Molby: Owen a 'step backwards' for Reds

Liverpool legend Jan Molby says Michael Owen is not the answer to the club's attacking woes.

League approves Owen's Stoke deal

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Michael Owen (PA Photos)

There has been speculation that Liverpool could move to solve their attacking crisis by bringing in Michael Owen on a free transfer, but it would be a massive step backwards for the club and would also smack of desperation.

Liverpool would be better advised to leave Owen as a part of the club's past. He has had his best days, we all know that. He used to rely heavily on pace and now that pace has gone, and Owen is absolutely not a player who suits the style of Brendan Rodgers either.

I was at Anfield on Sunday and looking at that bench against Arsenal, Owen would arguably have been a viable option for Liverpool for 20 minutes or so. He is a goal threat, there is no doubt about that, and while there is no way he could start games, in theory coming off the bench is a possibility. But he brings too much baggage with him.

I don't think the fact that Owen played for Manchester United between 2009 and 2012 will have a great bearing on whether the fans want him back or not. I think the problem instead lies with the manner in which he left the club in 2004. That is what would rile the fans.

I think a lot of Liverpool supporters feel that Owen left Liverpool in the lurch that summer. He suggested that he would never leave the club but then departed for a cut-down price with one year remaining on his contract.

He forced Rafa Benitez into selling him and that is the issue the fans will have with him - the Manchester United aspect is secondary to that.

I know there are players out there who are unattached and available, but signing Owen would send a real signal of desperation. It is just not the way a top club goes about things. What is clear though is that Liverpool do need to bringing somebody in, even if it just to appease the fans a little bit.

The supporters are normally very patient but I sense real disappointment and worry at the moment.

Unless they do manage to sign a striker, Liverpool are stuck with what they have got until January 1. It is a small squad with big deficiencies up front and while the standard of play might improve under Rodgers, the lack of goalscoring prowess is always going to be a problem. Imagine if Luis Suarez picks up an injury - that would be an absolute disaster.

They have left themselves really, really short and I think like everyone else I was totally shocked to see Liverpool fail to bring in a replacement when they allowed Andy Carroll to join West Ham on loan. You don't need to be a genius to look at that squad and realise the club are a man short, possibly two. It was a very strange situation.

I think there is an argument that Liverpool did their transfer dealings back to front. They should have introduced goals into the team as a matter of priority. I know they signed Fabio Borini early on in the summer, but the main priority was Joe Allen when perhaps it should have been securing someone with pedigree of scoring goals in the English top flight.

Having said that, I don't know if Clint Dempsey would have been the answer to the club's problems. He certainly would have been a much needed body, but in terms of a goalscorer you would want someone of the calibre of a Klaas-Jan Huntelaar or even a Falcao. Those are the kind of goalscorers Liverpool need to sort their problems.

I read John W Henry's letter to Liverpool supporters and one part that caught my eye was where he said he would not do any deals that were not sensible to Liverpool Football Club, and that is his way out this situation, isn't it?

They probably felt that paying £6 million for Dempsey, plus his wages, was not what they wanted to do from a long-term perspective. But to be a top club, or to have aspirations of being a top club, it does cost money. There is no shortcut to success: you have to pay.

A lot of what Henry said made sense, but ultimately he did not explain why, having let Carroll go, Liverpool did not sign a striker or a goalscorer on the final day of the transfer window. That huge question remains unanswered.

They are obviously blaming previous regimes and you can do that for so long, but there has been a cleaning up process in place for a while now and I don't think it quite washes with fans.

They came to the club and made some progress to restore Liverpool to the way they used to be, but the only way you are going to get there is to invest. Massive investment gets you to where you want to be, and I think the fans will be very disappointed that hasn't materialised.

I think Rodgers feels as though he has been let down by the people in charge. I think there were certain promises made when he took the job and I am not sure all of them have been fulfilled. They have failed to back the manager, and they can't talk their way out of that.

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