Brendan Rodgers eyes Champions League positions with Liverpool

 

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits the club will have to at least give an indication they are capable of qualifying for the Champions League if they are to attract top-quality players.

The Reds have failed to finish in the top four in the last three seasons and that has undoubtedly impacted on the signings successive managers have been able to make.

Nine points currently separate them and fourth-placed Chelsea but Liverpool could strike a significant psychological blow if they beat Tottenham, who are only four points better off than them, at White Hart Lane tomorrow.

Spurs have shown over the last couple of years what effect the lure of Europe's elite club competition - combined with a healthy transfer budget - can have.

In the summer they signed two of Liverpool's major targets midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson and forward Clint Dempsey from under the nose of Rodgers as a result of better financial backing.

The Reds boss knows he cannot compete with the money counterpart Andre Villas-Boas has at his disposal and accepts rebuilding for a top-four challenge may take a while.

"Over the course of the summer they invested something in the region of £55million net in terms of everything they were putting into the group," said the Reds boss.

"But it is not just in the last window, Tottenham have been building the group steadily and have worked their way up the league to become challenges for those Champions League positions.

"We are trying to arrive in that position and we see that what sometimes it takes in order to do that.

"Of course Liverpool want to be in for the top players and top talents and this is a club which will bring those players here.

"But obviously a lot of players want to be in the Champions League so if they want to come in here that is an area we want to get into in the coming years.

"We know we are not too far away and are very close to be arriving in that zone that we want to be in."

Rodgers' squad requires some significant arrivals in January but the manager has stated on several previous occasions he will not have a huge amount to spend.

But the Northern Irishman is hopeful alternative methods will be equally as successful.

"If you haven't got the investment you have to find other ways of doing it and that is where we are at the moment," he added.

"That is the challenge for us and one we are accepting.

"Globally we are looking at a way of working, can we be different in our way of playing, can we find a bargain somewhere, can we develop young players and bring them through?"

Rodgers dismissed as "irrelevant" the suggestion Tottenham had made a serious approach to him to replace Harry Redknapp in the summer.

He also stressed he could have signed Sigurdsson - who was asking for double the £30,000 weekly wage Liverpool were offering - had they wanted to pursue the deal.

But the Liverpool manager accepted they were priced out of a move for Dempsey after Fulham, unhappy at what they felt had been Liverpool's very public courting of the player, asked for £6million when he had been offered to other clubs for £4million and owners Fenway Sports Group refused to sanction the additional spend on a 29-year-old.

"I was very happy in my work at Swansea. Harry did a brilliant job there and for whatever reason they decided it wasn't to be and looked elsewhere," he said.

"Tottenham is a terrific club with a great history but for me this is a really unique football club and I've not regretted a moment.

"Tottenham have chosen a manager, they have decided to go down the route of Andre Villas-Boas and he will look to continue the great work Harry did.

"My only thinking and importance is on Liverpool."

On the two failed summer transfer bids he added: "It (Sigurdsson) was something that if we wanted to do it we could have done it but it wasn't to be and we moved on.

"There was an offer to sign Dempsey - he was obviously a player who had done well during his time at Fulham and I am sure the likes of ourselves and other clubs were interested.

"But the club felt they had done what they could to get the player and he moved on to Tottenham."

PA

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