Despite denials from Rafa Benítez, the agent for Napoli’s Argentine striker Ezequiel Lavezzi claims that Liverpool is planning on making an offer for the 24-year-old player.
Liverpool’s need to find a backup to Fernando Torres is well-known. Missed matches by the Spaniard and Steven Gerrard may have very well contributed to their second-place finish behind Manchester United this past season in the Premier League.
Benítez has already been linked with United forward Carlos Tévez, whose future is still undecided, but the reported price tag of £32 million is well above Lavezzi’s £13 million valuation. Given the similarity of skills, you could make a case that Lavezzi gives you a much cheaper option for essentially the same player. Tévez is the stronger, more resilient of the two, but Lavezzi is a more proven goal scorer.
On the surface, it looks like a potentially good deal for Liverpool — certainly a lot better than paying 20 million for Robbie Keane. But I wonder if it really does fit within Liverpool’s tactical scheme.
It’s clear that Benítez would like to play with two strikers/forwards, but why? His current setup of a 4-2-3-1 seems to work quite well, and if anything he should be looking for depth to prop up that formation, particularly that solitary 1 up front (Torres). The 3 behind him (Albert Riera, Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt, with Yossi Benayoun providing cover across the board) seem very solid and do a great job of not only providing service to Torres, but also of scoring themselves, particular Gerrard and Kuyt.
Looking at Lavezzi, I see him more likely to sub for Kuyt or Riera than Torres, which would leave David Ngog and the striker’s backup. Given the horrendous money troubles that circle Liverpool, wouldn’t it be better to spend less, but wisely, to reinforce a team already capable of winning the Premier League?
It’s clear that Benitez is still seeking reinforcement in midfield, particularly for a playmaker who could make up for their dependence on Steven Gerrard, but Spanish target David Silva of Valencia seems to be on his way to join the new Galácticos at Real Madrid.
If I was looking at Argentine strikers, I would prefer Diego Milito over Lavezzi. And should Benitez look in the direction of his native land, Joseba Llorente at Villareal could be an ideal option behind Torres.