While Liverpool welcome back embattled forward Luis Suarez, Brendan Rodgers’s side find themselves tied for third place after five Premier League matches, but with a lack of scoring plaguing the squad in the early part of the campaign.
The Reds have scored just five goals this season, exposing the club’s need for additional playmaking and forward options. Liverpool failed to score in their home match against Southampton on Saturday, and the attack managed just 10 total shots. A lack of scoring doesn’t bode well for Liverpool's prospects based on the competition the club has faces. Four of the five matches the Reds have played this season were against clubs who are not expected to finish in the top eight.
Reinforcements could be on the way in January, and a familiar name has once again surfaced in the latest transfer speculation.
According to reports, Liverpool could bring back Xabi Alonso in January should Real Madrid not offer the midfielder a contract extension. Alonso has been linked to an Anfield return for several months, and perhaps the chances of a deal happening have increased with the many changes at the Bernabeu. Holding midfielder Asier Illarramendi has received considerable playing time under new manager Carlo Ancelotti, and Alonso is not expected to return to action until early December after fracturing a metatarsal in August training.
In late spring, Chelsea reportedly wanted to reunite Alonso with Jose Mourinho at about the same time Real Madrid were pursuing Illarramendi. It seems less likely that the Blues will renew their interest at this point with their current depth in midfield, and despite Alonso’s relatively low price tag. He is valued at about £5 million, which is not a steep fee for a deep-pocket club like Real Madrid, but the Spanish titans could potentially lose him for nothing.
Alonso, 31, spent five years with the Reds before joining Los Blancos in 2009. In July 2012, he affirmed that he is “really attached to Liverpool” and described his tenure at Anfield as “fantastic.”
Abel Hernandez, who has been heavily linked with a move from Palermo following their relegation from Serie A, is another Liverpool target, according to the Express. The 23-year-old striker had reportedly been on Arsenal’s radar this summer, as they tried to find another forward option to go along with Olivier Giroud.
Hernandez is known for his quickness, and has strong skills in the air. He has scored 21 goals for Palermo in 86 appearances, and has scored seven goals for Uruguay in 10 appearances.
The Express reported last week that Liverpool are interested in making a January move for a different striker, and this one evokes the memory of Peter Crouch, the 6’7 (2.01 m) scorer who left Liverpool more than five years ago.
Lacina Traore is even taller than Crouch, standing at 6’8 (2.03 m). He has scored four goals in six appearances for Ivory Coast, and 13 goals in 27 appearances for Anzhi Makhachkala. The Russian club, which is no longer flush with the riches of years’ past, already moved Samuel Eto’o to Chelsea after just two seasons. Liverpool are joined by Galatasaray in the pursuit of Traore.
Metro and Daily Mirror have reported that Derby County midfielder Will Hughes could join Liverpool in January after being on the Reds’ radar for several weeks. The 18-year-old was linked to a £10-million move to Newcastle in June.
Known for his disciplined dribbling and passing skills, Hughes made his debut with Derby County in 2011, and has made 46 appearances with the club. He has also played four times for the England Under-21 squad.