With the ability to become financially self-sustaining becoming possibly the most important thing in European football, the importance of reaching the Champions League seems to grow by size little by little. Liverpool, who haven’t been to the competition since 2009, need to spend more and better in order to get back there.
This season? It’s unlikely that we’ll see the Reds finishing in the top 4. While there’s certainly some sort of ‘Wind of Change’ mentality to some of the things going on at the club, they are only 7th at the moment, trailing sixth place Everton by three points, and fifth place Arsenal by five points. Europe will only come through the league, unlike last season when Dalglish tried to make winning the Carling Cup as a reason to keep him on the job after a disastrous 2012.
It’s not like Liverpool haven’t spent this season – Fabio Borini cost them £8 million and has been an injured failure up to this point; Joe Allen cost them £15 million and has been disappointing as well, but this is a signing for a few years, not only immediate satisfaction. Same goes for Assaidi, signed for £2.5 million but has hardly been given any chances. Daniel Sturridge (4 league goals in 5 matches) cost the team £12 million and has started his Liverpool career rather well. Philippe Coutinho was signed for £8.5 million and has made an impressive first impression.
Luis Suarez is a world class player and just as it important to improve the squad with quality signings, holding on to Suarez this summer, which will probably be filled with offers from Bayern Munich and possibly others (Juventus?) might be just as big as a new signing. Liverpool won’t be able to replace him if he goes, and Suarez, with 21 league goals this season, is the main reason they’re in contention for a European spot after a disastrous start.
So where is there room for improvement? Pepe Reina has been free falling in his confidence and ability in recent times. Funny that he is the one that speaks about big signings, although it’s unlikely Liverpool go for a new keeper at this time. The defense, especially finding a new centre back to partner Daniel Agger with, is vital. Martin Skrtel can’t handle a passing game, and has been the reason for too many goals this season, also effecting the form of Agger. Jamie Carragher is gone by the end of the season, and he isn’t the top class centre back the team needs either.
Finding a quality winger, despite all the youth developing (Suso, Sterling, Assaidi) might be another move Liverpool will need to make if they’re to go all-in next season, instead of trying to nibble at the big sharks. The midfield seems healthy enough, although finding a backup to Lucas, or maybe even a better player if the financial opportunity arrives, wouldn’t hurt.
Liverpool see themselves as a big club, one of the biggest in England and in Europe. Four straight season without the Champions League in their life is too much, not just because of the money. Prestige does go away in time, believe it or not. If you thought it was hard bringing in top talent last season, it’s going to get harder and harder unless they open their wallets, and on the right players instead of overrated and expensive English ones.