As Steven Gerrard heads into the twilight of his career, the time left to find a suitable replacement draws shorter, and it appears that Brendan Rodgers has found two names in particular that he thinks could be capable of easing the burden on the Liverpool captain. Malaga's Isco stamped his name on to the European map with a man of the match display against Zenit Saint Petersburg in the Champions League, while Athletic Bilbao's Ander Herrera played a big part in the Basque's own European adventure last season. talkSPORT compare the two attackers...
Ander Herrera made 54 appearances in all competitions for Athletic in his first season with the club last year, including 13 on their run to the Europa League final. Herrera's main strengths are his speed and movement, while he also has solid technque, as you would expect from a Spanish youngster. Perhaps his one failing is his finishing, as the Athletic man has never been a prolific scorer, with his personal best goal tally in a season coming last year in Bilbao, when he scored four in all competitions.
Malaga man Isco was a key player and a big fan favourite in their run to a Champions League place last season, but only since Santi Cazorla's departure he has really taken centre stage. It says a lot about Isco's character that he has truly flourished under the increased pressure on the Costa del Sol that has arisen out of the financial uncertainty surrounding the club. Indeed, comparisons could be made between the young number ten's spirit and that of Steven Gerrard. With five league goals last season he got off to a solid start in his first year at the club and, after a brilliant brace along with a truly memorable display in their first ever Champions League group game against Zenit, there's a feeling that Isco could be the man to lead them to European glory against the odds. A brilliant dribbler with a hint of Brazilian invention in his play, the young Spaniard would be an asset to any club and with Malaga's finances still looking murky, Liverpool may find they can strike a deal next year the way Arsenal did for Cazorla this summer.
What's the latest?
Madrid sports paper AS reported in the summer that Liverpool had made an offer to Athletic Club for Ander Herrera, but the player chose to remain in the Basque country. They now claim that the Reds have continued monitoring his situation, believing he may be able to alleviate the pressure on Steven Gerrard, and are considering coming back with a new offer in the future, though they're likely to have to meet his buyout clause of €36m.
AS also claim that Liverpool have lined up Malaga's Isco as another potential replacement for Steven Gerrard and, though it's not believed that contact has been made between the clubs, uncertainty at Malaga means they could yet have to sell another big player in the summer. Any potential move for the number ten is likely to depend on how the situation behind the scenes at Malaga plays out, as they'll be keen to keep their new Champions League star while they're still in Europe.
What's being said?
“Liverpool approached Herrera at the end of last season and made offers between €15m and €20m, but Herrera did not want to transfer and the interest ended” - Madrid daily AS
“I didn't consider leaving [in the summer]. I feel loved by the people here, by the club, and that's really important for me” - Isco
Which of these two would you preffer at Anfield, or would City, United or perhaps Arsenal be a better destination? Comment below and let us know...