Liverpool Transfer News: Reds Need Big Signings to Compete in Champions League

Gianni VerschuerenFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2014

Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers during their English Premier League soccer match against Manchester City at Anfield in Liverpool, England, Sunday April. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Clint Hughes)
Clint Hughes

Just three more teams stand between Liverpool and their first English title in 24 years, and as the players and coaches prepare for the all-important fixture against Chelsea, scouts and management are already looking ahead at the summer transfer window as the club try to continue their ascent.

Managing director Ian Ayre told BBC Sport the club plans to give coach Brendan Rodgers all the financial means he could need as the Reds prepare for the rigors of Champions League football next season.

The holy grail of European club football makes for a heavier work load, but it also brings with it added funds and the prestige needed to lure the best players to your club, something Ayre acknowledged:

It will cost what it costs when we decide who the manager wants to buy.

It has always been tougher in the transfer market when you are not competing at the highest level.

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.

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.

The Reds clearly aren't lacking in talent. Per, the team are winners of nine straight fixtures, having scored more goals than any other Premier League team and leading the race for the title by five points.

The 44 goals the club has conceded, good for eight in the league, is a slight concern, but when you feature such a devastating offensive unit, conceding a goal here and there isn't a tremendous issue.

Sky Sports analysts Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville discussed the team's defensive unit performances this season and agreed improvements would be very welcome, despite the team's offensive qualities (starting at the five-minute mark):

Many of the team's top contributors have youth on their side, and players like Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho look like they will only improve with time. While it's always wise to look for talented youngster to groom into top players, Liverpool are in no ways desperate for talent.

But for all of the team's riches in youthful talent, the Reds are severely lacking in depth. And while that hasn't hurt the club in 2013-14, the added responsibilities of the Champions League make lack of depth the club's main priority going into the summer transfer window.

Apart from the obvious fact that more tournaments mean more matches (six at least, to be precise), more midweek matches place a heavier strain on players, often resulting in injuries clubs who don't play European football can avoid.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04:   (EDITORS NOTE: Retransmission of image #460558025 with an alternate crop) Theo Walcott of Arsenal lies injured on the pitch during the Budweiser FA Cup third round match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Sta
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Ask Arsenal what injuries can do to teams that don't have the kind of depth the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City have.

The Gunners' title bid was completely derailed by a handful of injuries, and their season turned into a nightmare in just a few short weeks in March.

Liverpool have done a solid job of signing depth players and prospects over the years, but the likes of Iago Aspas and Fabio Borini will only get you so far. They're good enough to help out in the Premier League, but against some of the world's best and deepest squads, they'll be blown off the pitch.

Look at Real Madrid. Going up against Bayern Munich on Wednesday, Cristiano Ronaldo was just returning from injury and Gareth Bale had the flu, per Sky Sports:

No problem. Los Blancos alternated their two stars, making sure neither would be overworked, and Angel Di Maria filled in admirably on the other wing.

In the other Champions League semi-final, it was a similar story. Chelsea's John Terry was forced to leave the pitch against Atletico Madrid with an injury, but the Blues just dropped David Luiz one row back and introduced Andre Schurrle, as shared by The Sun:

Liverpool are on the verge of winning their first league title in 24 years and will make their return to the Champions League next season. The next step in continuing that ascendancy is to stop thinking like the Reds of old and start thinking like the type of club they want to be.

That means adding stars. Real talent. Players who can rotate in and out of the squad to keep everyone fresh as the season goes along. With the FA Cup and League Cup also on the schedule, there will be plenty of minutes to go around for everyone.

With all due respect for the Gunners, Arsenal are the perfect example of the type of scenario the Reds should look to avoid, as shared by Bleacher Report:

If managing director Ayre follows through on his claim that it will "cost what it costs when we decide who the manager wants to buy," the Reds' manager should take full advantage of that budget.

If the team can add two or three class players on top of the usual haul of prospects Rodgers seems to unearth, Liverpool will be in much better shape heading into next season's heavier slate of games.