It has been the best campaign in the English top flight for Liverpool in the Premier League era. The style with which manager Brendan Rodgers has the team playing and the confidence and tenacity he has breathed into the squad this term have propelled the Reds to just four wins away from their first league title win for 24 years.
Meanwhile, the back pages of the national newspapers are replete with rumours of incoming additions to his squad this summer as the build-up to the transfer window begins, but, in my estimation, Rodgers is unlikely to bring in anything but reinforcements.
First things first: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson, Steven Gerrard, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, and Simon Mignolet form the spine that sees the Reds top of the table with the title in touching distance. I don’t believe that Rodgers will undermine the work he has done this term to instil belief and confidence in his players by bringing in a raft of world-class footballers to compete with them.
Champions League football will, however, mean that he will need to bring in some quality to add strength in depth. But that doesn’t mean that he will bring in marquee signings – in fact, if you look at his record in the market with Liverpool, the players he has brought in that have performed best have been predominantly Premier League talent.
We are talking about Sturridge, Mignolet and Joe Allen – when he has looked elsewhere on the continent, it has been for bargains like Philippe Coutinho for £8.5 million from Inter Milan, Fabio Borini for £10m from Roma (who still needs to come back from his loan at Sunderland) and Mamadou Sakho (his most expensive signing) from Paris Saint-Germain.
If the 41-year-old spends big, then it will be on players who are already proven at the top level, and I suspect that he will bring in a few players for around the £10m-mark as opposed to one or two players worth £30m.
Rodgers doesn’t need a striker, he doesn’t need defenders and he doesn’t need central midfielders, but he may well opt to bring in some reinforcements in midfield and in wide areas. The spine of the first team will likely remain in Mignolet, Skrtel, Agger, Lucas, Gerrard, Henderson, Coutinho, Sterling, Suarez and Sturridge – what else does he really require?
I think that the Northern Irishman may well sign players with a view to the future – perhaps a defensive midfielder to eventually replace Lucas, a central midfielder to succeed Gerrard one day, and maybe, just maybe, another top forward to bolster the attacking lineup even more and keep Suarez and Sturridge on their toes next season.
The Champions League will be the only thing on his mind this summer and I think that his purchases will reflect that. I believe that Rodgers will add depth rather than competition for his regular starters and youth to learn from the old guard, but I wouldn't expect him to make massive signings.