After seeing their top-four chances all but die, Brendan Rodgers admits Liverpool need to invest in their squad during the January transfer window.
The Reds narrowly missed out on a first title since 1990 last season, but this term they have struggled to keep pace with the contenders. This is due in no small part to the departure of Luis Suarez, who joined Barcelona for £75million following the World Cup Finals, whilst his former strike partner Daniel Sturridge has managed just 12 league matches all campaign due to injury.
A 1-1 draw at the home of champions Chelsea on Sunday, whilst an impressive result, is ultimately not enough for the Anfield club in their pursuit of a fourth-place finish. They are now six points behind Manchester United with two matches left to play, but the club from Old Trafford have a far better goal difference which all but confirms they will finish above their rivals.
Rodgers must now reflect on what has gone wrong in the red half of Merseyside over the past nine months, as he looks to regroup his squad and go again next season. Although he spent heavily ahead of the current term, the Northern Irishman believes he needs to raid the transfer market again during the coming summer so he can add more quality to his first team options.
“We sit in fifth place and that’s probably where we’re at,” he told Sky Sports following the draw at Stamford Bridge, in which Steven Gerrard equalised. “If we want to make the next steps, we need to find some acquisitions in the summer to help us do that. The players that I’ve worked with have been brilliant, given everything. Like today, we’ve been very unfortunate.”
Following the departure of Suarez, Rodgers spent £107million over the course of last summer, most of whom have failed to have a positive impact. £16million Mario Balotelli has been the biggest flop and looks certain to leave in the coming months, whilst Southampton received a combined £49million for Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Rickie Lambert. Lazar Markovic was brought in for £19.8million, Alberto Moreno for £12million, and Emre Can, who has impressed, for £9.8million.
If Liverpool are to challenge for a place in the top-four next season, which areas of the first team squad does Brendan Rodgers need to invest in?