• Premier League

Liverpool eyeing 'three or four' more Coutinhos

ESPN staff
March 13, 2013
Philippe Coutinho has brought imagination to Liverpool's attack © PA Photos

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers wants to bring more fresh blood to Anfield this summer after seeing Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge flourish since arriving in January.

A lack of recruitment last summer - Joe Allen and Fabio Borini were the only major acquisitions - saw Liverpool left short of options, particularly up front, in the first half of the season.

However, the signings of Sturridge and Coutinho in January have reinvigorated the Reds and Champions League qualification is now not out of the question for the five-time European champions.

Rodgers is keen to further strengthen his squad at the end of this season, as he looks to take Liverpool back among the elite domestically and abroad.

"There is no doubt there is a natural rebuilding that will come with the likes of Jamie Carragher retiring," Rodgers said. "I am happy with the squad if I can then put another three or four quality players to it.

"It is quality we are after, not quantity. We see Coutinho and Sturridge's quality in January, if we bring in another three or four players of that quality and add that to what we have got then we have got a strong squad.

"You want between 20 and 22 players. I'm talking about two in every position and your three goalkeepers. Then below that having young players who can support that."

Rodgers insists he has learned from the mistakes made in last summer's transfer window, when Liverpool ploughed much time and effort into the ultimately unsuccessful pursuit of Clint Dempsey, without having a real contingency plan.

"Of course you have an ideal target, but we are getting to a situation now where, for me, you have to have three players and if one doesn't come off you have to be comfortable with the other two," Rodgers explained. "If you get one of those you are happy. There is a lot of terrific work going on with the scouting department getting those lists together.

"We never had that in the summer but there were some key positions we needed support in and what I didn't want to do was waste the club's money. I like to be extensive and know what we are bringing in, but also we did not have the time and that was the big issue. We are much better placed now.

"There is great collaboration that goes on between all the departments. January was a productive window for us and hopefully if we do similar in the summer then it's going to be a real good place for us."

Rodgers has put his faith in youth this season, blooding teenagers Suso and Raheem Sterling, though he is determined to handle them carefully in order to get the best out of them. That could mean a loan move for Spanish creator Suso.

"I have had a real good year with the young players to assess where they are at with their development," Rodgers said. "Suso has clearly shown he has been a very good cover player for us this season, the longer plan for him we have to have a look. Does he actually have to go and play somewhere for a year and get experience? Does he need to show he can go and get goals and create goals and then we know what we have?

"Raheem has shown he can play at this level, but I gave him a week off to get away from football mentally and physically. If the young players are good enough they will be involved in the squad, but I have to look at the individual plan to see if they can be here. Obviously, there might be people who aren't playing who might want to think about going elsewhere, but at the moment it's a strong squad."

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