Club Focus – Liverpool – Dalglish still wants defensive recruits despite impressive clean sheet record

Despite keeping five clean sheets in their last six games, Liverpool are reportedly scouring the market in an attempt to find defenders to improve the Reds backline. Kenny Dalglish’s side have appeared to be far more comfortable at the back in recent weeks and particularly since former Chelsea coach Steve Clarke joined the backroom staff, however many supporters feel the defensive unit could do with some strengthening, particularly at left-back.

Paul Konchesky, who was brought in by former boss Roy Hodgson, is currently on loan at promotion-chasing Championship side Nottingham Forest, whilst Argentinean starlet Emiliano Insua is also out loan. Dalglish has opted to field England right-back Glen Johnson on the opposite flank in recent weeks, with injury-prone Brazilian Fabio Aurelio also able to play there. Johnson has looked relatively comfortable at left-back; however another competent defender would be welcome.

With that in mind, there have been recent reports which suggest that Dalglish’s appearance at the recent Old Firm derby in Scotland was fuelled by his intention of keeping an eye on Honduran left-back Emilio Izaguirre. The 24-year-old, who joined Celtic for less than £1m last summer, is apparently being courted by the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal too. The Scottish giants would be willing to part with the adventurous defender for a fee of around £8m according to the Daily Mail.

Whether the club’s new owners would be willing to fork out such an amount for a relatively unknown player remains to be seen. Liverpool still have Insua on the books and although not an ideal option, the Argentinean does have a reasonable amount of Premier League experience therefore his return could prove to be a cheaper option for Liverpool in terms of strengthening that area.

Meanwhile, centre-back Martin Skrtel has denied he is on his way to German outfit Wolfsburg. Skrtel has been a target of criticism this season, with the defender putting in some average performances at times. However, the Slovakian has improved somewhat of late, just as the rest of the side are beginning to get back to their best. Skrtel has been an ever-present for the Reds this campaign and he has made it clear that he would like to remain on Merseyside.

As for off the field matters, Liverpool fans will be proud of the fact that the Reds have topped arch-rivals Manchester United in the merchandising league. In a report by Sport + Markt, which names Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona as the clubs to beat when it comes to flogging merchandise, Liverpool have been named three places ahead of the title-chasing Red Devils. The Anfield outfit have been placed third in the list, with Bayern Munich and Marseille coming in ahead of United who beat off both Milan sides, Lyon and Fenerbahce.

However, with Spanish hot-shot Fernando Torres no longer at Anfield, it remains to be seen whether the Reds can continue to hold on to such a high position in the merchandising table. Liverpool enjoyed successful shirt sale figures thanks to the Spaniard, but whether Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll generate the same amount of interest remains to be seen.

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