Can reshaped Liverpool and shorn Saints deliver change for the better?

Anfield manager Brendan Rodgers denies doing a 'Spurs' by squandering Luis Suarez money

The red sign outside The Albert warns of a demolition zone. Although the pub will survive, if plans to redevelop Anfield are executed as promised the surroundings will have transformed by 2016. The brooding terraced houses on Tinsley Street and Gilman Street will disappear. Those on Lothair Road have already gone. The cranes are moving in. There is no access through Rockfield Road.

LIVE: LIVERPOOL VS SOUTHAMPTON LATEST

Inside Anfield today, there too will be a sense of unfamiliarity. Only five of Liverpool's starting XI which lost this fixture against Southampton last September are likely to feature from the beginning. Meanwhile, the Saints' new manager Ronald Koeman is able to name only four but is likely to go with three. The changes this summer have been swift and unprecedented.

When Alberto Moreno was pictured glancing at the bronze bust of Bill Shankly that stands inside the foyer of Liverpool's Melwood training ground ahead of his medical on Wednesday afternoon, he became the eighth new signing to complete the routine with club photographers.

Never has a recruitment campaign been as bold with eight new arrivals at a total coast of nearly £100m. "Frighteningly shallow," was Brendan Rodgers' assessment when asked on Thursday about his squad depth last season. It was not just Steven Gerrard's slip against Chelsea that cost Liverpool the title in May. It was also the physical and mental fatigue that crept into the players. It was the absence of options from the bench.

Rodgers dismissed the suggestion that Liverpool, having sold Luis Suarez for a record fee, are following the same rock-strewn path as Tottenham Hotspur when they sold Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for £80m and squandered the lot. "It's an evolving team," said the Liverpool manager. "It's a totally different scenario [compared with Spurs]. We are clear in our identity of how we play and how we work. The guys from last year will be here and we've added some exciting talents."

Although Adam Lallana is ruled out because of injury, Rodgers will start with Dejan Lovren in the centre of his defence while Rickie Lambert might appear later from the substitutes' bench. All three were Southampton players at the start of June and each targeted because of the similarities in style between the teams. "They understand the pressing, the intensity and the possession," explained Rodgers, who believes Southampton's owners could have held on to the trio if the determination was really there. "They don't have to sell. You have a choice. Maybe Southampton's objectives have changed."

Rodgers suggested, however, that Southampton's shedding of its best players is a natural order. "It has always been like that," he responded to a question about why it is difficult for clubs like Southampton to build any sustained momentum. "You fight hard against it but it's how football works." He could have cited a period in the 1980s when the same thing happened. Southampton had accomplished players: Tim Flowers, Mark Wright, Andy Townsend, Alan Shearer and the Wallace brothers. The core was there. Yet all were sold before a team could emerge. Liverpool's Rickie Lambert in action during a pre-season friendly soccer match between Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund Liverpool's Rickie Lambert in action during a pre-season friendly soccer match between Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund
No club, perhaps, is imprisoned by its past as much as Liverpool, although inspiration can be found in history. They have been here before. Finishing second in the top flight, a young manager approaching his third season in charge, the team losing its best striker. In 1987 Ian Rush left for Juventus having never featured on the losing side whenever he'd registered a goal. He would soon be back, becoming the club's greatest scorer.

Kenny Dalglish took the decision to alter the way Liverpool attacked. It would cost a lot of money, roughly £350,000 more than the £3.2m received to make Rush the subject of a British-record transfer. John Aldridge may have borne a physical resemblance to Rush but the two forwards were very different. Dalglish signed John Barnes, the team's first natural winger in a decade, as well as Peter Beardsley to replace himself. On the pitch the team clicked immediately – no longer was any player greater than the sum of its parts – and with that, the old First Division title was wrested from Everton.

The player departing this time is Suarez. Unlike Rush he will not be returning to Merseyside. Liverpool's transfer committee involves Rodgers, chief executive Ian Ayre, head of recruitment Dave Fallows, chief scout Barry Hunter, and head of analysis Michael Edwards. The group would surely have appreciated the Uruguayan might leave when it was would be inserted into a fresh contract he signed last December. An oversight not to plan without him would be at best naïve or at worst negligent.

Rodgers reminded everyone that even with Suarez's 31 League goals last season, Liverpool managed another 70 from other areas. He says that although he would still like to add another striker – with Samuel Eto'o only considered an option if other targets like Wilfried Bony aren't available for a reasonable value – it is impossible to replace a striker of Suarez's quality directly. "We've had to piece the team together to get goals," he admitted.

Southampton’s on-loan Saphir Taider Southampton’s on-loan Saphir Taider
It is detectable that even with all of the new additions, Rodgers is most excited about the prospect of other players already there stepping forward in Suarez's absence. He envisages that Raheem Sterling will become a key performer, "a kid forming his own identity," someone who will be offered an improved contract soon, providing his astonishing rise continues.

"We just have to be careful because when you reward young players too quickly – he's still 19 – you give them too much and too early, then that will be their downfall," he warned. Rodgers considers this as the reason why so many young British players have not developed as expected. "They buy a new Range Rover Sports before they have even got their driving licence or passed their test."

Philippe Coutinho, a Brazilian, has not apparently been contaminated by this and soon contract negotiations will begin with him as well. Time seemingly stood still when he assisted Daniel Sturridge for Liverpool's opener in the dismantling of Borussia Dortmund last weekend. Sturridge already calls Coutinho "David Blaine" after the illusionist, and Sturridge was never quite as forthcoming with praise for Suarez. Rodgers will be hoping the relationship does the trick this season.

News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own