Liverpool still in the market for new striker
Brendan Rodgers insists his side can cope without last season’s top scorer Luis Suarez
Liverpool Manager Brendan Rodgers still targeting another striker in the transfer window. Photograph: Richard Sellers/PA Wire
The Uruguay international scored 31 league goals last season as the Reds ran Manchester City a close second in the Premier League. However, the controversial 27-year-old left for Barcelona in a €94 million deal earlier in the summer. Without Suarez there is an assumption Liverpool will not be as effective but Rodgers does not think that will be true.
“The game is all about opinion and every team is forensically looked at in terms of what they will produce or not,” Rodgers said. “Luis was a world-class talent but we scored 101 goals last year and 70 of those came from other parts of the team. Every big team will lose a top player at some point but no-one is bigger than the club. If the fear factor is taken out of us that will be seen over the course of the season but for us there is no change.”
Liverpool beat Borussia Dortmund 4-0 in a friendly last weekend, a result that gave Rodgers plenty of cheer. “You saw against Dortmund we have goals in the team,” Rodgers said. “We had evidence of that last season as well and over the two years I’ve been here when Luis hasn’t played we have won most of our games. We had nearly a 70 per cent win rate in the Premier League last year which is a fantastic achievement and we hope to continue that.”
Despite Rodgers’s assertion that he has enough firepower left in the team, he is still actively trying to bring in another centre-forward before the window closes.
“We needed to improve the squad in the various areas of the team and that is what we have done,” he added. “We haven’t brought in another striker other than Rickie Lambert but we aim to do that. It is not as if there is any panic buying — the money is there.
“That would have been whether Luis was here or not, but with him gone we wanted to improve that top end of the field and that is something we will look to do right until the end. If we don’t, it means the right player hasn’t become available for us, and if that is the case we will continue with the group we have and I will be happy to go into the season with that team.” Liverpool are still waiting to confirm the signing of Sevilla left-back Alberto Moreno for €15 million.
He will not be available for Sunday’s opening match at home to Southampton, and there are a couple of other loose ends to be tied up on other moves in and out. Moreno’s arrival will take Rodgers’s summer spending beyond €110 million, although much of that is offset by the Suarez transfer, and he admits much of his business has been done with an eye on the future.
“We are nearly done. We have one or two more things to complete,” said the Reds boss. “If we can add one or two more to the areas we want to we will have had a great window and it will set us up. This summer will probably be our biggest window for the next couple of years. We are looking to make this a sustainable team for the next five to 10 years. We have brought in a lot of young talent so we are trying to look after the now but also the future of the team.
“We had a sustained challenge on the Premier League last season with 12 or 13 players so, irrespective of what happened with players going out in the summer, we needed more depth. “I am really happy and pleased with the players we have brought in as that will allow us to cope with injuries and competitions.”
While he is building for the future Rodgers denied any knowledge of reports of a new lucrative contract for 19-year-old England winger Raheem Sterling.
“It is the first I’ve heard of it. He is a young player that will be looked after at the club but you know more than me if that is the case,” said the Northern Irishman.