Mertens the new Suarez?


Mertens: Goal machine

Mertens: Goal machine

With the injury to Italian forward Fabio Borini, Liverpool are relying heavily on their feisty Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez to provide all the goals.

And while Suarez is doing well - he now tops the Premier League goal-scoring charts with ten strikes - his fitness and erratic behavior is something that will be keeping Reds boss Brendan Rodgers up at night.

Should the South American incur another lengthy ban like last season, when he sat out eight games after being found guilty by the FA of racially abusing Patrice Evra, the Merseyside giants' main striking duties will fall to 18-year-old Samed Yesil or fellow teenager Adam Morgan.

The Anfield outfit also have the talented 17-year-old Raheem Sterling playing on the wing, but it would be unwise for them to place such a heavy burden on someone so young.

It is therefore vital they bring in one if not two players in the January transfer window to support Suarez.

But signing a number nine cannot be their main objective, with Borini, who is a more than capable backup to the club's number seven, close to a return.

What Liverpool should look to bring in, are two inside forwards or wingers, not only to provide Suarez with goals, but to also take up positions that the Uruguayan often vacates in his false number-nine role.

And it is for that reason that Rodgers should look no further than Arsenal's Theo Walcott and PSV Eindhoven's Dries Mertens.

Walcott is in the last year of his contract at the Emirates Stadium and has thus far refused to a sign a new deal.

It is unlikely Arsene Wenger will allow him to leave in the new year, having said as much in the press in recent days, but it is something the Gunners will have to consider, or risk losing him on a free.

Mertens, meanwhile, is a more realistic prospect. He has an immense scoring and assisting record in the last two seasons in the Dutch league.

With 35 goals and 36 assists in 68 matches, he could be the perfect player to work in tandem with Suarez.

The 25-year-old is well known for his assists, but can also score from various distances and has the pace that the Reds are sorely lacking.

And if gauging the success of his countrymen is anything to go by, then Mertens could be the next talented Belgian to grace the English top-flight, hot on the heels of Eden Hazard and Marouane Fellaini.

There's no doubting that Liverpool's expensively assembled scouting network are scoring Europe and the world for fresh, young talent, but hopefully Walcott and Mertens rank highly on the list of striking targets for January.

By Chris Vermeulen

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Posted: 20/11/12 16:00

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