Liverpool Transfer Rumours: January Budget Threatens to Dislodge Top Four Hopes

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJanuary 15, 2014

Liverpool's hopes of adding to the squad this winter have been rocked after it emerged that there are stricter transfer constraints in place than may have been previously known. 

The revelation promises to upset the Reds' race toward a place in the top four this season, with the 2013-14 end-of-season run-in looking like the club's most promising for a number of years.

The Daily Mail's Chris Wheeler says that American club owner John Henry is set to fly into England this week for talks with Brendan Rodgers, the topic of transfer allocations being among the top priorities on discussion. 

Offence clearly ranks highly with the Northern Irishman, who says: 

The responsibility has always been the team. We always want more. When you play in those attacking positions it's your job to create and score goals.

It's said that Basel attacker Mohamed Salah could be the club's only purchase, an excerpt from Wheeler's report reading:

Rodgers is known to want a left-back, centre-back, midfielder and a striker but it is likely that most of his targets will have to wait until the summer.

The exception could be Salah, 21, who is valued at £16 million by Basle. Liverpool are looking to pay little over half that for the versatile Egypt international and face competition from Atletico Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen.

Liverpool know all too well what the impact of failing to maintain consistency feels like, having gone into the new year at the top of the table during the 2008-09 campaign but ultimately finishing second to Manchester United.

Although that fall from grace may not have been solely linked to a lack of transfer movement, the Merseysiders aren't in quite as strong a position this term while the Premier League's hierarchy has only become stronger in the years since.

The likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and United all either boast deeper resources or have their eyes set on big transfer movements this winter, whereas Liverpool may now be forced to look at smaller expectations.

The club's first team have proven that they're fully capable of returning to Europe this season, but injuries in key areas could prove to upset any such aspirations.

The BBC's Ben Smith admits that things are quiet at Anfield right now, and even a deal for Salah may have to wait until summer:

In the absence of Daniel Sturridge, Luis Suarez has soared in front of goal, flying to the summit of the division's scoring charts with his 22 scores thus far, but his absence would dramatically impact Liverpool's trajectory.

Meanwhile, the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling, Victor Moses and Jordan Henderson have done their jobs out wide, but it's no surprise to see that a player of Salah's skill set is among the top targets.

Options in every position is something a squad must boast if they're to compete among Europe's elite, but the full-back positions and central midfield strike as being a tad too shallow as things stand.

Waiting for the summer may be prudent as far as the business goes, but on the pitch, Liverpool could suffer if caught short in their reserves.

Following a bright start to the campaign, the coming five months will serve in proving whether or not the club are worthy of rejoining the continent's higher powers, with their winter reinforcements set to have a massive impact in chasing that dream.

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