In just over a year Rodgers has overhauled the Anfield squad, dramatically reducing the wage bill by axing some of the overpaid dead wood he inherited, while signing potential stars like Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge. In the last year Rodgers has trimmed £25m a year off Liverpool’s wage-bill.
Rodgers explained to reporters the sort of players he is looking for this summer, in order to challenge for a Champions League place.
“We need one/two centre-halves, and I’m looking to bring 20 more goals into the team – so I’m also looking at an offensive player to give us a real threat on goal and another attacking midfield player,” he added.
“We definitely need to do that, especially if we’re going to put some young ones out on loan to gain experience.
“It’s not easy when you can’t make mistakes, but we want to keep the acceleration and pushing on so this is a very important window for us.”
Rodgers believes he has signed a potential gem in little-known Celta Vigo forward Iago Aspas, who will complete a £7million move this week, while also lining up another young Spaniard in Luis Alberto. Aspas in largely unknown outside Spain, but made an impact on La Liga last season with 15 goals, while Alberto impressed on loan at Barcelona’s B side, and shows huge promise at a tender age.
With Armenian hot-shot Henrikh Mkhitaryan and highly-rated Greece centre-back Kyriakos Papadopoulos also lined up, Rodgers feels that the next season’s Liverpool squad will have the quality and depth that was missing last season:
“There’s a pressure that comes with it and I believe we’re in a much better place to challenge now. I think we can do it – I believe we have built a real good base this year.
“Of course, it will be a tough ask because, as we improve, other clubs will have masses more money to do so as well. But it’s not my job to look for excuses, I have to find the solutions to try to push us in there – and I believe we won’t be too far away.”
“What we showed last season was promise. There were moments of disappointment and moments of delight, but when I look at the reality of it we scored 47 goals the year before and this time got 71 – and we hope to add to that amount,” he explained.
“Defensively, for a team that was supposed to be very strong a year earlier, we only conceded three more goals.
“So in terms of numbers and performance wise we improved. Now I believe we will improve again – and we have to because we want to sustain a challenge and aim higher every season.”
Liverpool finished 12 points behind Arsenal and that final Champions League places. With Arsenal, and Spurs both expected to buy big this summer, it will be a big ask for Rodgers to make up that many points next season.
It will be even harder if he is forced to sell wantaway striker Luis Suarez to Real Madrid this summer. Suarez was brilliant last season, and the two replacement strikers Liverpool have been lined with, Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke and Real striker Karim Benzema are not in the same class as Suarez.
Do you think Liverpool can close the gap on Arsenal and Spurs and finish in the top four next season?