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Liverpool Transfer News: Major Stars Eyed by Brendan Rodgers in Squad Overhaul

NORWICH, ENGLAND - APRIL 20:  Manager Brendan Rodgers of Liverpool looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on April 20, 2014 in Norwich, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Rory MarsdenFeatured Columnist IVJune 9, 2016

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will be given the resources to carry out a squad overhaul in the summer to prepare his side for Champions League football next season. 

The Reds' 3-2 victory over Norwich on Sunday not only kept them on course for a first league title since 1990 but also guaranteed them a spot in Europe's premier club competition, as reported on the club's official Twitter feed:

As a result, managing director Ian Ayre confirmed on Tuesday that the club would be looking to significantly strengthen the squad.

As reported by David Maddock in the Mirrorhe said:

What we achieved on Sunday was massive. This isn’t just about getting in the qualifiers [by finishing fourth] - we are guaranteed Champions League football. It is an unbelievable achievement from where we were.

There is no question we always expected that the squad we need for next season will be very different to the squad that we have needed for this year when we were not playing in Europe. That has always been on the cards.

We set out with an ambition to get into the Champions League, and now we are guaranteed third and we are determined to push on. It is all important for what we are trying to achieve.

It will be Liverpool's first appearance in the Champions League since 2009, and Maddock's report suggests that Rodgers may be given up to £70 million to spend on new players.

Read on for a look at whom the Northern Irishman might bring in to Anfield to strengthen the side that has lit up this year's Premier League.

 

Yevhen Konoplyanka

CLUJ-NAPOCA, ROMANIA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Yevhen Konoplyanka of FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in action during the UEFA Europa League group stage match between CS Pandurii Targu Jiu and FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk held on September 19, 2013 at the Cluj Arena in Cluj-
EuroFootball/Getty Images

The Ukrainian left winger has been a Liverpool target for some time, and a move for the Dnipro player in the January transfer window was thwarted at the last minute.

However, Rodgers confirmed after the failed attempt that the Reds would likely return for the 24-year-old in the summer.

As reported by Liam Prenderville in the Mirror, he said: 

The club did everything possible to get the player in. [...]

I've heard the problem mentioned was about the money but that was not a problem. It just wasn't to be.

I feel really sorry for the player because he was obviously desperate to come but it's gone now and we will review it in the summer.

Andy Hunter in The Guardian reported that Konoplyanka is valued at £16 million, which is certainly a figure Liverpool could afford.

The Anfield club boast strong attacking options with the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez in the squad, but the Ukrainian would add depth that is currently lacking and is essential for a club playing domestically and in Europe.

Tactical specialist Jonathan Wilson wrote of the player on Bleacher Report in January:

Konoplyanka also gives the option of attacking the full-back on the outside. He is quick and dynamic, and rather more disciplined than Coutinho if it comes to closing down an attacking full-back. The more options Liverpool have, of course, the less danger there is that they become predictable.

 

Marcel Schmelzer

Frank Augstein

While Liverpool have been scintillating in attack this season, scoring 96 goals in the league, they have been weak at the back, conceding 44 times, more than any other team in the top five, per BBC Sport.

Borussia Dortmund left-back Schmelzer could be a realistic, experienced and affordable target for Rodgers as he attempts to shore up his back line.

While Liverpool have been able to outscore most of their opponents this season, this may not be possible in the Champions League against sides like Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

And Schmelzer would bring great experience, having appeared for Dortmund in last year's Champions League final, which Jurgen Klopp's side lost to Bayern.

Sean Kearns on talkSPORT reports the 26-year-old is available for just £10 million, and German football pundit Jan Aage Fjortoft believes the form of Dortmund's Erik Durm could be key if Liverpool want to snap up Schmelzer:

 

Kyriakos Papadopoulos

PIRAEUS, GREECE - SEPTEMBER 18:  Kyriakos Papadopoulos of FC Schalke 04 during the UEFA Champions League group stage match between Olympiacos FC and FC Schalke 04 at the Karaiskakis Stadium on September 18, 2012 in Piraeus, Greece. (Photo by Dimitri Messi
EuroFootball/Getty Images

A long-term target for Liverpool, the Schalke centre-back would be another strong signing at the back.

The 22-year-old was heavily linked with the Reds last summer, with some reports suggesting that a deal had already been done, but it never came to fruition, as noted by Ben Jefferson in the Express. 

Schalke currently sit third in the Bundesliga table and their home defensive record is bettered only by that of Bayern Munich, per ESPN FC.

James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo reported last summer that the Greek defender could be bought for £12 million, another very reasonable amount for a player who would bring increased strength in front of Simon Mignolet

His physical presence would be a great addition to the Reds squad, as would his confidence on the ball. Papadopoulos' distribution skills would also fit in well with Liverpool's counter-attacking style. 

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