Liverpool missed out on a deadline day signing of Yevhen Konoplyanka, but Brendan Rodgers still thinks he has enough for a top-four finish.
It was a frustrating January window for the Reds, who had initially hoped to sign Egypt international Mohamed Salah from FC Basle. Rodgers had felt confident of landing the 21-year-old, but was ultimately beaten to the punch by Jose Mourinho and Chelsea, who landed the young forward for a fee of around £11million on 23 January.
The Anfield boss then turned his attention to Ukraine international Konoplyanka, who was previously better known in this country for scoring against England at Wembley last year. Although Tottenham Hotspur had also shown an interest in the winger, it was reported on deadline day that his preference was a transfer to Merseyside.
A fee in the region of £15million had been agreed with Dnipro, who had been in talks with Reds chief executive Ian Ayre over the course of two days. And when the player had undergone a medical, it looked a certainty that the 24-year-old would be heading to the Premier League to link up with Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard and co.
However, as the clock continued to tick on deadline day, it transpired that the deal had fallen away after Dnipro president Ihor Kolomoyskyi refused to sign the necessary paperwork to rubberstamp the move. This has naturally angered Liverpool, who had spent the best part of two days focussing all their efforts on adding the player to their squad.
Speaking on the BBC after the window closed, former Kop favourite Danny Murphy claimed missing out on Konoplyanka was a big blow for the Reds’ top-four ambitions. However, earlier in the day, Rodgers had offered an opinion that even if he was unable to add to his options, his current squad was capable of achieving such a finish.
“If you look at the position we’re in with 15 games to go, we have shown consistently that we have the squad to compete,” he said on the official club website. “The benefit of the second half of the season is that there is still a lot of development left in a lot of our young players.”
Liverpool currently occupy the final UEFA Champions League qualifying spot in the Premier League, a position they strengthened with a 4-0 win over sixth place Everton on Tuesday. Tottenham Hotspur are in fifth place, three points behind the Reds, who will also be wary that Manchester United lie in seventh spot just six points off the pace.