After an excellent title challenge last season Liverpool have struggled to get it going this time around, finding life hard without the goals of Luis Suarez and the injured Daniel Sturridge. Brendan Rodgers has come under a lot of pressure in recent weeks about the performance of his team and the decisions he is making in terms of selection (for example, leaving Steven Gerrard on the bench). He spent a lot of money over the summer transfer window in an attempt to strengthen his squad, but it has failed to work out for him, with many of his signings flopping on Merseyside. So, come the January transfer window, Liverpool will look to be active again, but who and what should they target to move forward. 

Daniel Sturridge Fit and Healthy 
The Reds have certainly suffered in the attacking department without their second top goal scorer from last season. Losing Suarez was bad enough, but to lose Sturridge after just three games was a hammer blow to Liverpool's early season preparations. It is not easy to instantly replace a striker who scored over twenty league goals last season. Liverpool's answer was to sign Mario Balotelli and it's clear to see that signing has failed to work out. Sturridge was on the brink of returning last month, but picked up another injury in training, so no doubt the Reds will be more careful this time around. If it means leaving him out of the squad for an extra week to get that last 1% of fitness, then Rodgers needs to consider it, especially if the Reds progress in the Champions tonight against Basel. (This was written on the day of the game, if seen afterward). When he returns, I personally think it needs to be drilled into him to remain in the central striking position, as during the three games he played; he seemed to be comfortable with drifting to the wider areas in an attempt to pick up the ball. As a striker, Liverpool need Sturridge to leave the creating to players such as Sterling and Lallana, with him on the end of the passes rather than creating them himself. 

A goalkeeper signing 
The goalkeeping dilemma is a strange situation at Liverpool this year. With Pepe Reina returning at the end of last season, I personally thought they would do everything to keep him at the club. He then of course joined Bayern Munich. Since then, they have been linked with Victor Valdes, another move that fell through for Rodgers, leaving the club with just Simon Mignolet and Brad Jones as his cover. Mignolet, who was excellent in goal for Sunderland has been disappointing since his move to Liverpool. With over fifty goals conceded in the league last season, the Reds have struggled to keep teams out again this year, with Mignolet making a number of mistakes also. In the last month, his poor kick led to Crystal Palace taking the lead against Liverpool, before the game after against Ludogorets he spilled a weak, long range shot, leading to his side again going a goal down. Bringing in another goalkeeper could spur on Mignolet, competition always brings out the best in players. Take last year, when Manchester City dropped Joe Hart, it made him a better goalkeeper and he has since not relinquished that number one goalkeepers jersey. No doubt that Liverpool will want the same to happen for them. 

Gerrard's Replacement? 
Brendan Rodgers seems convinced that cannot play Steven Gerrard week in, week out. Resting him against Sunderland never worked, with the Reds unable to break through, which leads me to think, is it time to replace him completely or bring him back into the starting line-up? No doubt, the Liverpool captain still has the ability, although he may not be able to play the all round game like he used to in years gone by. Other than that, he is by far and away Liverpool's best midfielder and remains one of the best central midfield players in the league, if not in the world. Replacing him is going to be one of the toughest task for whatever manager is in charge at the time as it doesn't seem possible at the moment. With Emre Can, they don't have a player of the same irk as Gerrard, with the German more of a holding midfielder, so the Reds may choose to go into the market in either January or the summer. As for the remainder of the season, having him in the midfield is key to where the Reds finish in my opinion. Have him central, with the younger, fresher players surrounding him. Players like Jordan Henderson who will do the running and hassle opponents, to help Gerrard have more time on the ball. There is only one man in that Liverpool squad who can drive that Liverpool side forward and that man is the captain, Steven Gerrard. 

Central Defensive Partnership 
A final thing I have noticed about Liverpool in comparison to the other top teams in the league, if not the world, is the differing central defensive partnerships. You look at Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid etc.; they all use the same central partnership (injuries and suspension permitting) which gives them the best understanding in the important areas. Looking at Liverpool's defence, the best partnership in my opinion would be Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure, with Lovren and Sakho not good enough to compete in the Premier League. Losing Agger was a blow to the Reds I believe, so Rodgers may look to offload a defender in an attempt to strengthen the position more. Another thing they lack at the back is a leader. Jamie Carragher was the perfect example of a defensive leader; he never shut up on the pitch. He kept his back line in shape and organized. I have no doubt, with Carragher at the back; Liverpool would not be conceding fifty plus goals in a season with such a strong squad. 

They are just a few things I think that Liverpool need to press on with in an attempt to move forward come January and have an excellent second half to the season. Whether you agree/disagree is understandably opinionated, but I think they are the key areas as they represent the core spine of the team.