Ever since Liverpool failed to finish top four in the 2009/10 season, the club has struggled to bring in elite talent on a consistent basis. Sure, there were the Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, and Philippe Coutinho signings, but there have also been painful near misses and transfer flops. Moreover, some of the beloved stars that Liverpool were able to attain over the last decade have since moved on to greener pastures. You can't win them all, but in recent years Liverpool have lost out much more than Premier League rivals such as Manchester City and Chelsea, who boast Champions League football and seemingly unlimited money to spend. This has frustrated Liverpool fans, and Brendan Rodgers addressed the problem to the media.
"Over the last couple of years some of our top players have gone," Rodgers lamented. "I want to work with that elite level of player, as a coach and a manager. I enjoy working equally with the stars and world-class talent as I do with young players. This is Liverpool. We have to be in the running for the world's best."
His words strike a familiar chord amongst Liverpool supporters. For years, Liverpool managers have assured critics that the big players will still come to Anfield simply because "this is Liverpool," regardless of how the team is performing.
In fairness to Rodgers, last season was a major success, and the manager believes that the team's second place finish will convince targets that the club is headed in the right direction.
"Hopefully we showed that progress was being made until the summer. We have obviously lost players and brought a lot in which requires an adaptation period but I've great confidence that what we are doing is the right way to work. We just need to prove that."
It's the "adaptation period" that has some concerned about the level of talent that Liverpool can attract in this transfer window. The Reds are in 8th place right now, and are eight points removed from a Champions League position. While it's still possible to qualify for the Champions League, the club's standing to potential transfer targets has likely diminished over the past five months.
Rodgers is confident that club ownership is still financially committed to purchasing premier talent, which is key if he is to bring in new pieces this month.
"The owners here have been brilliant in my short period of time as manager and in the period before that in terms of how they have set up to run the club," he said. "They have done a magnificent job of pulling the club around and getting it moving forward again. There is always a bigger picture. The owners want to invest in the team and have made a commitment to do that."