Liverpool Focus – Rodgers with reasons to be cheerful as transfer window closes

In-form Liverpool recorded their third consecutive 1-0 Premier League victory and climbed to the top of the table as Brendan Rodgers’ Reds claimed an impressive three points over champions Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday afternoon. January signing Daniel Sturridge was the hero once again, with the former Manchester City and Chelsea striker finding the net within the opening few minutes to hand the Merseysiders a notable win.

It took Rodgers’ side 12 top-flight games before they achieved three wins last season and supporters of the Anfield outfit will undoubtedly be delighted with the visible progress Liverpool have made within the space of a year. Liverpool did not even enter the top half of the Premier League table until December in the last campaign, yet the Reds now find themselves in first position – until mid-September at the very least.

But although the game and result against the Red Devils will be fresh in the memory of many fans, a lot has taken place since that striking outcome. Liverpool have managed to further strengthen their squad with the signing of three new players, to add to the five who had already sealed moves to Anfield earlier in the summer.

Defenders Tiago Ilori and Mamadou Sakho arrived from Sporting Lisbon and Paris St-Germain respectively, costing a combined fee of approximately £25m according to various media outlets. The Reds also persuaded rivals Chelsea to allow forward Victor Moses to join on a season-long loan – a deal which seemingly paves the way for Italian striker Fabio Borini to sign for Paolo Di Canio’s Sunderland on a similar temporary deal. Liverpool have also completed the signings of Kolo Toure, Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas, Simon Mignolet and Aly Cissokho during this transfer window.

The Merseysiders had been chasing Ilori for a number of months and it is something of a surprise that it has taken until the final day of the transfer window to complete the signing. The deal for Sakho, however, has been every more surprising for a different reason. It was previously thought that Liverpool’s main defensive target was Kyriakos Papadopoulos of Schalke. The Reds’ interest in Sakho did not appear to be as concrete, yet they have splashed out a reported £15m on the French international.

Rodgers now has a number of options to select from to play at the heart of his defence. Daniel Agger, Toure, Martin Skrtel, Ilori and Sakho will compete for two or three places in the team, while Uruguayan centre-back Sebastian Coates is also on the payroll despite facing a lengthy lay-off through injury. It will be interesting to see how Rodgers handles his defenders this term.

Overall, it has been an excellent week, a superb start to the campaign and an encouraging summer of transfer activity at Liverpool. The Reds currently head the Premier League table and have added some quality to the squad, which supporters hope will allow them to make a stronger challenge for a top-four finish.

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