As Premier League play returns, Liverpool find themselves just near the top of the table despite several defensive shortcomings in their first three matches of the term. The debut 2-1 victory over Southampton could very have been a draw if it weren’t for Daniel Sturridge’s heroics, as the Reds attack looked a little out of sorts now that striker Luis Suarez is long gone. Then came the 3-1 letdown to defending champion Manchester City, with Liverpool’s only goal coming off City defender Pablo Zabaleta’s tremendous blunder. The second win before the short international break was a far more complete game for the Reds, a 3-0 smashing of Tottenham at White Hart Lane highlighted by Mario Balotelli’s first match and excellent play from a defense that forced three offsides flags and allowed only one shot on goal.

While it appears the Reds may have found the right blend of attacking and defense, manager Brendan Rodgers has several plans in the mix to beef up his squad’s back line and midfield.

One move that many have called “shocking,” involves Barcelona right-back Dani Alves. The 31-year-old Brazilian’s contract is up at the end of the term, and the Catalans evidently have no plans to re-sign Alves, according to Express.  Enter Liverpool and Manchester United, who are both targeting Alves. It’s believed that there’s only a matter of time until fresh Nou Camp signings Martin Montoya or Douglas usurp Alves’s place in the starting XI.

The move really shouldn’t be called shocking though, as earlier this summer the Catalans nearly brought in Fiorentina’s Juan Cuadrado, who almost certainly would have taken over for Alves. Express indicated that Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan could also be in the market for Alves, and his estimated fee of £10.5 million.

It’s always been difficult for Liverpool to keep up with the ever-expanding transfer coffers United possesses, but Rodgers spending this summer could be the precursor for a new status quo when it comes to Merseyside’s transfer expenditures.

Alves is an excellent example of that, and so could Bayer Leverkusen’s Christoph Kramer. Express reports that the 23-year-old will be a free agent next summer, but the club he’s currently on-loan to, Borussia Monchengladbach, is hoping a new cash offer will be enough for him to stay. Both Liverpool and United, again, are eyeing up the talented defensive midfielder.

Monchengladbach don’t want to lose Kramer, but also won’t risk losing him for nothing, which will likely push their hand to make a deal in the winter. Kramer’s spent much of the last three years on-loan to VfL Bochum and Monchengladbach, totaling 94 appearances and seven goals. Express pointed out that while there is no way to truly replace Steven Gerrard, Kramer might be the next in line for whenever the Anfield legend retires.

Rodgers also has plans to create some competition for top goalkeeper Simon Mignolet. Daily Mail reported late last week that Liverpool hope to complete a deal for former Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes next month.

The deal for the 32-year-old would have been consummated already if it weren’t for the knee injury he suffered back in March that, luckily for Merseyside, squashed an expected signing with Ligue 1’s Monaco. As a result Valdes will have to pass medical tests next month for the deal to go through.

Adding Valdes will certainly put more pressure on Mignolet to keep his job, and makes up Rodgers’s failed attempts to land Michel Vrom and Alex McCarthy.