Liverpool have made six signings this summer with more to come. It's part of a massive undertaking to make a Liverpool side widely considered too thin even to compete properly on one front deep enough to handle a return to Europe. With Luis Suarez departing, it's also become about replacing—though not necessarily on a one to one basis—the Premier League's top goalscorer.
For many, this inevitably brings to mind Tottenham, who last season saw star Gareth Bale depart and went on a spending spree. To most observers, the result was disappointing. However, the reality wasn't quite so bad: having lost their top talent and brought in £100M worth of replacements, Spurs were only three points and one position worse than they had been with Bale.
They may not have thrived, but they did survive. They lost their key player and at least didn't get markedly worse. And they did it to a background of managerial chaos and with the underwhelming Tim Sherwood in charge for much of the season. For Brendan Rodgers, though, no matter what one thinks of Tottenham last season, Liverpool and the replacing of Suarez is an entirely different situation.
"It's a different club and a different vision we have here," explained Rodgers when faced with the Tottenham comparison. "At Liverpool there's a strategy behind what we're going. We were talking a lot last season, right the way through, with the recruitment team. That was one of our objectives for the summer, because he had to improve the depth of our squad.
"Clearly we were not strong enough last year, in terms of depth in numbers and in quality. We always earmarked this summer to bring in a number of players in the hopes last season that we would be in the Champions League and that [the recruitment] would give us the opportunity to challenge on all fronts."
Liverpool last season had a starting eleven to compete with any side in the league. Take out a player through injury, or try to rotate a clearly exhausted starter, and things changed quickly. It's a situation that led to the unexpected emergence of Jon Flanagan as a capable Premier League fullback. It also meant relying on Victor Moses as the club's impact attacking substitution.
Depth was clearly needed, and with the new television deal in place the club were always going to go on a spending spree in order to get it. While Suarez changes the equation somewhat, it isn't at the root of why Liverpool have made the signings they have so far. And Rodgers insists those signings are being bought with an eye to how they fit into the current framework.
"The players we're bringing in have clear profiles in terms of where we want them to play, what their role will be at present," said Rodgers when asked about the chance all the new signings could unbalance last season's successful squad. "We see them as young players that can really develop in the future as well, so I would say that the [Totenham and Liverpool] are totally different.
"I understand the numbers and how it might look, but the integration and the induction into the group is going to be very smooth because we've already got a wonderful group of players here. They'll make it easy for the new players coming in."
Tottenham may not have done as badly replacing Gareth Bale as many have suggested, but to Rodgers the situations have little in common in any case. Tottenham looked to use the Bale money to build an en entirely new side while Liverpool, he believes, are looking to augment—and were looking to do so long before it became clear Suarez would not be returning.
No matter what happens, another key difference is Rodgers. Whatever one's opinion of Spurs, theirs was a case of managing director Daniel Levy doing the spending. After leading Liverpool to second last season, here it is the club's manager who is the driving force behind the club's transfer strategy, and any player who arrives can safely be assumed to fit his vision.
Success of course isn't a given, but there is a plan in place and it is the manager bringing in players he believes will fit that plan and integrate well with the existing squad. Not to mention that for most, a season of consolidation following Suarez' departure that sees Liverpool three points and one place worse in the final standings would probably be seen as a success.