Roughly a third of the way through the Premier League season and Liverpool have jumped out of the starting gate to a second-place spot on the table with Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez rising to the cream of the scoring crop. For some perspective, at this point in the last campaign, the Reds had amassed a 1-4-5 record. Liverpool would eventually end up in seventh place, and well out of Champions League contention.
Brendan Rodgers's side are just two points back of rival Arsenal with hopes of a return to UCL and a shot at a Premier League title for the first time in nearly a quarter century.
With so much on the line, it appears chairman Tom Werner and Rodgers aren’t going to let the issue of Suarez’s future at Anfield disrupt what could be a magical season. Based off recent reports, the Reds are targeting several scorers should Suarez go back on his promise to stay through next summer. Persistent rumors continue to pester the club about the Uruguayan striker moving on to Real Madrid for as much as £50 million in January’s transfer session.
It appears the Reds' back-up plan is both forward-thinking and ambitious. They have joined the litany of teams vying for Fulham breakout star striker Moussa Dembele. The 17-year-old Frenchman has exploded onto the world scene with his early season performances since coming over from Ligue 1’s Paris Saint-Germain, notching two goals last week alone, according to the Daily Mirror. He leads the under-18 squad with five goals in four matches this season.
Though the price range is unknown, Rodgers will have to fend off Manchester United for the youngster's talents, and a large piece of whatever Madrid peels off for Suarez.
A more established replacement may come in the form of Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez, who Liverpool previously sized up as a makeshift Suarez over the summer. The 24-year-old is tied for second on the upstart club with three goals in 11 matches this season. Prying Rodriguez’s potential abilities from St. Mary’s could prove difficult as he’s signed through 2016, and Southampton may want back more than the £7 million they shelled out a little over a year ago.
Other than two loans, Rodriguez has spent most of his time at Burnely, totaling 31 goals in 105 appearances from 2007 to 2012.
Rodgers has been equally impressed by Rodriguez’s running mate, midfielder Adam Lallana, as reported by the Daily Star. The Englishman has complemented his three goals with two assists. Though his market value is in the £5 million range, Lallana could cost a little more down the road when taking his playmaking abilities into account.
Lallana could also provide more options in the midfield, while Iago Aspas slowly works back from a torn thigh muscle.
Or there is Porto striker Jackson Martinez, a Colombian rising star eager to showcase his talents on the EPL’s massive stage. In one year, Martinez led Porto to the Primeira Liga title with 26 goals last season, and desires a new challenge before his 27 years catch up to him, according to the Star.
Martinez, who has also drawn interest from Arsenal, has a price tag hovering near £30 million. Liverpool may decide to spread their funds around rather than just in the attack even if Suarez bolts.
Currently covering NBA, NFL, MLB, along with Real Madrid and Barcelona, focusing on trades, controversy, and injury updates. Joined IB Times in August 2012.