Brendan Rodgers must spend wisely as Liverpool's nearly men seek to build on revival

The club's owners, Fenway Sports Group, are ready to invest in three to five players whom the manager described as 'starters'

The pretence that the fight is still within them has all but gone. For the city that has known Istanbul 2005, there will always be idealism and blind optimism but the world of Liverpool Football Club seems already to be reaching beyond the prospect of playing Newcastle United on Sunday and how to build on this extraordinary renaissance.

That there should have been anything less than euphoria around the Melwood training ground today, at the prospect of a Premier League table in which Liverpool can finish no lower than second, reveals the way that this sport can drag your ambitions higher and higher, and then – for all your accomplishments – leave you crushed.

FOLLOW ALL TODAY'S PREMIER LEAGUE ACTION WITH OUR LIVE BLOG HERE

What Brendan Rodgers can cling to is the fact that his club's owners, Fenway Sports Group, are ready to invest this summer in three to five players whom he significantly described as "starters" – individuals who will not adorn the fringes of a side waging a fight on domestic and continental fronts. He wisely acknowledges that this club must be equipped to do more than race ahead in their new, dizzying way and just hope to hold on.

"We have started games amazingly well," Rodgers reflected. "We have been up in a lot of games before the hour-mark and not been able to manage the games through. There are going to be games next season in all the competitions – Premier League, Champions League, whatever – when we're going to need to be able to change the game.

"I have tried to do that this year with systems and different tweaks but next year it will be with personnel and that will be important for us. This season we need to bring in starters. One of the things watching the Man City [versus Aston Villa] game the other night, they are bringing on [Stevan] Jovetic who scores the goal – £23-24m, Fernandinho £29m, [Alvaro] Negredo £20m or whatever he was.

"That level of player to bring into the game is massive for you and I think this year the reality is we've been unable to do that." That defence of his will certainly have a different complexion come August.

The test for Rodgers will be to make the right choices. His acquisitions of last summer – Iago Aspas, Aly Cissokho, Luis Alberto and Mamadou Sakho – were the big disappointment of this season despite costing more than £37m between them.

He characterised his club as pretenders, who will be struggling to deal with the commercial might of other billionaire benefactor clubs. "We are shopping at a different shop to Manchester City and Chelsea," he said.

Manchester United, with potentially £150m to spend against Liverpool's possible £60m, are actually the club whose spending may make life more difficult, though Rodgers and his managing director Ian Ayre both believe that the attraction of Champions League football will make the difference.

Rodgers said his recruitment team have already experienced a different reaction in Europe, when meeting agents and watching players. "It has been great," he said. "We have to work hard to make the right decision for the right type of player to come in here. But there is no doubt [Champions League] helps you a great deal. Last year we spoke to a number of targets and they wanted Champions League football."

And so it is that while the continued pursuit of young talent will continue, Rodgers wants the impact players. Adam Lallana is a seriously attainable target who feels that, at the age of 25, he cannot wait around for Champions League football, which Manchester United will try to persuade him they can provide soon enough.

His worry – and Liverpool's – is that Southampton may hold out for £25m. The summer will also offer Liverpool longer to pursue Yevhen Konoplyanka with serious intent, unlike last January's last-minute scramble. "We will get players in that I think can improve us. I know we will get players that will add to that," Rodgers said.

Hope will always spring eternal in a place like this and on Sunday will be a chance to pay homage to an extraordinary, beautiful nine months. There will be wide smiles, shrugs of consolation and the bitter tinge of regret at what might have been.

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker