Brendan Rodgers believes the 2014 summer transfer window has established Liverpool as a top destination, but while optimism is in order, the return back to the summit of football isn't yet complete.
Rodgers told Sky Sports he believes the Reds' transfer activity so far indicates Anfield is a place that attracts top talent, citing several examples:
It’s a huge indication of the progress of the club, a really good symbol of where the club is at. We have made huge strides in the last couple of years. That ability to attract top players is great.
Lovren was a really good player for Lyon and Southampton. He was a guy sought after by a number of clubs, but for him to say he only wanted to come to Liverpool was great. Young Markovic had two or three other clubs waiting to take him, clubs where he had mates from his international team. But he wanted to come to Liverpool.
One only has to look at the players who arrived at the club over the summer to see what he means: Dejan Lovren and Lazar Markovic were joined by Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Emre Can, Divock Origi, Javier Manquillo and Alberto Moreno.
The Reds are clearly on the right path, and the sudden arrival of so much talent isn't a coincidence—Liverpool have put a lot of work into rebuilding a brand that was once the face of English football.
But some reservations are still in order. As of right now, the Reds are clearly a club on the rise, but they're not quite on the level of some of the top clubs in football (or even in England) yet.
Take Lovren, for instance. While the Croatian is a great defender who will instantly make the team better, there's no denying Liverpool greatly shorted the market by overpaying for his services.
The same goes for Markovic. Both players likely had plenty of suitors, but the fact the Reds were willing to spend well above market value influenced those sales as much as their current stature among top clubs did.
Lovren and Markovic are great players, but they're not of the level of Mehdi Benatia or Xherdan Shaqiri, similar transfer targets who have yet to commit to new clubs. Liverpool bought great players in 2014, but they didn't add world-class talent.
Reus is in the class of players a pundit would describe as "world-class" and the kind of talent top transfer destinations regularly attract. To achieve the level where Liverpool can truly challenge for the signature of these players, more work has to be done.
Are Liverpool already a destination for top talent?
The good news is that the foundation is there for the Reds to do just that. The squad is filled with young talent with the potential to develop into world-class stars themselves, and those kinds of players often attract similar talent.
Under Rodgers, Liverpool play a vibrant, attacking brand of football that nearly led them to the 2013-14 Premier League title. This team is exciting, and unlike most young and exciting teams, they have the financial backing to make sure they won't be losing their youngsters to other clubs.
The summer of 2014 also showed the Reds aren't afraid to spend money if they have to, indicating they will be willing to reward world-class talent should they make the decision to move to Anfield.
Liverpool's future is incredibly bright, but now is not the time to sit back and tell the world the work is done. If the Reds continue on the path Rodgers has set out for them, those world-class stars will soon follow.