With Liverpool’s apparent lack of goalscoring ability, it may seem odd that Brendan Rodgers is reportedly looking at goalkeepers to add to his squad in January. Yet according to Tutto Mercato, Rodgers is lining up a deal for Middlesbrough youngster James Steele as he attempts to solve an issue at one end of the field.
Steele has certainly been impressive during his time in Middlesbrough and has established himself as the number 1 choice at the Riverside in his 82 appearances since 2008. In addition, the youngster has made a name for himself on the international stage – Steele has represented England at U-21 level and was selected for Team GB at this summer’s Olympics, appearing for them in their 2-0 friendly loss against Brazil.
Despite the fact that Liverpool need to add goal scoring talent in the upcoming transfer window, issues at the goalkeeper position should also be urgently addressed. Pepe Reina has been out injured for the last couple of weeks, meaning Brad Jones has had to fill the void in between the sticks at Anfield. However the Spaniard’s injury simply distracts from the main issue at Anfield – Reina’s recent performances. Liverpool’s number 25 has hardly looked his usual motivated self this season – it could be argued that Jones may have stolen the starting spot even if Reina hadn’t picked up that hamstring injury.
That’s no slight on Brad Jones. Since he has stepped in, the Australian has put in some admirable performances yet he is still not the top quality keeper that Liverpool need if they are to develop. Steele could be the answer if Rodgers is looking for a change – the youngster shows promise and at 22 has plenty of upside if Liverpool pick him up in January.
In my mind, Liverpool buying Steele really has no downside. Brad Jones is 30 years old and not getting any younger, meaning he doesn’t pose an immediate threat to the Middlesbrough prodigy. Meanwhile Reina is stuck in a rut at the moment, unable to string together consistent performances. Liverpool have several issues throughout their squad yet arguably none are more important than finding their keeper.
Steele is a win-win pickup. If he plays well, then Liverpool could potentially have the next young keeper that will be their base for the upcoming years. In addition, he will provide competition for Pepe Reina as he fits into the Liverpool system, competition that the Spaniard desperately needs in my view if he is to return to his form of old.
If it doesn’t work out, then Liverpool will have a backup that they know they can turn too whilst they find their legitimate number 1 With a low price tag likely to be placed on Steele, Liverpool should definitely aim to sign the youngster this January in order to solve one issue in their team.
Perhaps if they answer the goalkeeping question, Rodgers can finally concentrate on how he is going to revamp the Liverpool strike force this winter.