During Saturday’s Merseyside derby, Liverpool once again sorely missed the injured Daniel Sturridge and his incomparable scoring abilities. The Reds went up 1-0 after captain Steven Gerrard’s stunning free kick in the 65th minute, but Everton’s Phil Jagielka provided his side a goal during injury time and Liverpool gained one point instead of an assured three.
Liverpool did extend Everton’s 15-year winless streak at Merseyside, but their failure to convert on seven of their eight shots on goal and Sturridge missing his third straight Premier League match, continues to expose the Reds and force manage Brendan Rodgers to scour the transfer market for more help. Liverpool haven’t picked up a victory since their 3-0 drubbing of Tottenham, and its no coincidence that that was Sturridge’s last appearance.
As if spending more than £100 million during the summer wasn’t enough, Rodgers is reportedly preparing a £40 million January bid for Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema, according to Daily Star. Liverpool had originally targeted the Frenchman during the summer as a replacement for Luis Suarez, but the 26-year-old instead re-upped for five more years at the Bernabeu.
Rodgers has apparently returned to the idea of signing Benzema after reports out of Spain suggested he was unhappy with Madrid, despite inking the new contract only two months ago. Benzema’s notched three assists and scored one goal during La Liga play so far, and he’s certainly enjoyed resounding success since he joined Madrid in 2009 from Lyon. Yet the additions of James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos could mean less scoring opportunities for Benzema as the season progresses.
Still Liverpool might have to increase their offer, considering Los Blancos will need Benzema’s scoring to outpace rival Barcelona.
The Reds may have a chance to land another previous summer target in January, namely Borussia Dortmund midfielder Marco Reus. Daily Star reported that Reus has apparently told Dortmund he won’t renew his contract, which puts Liverpool in line with Arsenal and Manchester United for the 25-year-old German.
According to the Star, Reus’s current contract includes the activation of a release clause next summer, and the Bundesliga side is trying to re-negotiate the deal and remove the clause to avoid losing him before the 2017 expiration date. Nevertheless, as currently written the clause requires clubs to pay at least £20 million for Reus, who’s scored 31 goals in 63 appearances for Dortmund since 2012.
In other news, starting keeper Simon Mignolet missed an opportunity to silence critics after giving up Jagielka’s goal, and it could increase speculation surrounding Rodgers’ well-documented interest in former Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes. Mignolet's given up nine goals so far, and has tallied one clean sheet, a far cry from the player who performed so well for Belgium during the World Cup.
Valdes is still recovering from a serious knee injury he suffered in March, but he might be fit enough to play next month, the Star reports. The 32-year-old is a free agent after the Catalans let him walk this summer, and just the threat of the World Cup and Champions League-winner behind him, could be enough for Mignolet to improve.