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Who should Liverpool target to make Benitez’s guarantee a reality?

Ruud van NistelrooyBefore Liverpool’s 2-1 win against Wigan at Anfield, manager Rafa Benitez guaranteed that The Reds will finish the season in the top four of the Premier League. At the moment Liverpool are languishing down in 6th place in the Premiership table, but only five points separates them and 4th placed Aston Villa. The question is whether Liverpool’s current squad is strong enough for them to achieve Champions League qualification, and if it isn’t which areas of the team need addressing?

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez remains defiant in his time at Anfield and is convinced that Liverpool will finish in that all important 4th spot in the Premier League. He told BBC Sport that “I am sure we can do it because I know we are better than the team you are seeing on the pitch.” Benitez then went on to make a bold statement that Liverpool fans will hope doesn’t come back to haunt the Spaniard, and said “I can guarantee we will finish in the top four.” So the manager is confident, but are you the fans confident that the current team can make Rafa’s guarantee become a reality? Would any of the players below be a welcome addition to Liverpool’s squad?

Probably the main area of the team that needs strengthening is Liverpool’s strike force, as David N’Gog remains the only out-and-out back up for Spanish marksman Fernando Torres. The latest striker that Liverpool are being linked with is the former Manchester United goal machine Ruud van Nistelrooy.

The Reds emerged as frontrunners for the Dutch striker this morning, with a possible six month loan deal being touted. Even though van Nistelrooy used to play for the enemy, he would bring plenty of goals to Anfield alongside a hunger to get selected for The Netherlands’ 2010 World Cup squad. This would be in Liverpool’s favour, and I think Benitez could do a lot worse than snap up RVN on a short term deal in January.

Tottenham striker Roman Pavlyuchenko also emerged as a surprise target last week, with a potential swap deal involving Ryan Babel on the cards. It seems highly unlikely that Benitez would take a gamble on the Russian striker, as Pavlyuchenko has failed to make his mark in the Premiership so far so why would it be any different at Liverpool?

Another name that quickly came and went was Keirrison, with the Brazilian striker struggling to get matches on loan at Benfica. But the 21 year old Barcelona striker is unlikely to get a look-in at Liverpool either, so that rumour was pretty much a non-starter.

One story that may have some more substance to it is the one linking Liverpool with a January bid for James Beattie. Though many fans may question Beattie’s ability, following the Stoke striker’s bust up with Tony Pulis he will be available on the cheap and would give Liverpool a presence upfront.

One exciting player that Liverpool have been linked with this season is Valencia winger Juan Mata. The 21 year old left winger is a real talent and the Spaniard would bring pace and goals to the Liverpool setup. Even though he recently signed a new contract at the cash-strapped club, Valencia’s financial predicament means that if Liverpool were to make a serious offer, then they may well get their man.

In midfield, Scott Parker is a name that has been mentioned in regards to joining Liverpool, but it seems that many Premiership clubs, including Tottenham, are monitoring the tough tackler. In terms of Liverpool, I think there are positions that need strengthening much more than defensive midfield, unless of course Mascherano leaves in January, but Benitez will hardly be looking to offload the Argentinean.

In terms of other players potentially leaving the club, Gerrard has again been linked with a move to Chelsea, but I can’t see the midfielder, who is Liverpool through-and-through, ever leaving Anfield. One rumour that might have more legs is the departure of Andrea Dossena, but Napoli appear to be becoming frustrated with the lack of development in terms of negotiations and that deal may well fall through.

Out of the above, who would you like to see pull on a Liverpool shirt next year and can they help propel The Reds up the Premiership table? Or are there any other players that Liverpool have been rumoured to be interested in that could make a real difference if Benitez signed them in January?

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Article title: Who should Liverpool target to make Benitez’s guarantee a reality?

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