Liverpool transfer news: Brendan Rodgers to be given record funds to prepare for Champions League
Champions League place means bigger squad and better players
Liverpool will allow Brendan Rodgers a net outlay of £40m in the summer transfer market – more than any other Anfield manager – as the club seek to build on their qualification for the Champions League.
Liverpool believe that automatic qualification for Europe's elite competition will give them an edge in the market, having spent last summer battling to keep Luis Suarez at the club because of his desire to play in the competition. Sales of players could mean Rodgers has as much as £60m to spend, with the challenge for the northern Irishman being how to build and strengthen a squad which is clearly not deep enough to cope with the European dimension that was missing this season.
Read more: Liverpool's three remaining fixtures
When is the earliest Liverpool can win the title?
Is Sterling really the best youngster in Europe?
Central defensive reinforcements look the most essential commodity, plus a return bid for the £12m-rated Ukrainian winger Yevhen Konoplyanka, of Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, is thought likely.
But at a time when Manchester United are seeking to persuade their own targets to disregard the club's absence from the Champions League and join them, Liverpool's managing director, Ian Ayre, said that the club had learnt from painful experience that they could not trade on their name and that life outside Europe's elite club competition made securing the best players much harder. "Absolutely [you can't trade on your name.] You get a little bit of that, but there is definitely a challenge. That's the reality," he said.
Liverpool, who could take a huge stride towards clinching the Premier League title if they beat Chelsea at Anfield on Sunday, know spending brings no guarantees. Rafael Benitez's net spend over two windows in 2006-07 was £34m as he brought in £20m Fernando Torres and £11.5m Ryan Babel, only for Liverpool to finish fourth. Kenny Dalglish brought in £16m Jordan Henderson, £20m Stewart Downing, £8m Sebastian Coates, £7.5m Charlie Adam and £6m Jose Enrique in 2011. The net spend of his two transfer windows was £40.8m and Liverpool were still unable to regain their Champions League status.
But the club believe that the reputation they and Rodgers have built – resulting in automatic Champions League qualification, which almost went unnoticed at Norwich on Sunday – will help them build their squad.
"It has always been tougher in the transfer market when you are not competing at the highest level," Ayre said. "We had the issue with Luis [Suarez] last summer because he wanted to play in the best games against the best players. That is always a factor. We have always been fortunate to be able to bring great players here despite that, but there is no question it opens up a few doors for us and makes it a little bit easier. Even when you step through that door, there are still a lot of others trying to get the same players.
Read more: Suarez play acts yet again in win over Norwich
Latest win was inspired by Hillsborough
Suarez joins select group in 30 goals club
He continued: "It is fairly obvious that we set out with an ambition to get into the Champions League. It will cost what it costs when we decide who the manager wants to buy. There is no question we always expected the squad we need for next season will be very different to the squad we have needed for this year when we were not playing in Europe.
"What we achieved on Sunday was massive. This isn't just about getting in the qualifiers. We are guaranteed Champions League football. It is an unbelievable achievement from where we were. It is what we set out for, but if you were taking bets at the start of the season, you would have said fourth place would be a great achievement.
"Now we are guaranteed third and we are determined to push on. It is all important for what we are trying to achieve."
Latest in Sport
Commonwealth Games 2014: It ain’t London 2012, but Glasgow aims to go ‘with a roar’
Loic Remy to Liverpool: Striker undergoes medical in Boston ahead of £8.5m move
Louis van Gaal gets tough with Manchester United players, with Darren Fletcher and Luke Shaw berated in public and Phil Jones left looking bemused
CM Punk 'never ever ever' returning to WWE (so he probably will)
James Rodriguez joins Real Madrid: World Cup top scorer completes £63m move
- 1 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 3 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia