returned after a loan spell with Hertha Berlin as I thought that his Liverpool career was over. Voronin is yet to hit the back of the net this season where he has been largely used as a substitute, with his performance at Lyon in the Champions League particularly lacklustre. As David Ngog has overtaken him in the pecking order and a striker is likely to arrive in January, Rafa should accept almost any fee for Voronin.
The one Liverpool player who has been continually linked with a January exit is Andrea Dossena and a return to Italy appears to be on the cards. Signed for as much as £7 million in 2008, now may be the time for Rafa to cut his losses and cash in on the 28 year old. Dossena is hardly in favour at Anfield, as the arrival of Glen Johnson saw the Italian lose his number two shirt and he has only made one Premier League start this season. Napoli and Roma have been touted as possible destinations and I would be very surprised if Dossena doesn’t return to Serie A sooner rather than later.
Then there is Ryan Babel. The Dutchman has plenty of talent but he is yet to fulfil his potential at Anfield and it is starting to get to the point where you wonder whether he ever will. One of many to come through the famous Ajax academy, Babel was signed by Liverpool in 2007 for a fee of over £10 million and much was expected of him. Wind forward two and a half years and little has changed and Liverpool fans are still waiting to see the best of him. He has showed glimpses of his ability, including his stunning goal against Lyon, but these have been far too infrequent. Many teams across Europe will be interested in the 23 year old and he would command a reasonable transfer fee, but is it too early for Liverpool to discard Babel?
Finally a choice that may be contentious for many fans, I think that Liverpool should offload Lucas in January. Lucas has been a first team regular this season and has featured in every Premier League game so far, but what does the Brazilian midfielder actually bring to the team? In Javier Mascherano Liverpool have one of the best combative defensive midfielders in the Premiership, and Alberto Aquilani has the ability to become The Reds’ creative spark. So is Lucas really needed? I understand that some Liverpool fans rate Lucas and I don’t think that Rafa will sell him in January, but if he left and they changed their tactics, I believe that Liverpool would be much better off in the long term.
Recent quotes from Rafa Benitez that “there has been interest in some of our players” will not come as a surprise to many Liverpool fans and they should be glad to see the back of some of their deadwood. Of the above four, the first three are likely to move on in January, and players like Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Phillip Degen might not be far from the exit door in January either. Who do you think Liverpool should be looking to offload in the January transfer window?
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