Liverpool certainly look like a side who will entertain next season. The sheer number of quality attacking players is baffling. Andy Carroll is slowly but surely finding his feet in a Liverpool shirt, Stewart Downing is provided much needed width, whilst Charlie Adam, Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson will look to get forward from midfield. This is without mentioning others at the club such as Alberto Aquilani, Maxi Rodriquez and Dirk Kuyt. Of course, the most exciting prospect for next season is Luis Suarez, who exploded onto the scene last year with a number of scintillating performances.
However, for all Dalglish’s forays into the transfer market for attack minded players, there still remains serious doubts as to whether the Reds have enough quality in the centre of defence. Daniel Agger is a superb defender, but is more prone to injury than Santiago Cañizares juggling a bottle of aftershave. Martin Skrtel was an ever-present at the heart of the defence last season, but doubts still persist about his quality. Two defenders at either end of the age spectrum, Sotoris Kyrgiakos and Danny Wilson, are simply not good enough – especially if Liverpool hope to challenge for a Champions League berth. And Jamie Carragher has undoubtedly been a superb servant for the club, but it is widely expected that this season will be his final chance to play a large role in the team.
No secret has been made of Dalglish’s desire to bring a defender to the club, with Birmingham’s Scott Dann being one such player linked with the club by numerous sources.
However, the answer may be closer to home. Since making his first team debut under Rafael Benitez, Martin Kelly has gone from strength to strength. With Glen Johnson switching to left-back last season, Kelly emerged as a shining light in Hodgson’s otherwise dour reign as manager and continued to impress under King Kenny.
Although he has played primarily as a right-back in the senior squad, Kelly plied his trade as a central defender in the reserve side. At 6’3”, Kelly has the physique to play as a centre-back and under the tutelage of Jamie Carragher, he is sure to improve. Importantly, we have others who can play comfortably at right-back if Kelly were to make to switch inside.
Glen Johnson is the club’s most established right-back, but John Flanagan came into the side at the back end of the 2010/2011 campaign and wowed the fans with his committed attitude and solid displays.
So does Dalglish really need to splash more cash on a defender? Or will he put more trust in the promising youngsters at Melwood?