At the highest level, football clubs have to be one step ahead of their rivals in every aspect on and off the pitch, particularly with regards to transfers—and Liverpool's reactive transfer policy this summer is a fine example.
Recognising the loss of PFA Player of the Year Luis Suarez, Brendan Rodgers and his scouts have identified the recruitment en masse of attack-minded talents as the ideal strategy in curing the hangover that is the Uruguayan's departure to Barcelona.
With a like-for-like replacement being simply non-existent and infeasible by any stretch of the imagination, the Northern Irishman in charge of the Reds has opted for the next best thing—signing players who can give him plenty of tactical options, provide unpredictability and versatility in Liverpool's lineup and, in some cases, who have invaluable experience of the Premier League.
The only way to describe the post-Suarez spending is a full-on splurge, and one that is showing no sign of halting.
The double south-coast swoop for Merseyside native Rickie Lambert as well as former Southampton skipper Adam Lallana displayed Rodgers' recognition for homegrown talent in a diverse squad, and the astute signing of Bayer Leverkusen's Emre Can will administer attacking football from the heart of midfield. Lazar Markovic might well be seen as one for the future, but the Serbian starlet will be sure to feature early and often for Rodgers' squad.
Add to the mix the heavily rumoured signings of the likes of Loic Remy and Belgian Divock Origi (via Simon Rice of The Independent), as well as more speculative business involving quality players such as Real Madrid's Isco (the Daily Mirror), and all signs point toward a confident and brash summer of arrivals at Anfield.
Of course, losing Suarez will still sting for Liverpool. Thirty-one goals in all competitions will be very difficult to replace, and whether all these new signings will be able to replicate those attacking endeavours from the first kick of the ball will be an uphill battle, make no mistake.
As Tottenham Hotspur found out last year in the wake of losing talisman Gareth Bale, adding highly rated players for sums in the range of £15-£20 million and throwing them together in the hope that they will combine effectively to replace a forgotten star is a risky stratagem, to say the least.
Rodgers has already started to counter those fears with his early focus on acquiring Premier League-proven talents—especially prodigious considering two of those, Lambert and Lallana, have been playing together for years. The deal for Remy, if it comes off, will create a trio of attacking threats validated in English football.
The other boon Liverpool will reap from these deals is that, perhaps unlike Tottenham's squad at the genesis of the 2013/14 campaign, their starting 11 even without Suarez is a fearsome one. Steven Gerrard will obviously remain at the helm, and the breakthrough seasons for Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho mean those four players will be difficult to budge from starting roles at Anfield.
These additions, rather than replacing talents, are supporting them instead. It's all about the acquisition of quality in depth, and with Rodgers' philosophy placing a firm emphasis on the growth of young talents, the likes of Sterling should have few fears about losing much playing time.
Alongside attacking signings come the bolstering of the defence—enter Dejan Lovren perhaps (per Alan Smith of The Guardian). Tightening the Reds' leaky defence will help cut the workload of the side's strikeforce, as well as provide balance. It's all well and good the side were able to score four or five goals at will last season—it'll be even better when the defence can be relied upon, so those four or five goals aren't necessary to secure three points.
Concerns will linger regarding the sheer number of new procurements and exactly how they'll fit into Liverpool's personnel. Will these new signings disrupt squad harmony to an unwanted degree?
With expectations high after an explosive 2013/14 campaign which sees the Reds competing in the Champions League after a five-year absence, the squad and manager have to be on the same page from day one in order to make the return a triumphant one. Of course, competition is healthy, and the squad's ethos of blending British talent with stars from across the globe will remain intact and only improve Liverpool's chances this season.
Rodgers and company have correctly identified the way to go about replacing Luis Suarez. Their first season without their mercurial No. 7 will be peculiar—but so far at least, Liverpool are doing everything they can to make it as comfortable as possible.
All stats from WhoScored.com unless otherwise noted.
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