There was plenty of optimism surrounding Anfield yesterday morning as manager Brendan Rodgers spoke of hopefully adding two new faces to his Liverpool squad. Eleven pm came and the Reds had loaned striker Andy Carroll to West Ham, 18 months after his predecessor Kenny Dalglish bought him for £35 million, and signed no one. Their clear weakness is their inability to consistently find the back of the net and it is clear that they need a proven goalscorer to boost their ranks.
Rodgers was clearly confident of bringing in forward Clint Dempsey from Fulham but Fenway Sports Group failed to produce the £7 million needed to bring him to Merseyside. A figure like that is relatively measly in this day and age and Tottenham snapped him up with glee. Reds fans must be bewildered as to how FSG could spend a combined £57.7 million on Carroll and Luis Suarez in January 2011 but not fork out a figure over £50 million less to bring in Dempsey, a player who the manager obviously wanted.
A new era has started at Anfield, people should not doubt that, but it is starting to dawn on the fans that it is going to take at least a few years before Liverpool can even dream of going to Champions League finals again. There is still plenty of world class talent at Rodgers's disposal in the form of Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard and Daniel Agger.
Suarez is a special talent that needs to be enhanced into a special, prolific goalscoring talent. The amount of chances he creates is second to none, but his chance conversion rate is nothing short of dismal. One of the Northern Irish manager's biggest tasks over the coming months is to find the deadly finisher inside the Uruguayan that scored 50 goals in one season for Ajax and three goals in South Africa in the 2010 World Cup.
Rodgers also needs to get the best out of talismanic skipper Steven Gerrard, even if it is only for two or three more seasons. If he can score 10 to 15 goals this year it will make a huge difference to whether or not Liverpool can push for a top four spot.
The five-time European champions can still push for a Champions League spot but injuries must be few and far between as they have a squad that now features only 17 senior players. For a good campaign in all four competitions to come to fruition the Reds will need to have a good start to the season, and then boost the side in January. Rodgers kept his side of the bargain by offloading players and slashing wage bills, but FSG failed to keep theirs.