Liverpool transfer news: Brendan Rodgers seeks 'multi-dimensional targets' to bolster Liverpool squad ahead of next season's Champions League return
Liverpool's second-place finish this season sees them return to Europe's elite tournament, and Rodgers feels the need to add players with 'technique and intelligence'
Thursday 15 May 2014
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will target "multi-dimensional" signings in the summer as he looks to bolster his squad for the Champions League.
The Reds are back in Europe's elite club competition for the first time since 2009 after finishing second to Premier League champions Manchester City this season.
However, the playing resources are in serious need of strengthening if they are to compete on two fronts and Rodgers is looking at some significant re-shaping of the squad.
He has already targeted Southampton and England midfielder Adam Lallana as a priority and he is interested in Sevilla's Europa League-winning left-back Alberto Moreno.
"Our criteria that we look for is players with strong technique and football intelligence," said the Reds boss after their 4-0 friendly victory over Shamrock Rovers in Dublin on Wednesday.
"They need to mentally have the attitude and the capacity to learn and they have to be so hungry to fight for every ball on every day in training and in the game.
"You'll get some players who are specialists and who need to play in particular positions, but if we can get players in who are multi-functional, and can play in different roles and are multi-dimensional in their work, it sets us up and gives me more options as a coach.
"We've developed tactically over the last couple of years.
"Our style has been the same, but the structure of the team has changed a number of times in order to fit the needs of the games and to give problems to the opponent.
"In order to do that, you need players with the capacity to be tactically intelligent. It also allows you to keep your squad smaller and tighter."
Liverpool banked over £97million from the Premier League prize fund and television money this season and Rodgers could have between £40million to £60million at his disposal in the summer if he offloads a few unwanted players.
The futures of defender Daniel Agger and midfielder Lucas Leiva, both regular first-team starters, remains up in the air while loan signings Aly Cissokho and Victor Moses will both return to their respective parent clubs Valencia and Chelsea.
Forward Iago Aspas, signed less than 12 months ago, seems destined to return to Spain while winger Oussama Ossaidi could join Stoke permanently if a deal can be done having spent the campaign on loan at the Britannia Stadium while Fabio Borini's successful spell at Sunderland leaves Rodgers with a decision to make over the summer.
The future of Agger and Leiva remains unclear A number of other fringe players could be moved on but the likes of Jordon Ibe, who put in a man-of-the-match performance in Dublin after a short loan spell at Championship side Birmingham, will be given a chance to stake a claim for a place in the first-team squad.
"Jordon Ibe is a young player, 18 years of age. We're coaching and developing him," added Rodgers.
"He's been a wide player traditionally in a 4-3-3 but he came in for the second half and played at the top of a diamond and he showed wonderful intelligence and quality - technically and tactically - to play."
The youngster has received plenty of encouragement from Rodgers and hopes to be able to kick on when the team gets back together after their summer break.
"The manager has told me to try to work on my end product and get more goals," Ibe told liverpoolfc.com.
"I missed a few chances (against Rovers) so hopefully I can do well in pre-season with the first team.
"It was a great experience playing at Birmingham and I've gained a little bit of experience, especially from the senior players.
"Hopefully, coming back here I can work on it through pre-season and become a better player."
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