Daniel Sturridge may be nearing a long-awaited return to action, but Liverpool continue to be linked with a shakeup of their attacking options in the January transfer window. Liverpool have gone from a thrilling attacking side last season to a lackluster, toothless one this, with Luis Suarez’s departure being followed by Sturridge’s absence through injury since the end of August. Meanwhile, the two strikers signed in the summer, Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert, have scored just one Premier League goal between them.
The situation has led manager Brendan Rodgers to field Raheem Sterling as a striker in recent weeks. Despite the tactic helping to spark an upturn in performances, Rodgers is believed to be eager to bring a striker in during this month’s transfer window. Linked more than anyone with a move to Anfield has been West Brom’s Saido Berahino. The 21-year-old has scored eight goals in the Premier League this season and was called into the England squad for the first time last November. But his failure to celebrate after scoring four goals in the FA Cup at the weekend sparked further rumors that he was keen for a move away, with Tottenham also thought to be interested.
According to Sky Sports, West Brom will allow their leading scorer to depart in January, if they receive an offer in excess of £20 million. While Berahino’s pace running in behind would offer something that Liverpool have sorely lacked without Suarez and Sturridge, he remains extremely raw and it would be a major leap of faith on the part of Liverpool to sanction a fee of that size.
A significantly less expensive, although also far more short-term, alternative, has also been mooted in the form of Jermain Defoe. The 32-year-old’s time at Toronto FC has not gone to plan and he is now training at his former club Tottenham, reportedly with a view to returning to the Premier League. While it is one of the clubs at the lower end of the division that appear a like destination, The Guardian has stated that he has also been offered to Liverpool, where, unsurprisingly, it’s said would relish moving. Even more of a long shot is the idea relayed by the Daily Express that Liverpool are closing in on a £40 million deal for Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema for next summer.
Still the most likely solution, should one be sought in January, is that Liverpool bring forward Divock Origi’s arrival from Lille. The young Belgium international was signed last summer then loaned back to the Ligue 1 club for the current season, but there were reports earlier this week that Liverpool had agreed to pay a fee in order to cut short that agreement this month. However, Lille have since, not for the first time, poured cold water on that possibility.
If a striker does arrive, then it is possible one will depart. According to The Guardian, Crystal Palace are keen to make Lambert’s stay on Merseyside a short one. It is said that Liverpool are keen to retain the England international, and, if that is the case, then it is difficult to see the 32-year-old pushing for a move so soon after returning to his boyhood club.
The future of his fellow summer arrival, Balotelli, has been in doubt almost as soon as he arrived at Anfield. Comments from Rodgers have repeatedly called into question his faith in the Italy international, who has yet to score in the Premier League for Liverpool. And on Thursday the former Milan, Manchester City and Internazionale striker has been linked with a loan move to Olympiakos and a permanent switch to Paris Saint-Germain.