Brendan Rodgers: No danger of complacency
Published 22/05/2014 | 17:09
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists there will be no complacency from the side next season as he expects his summer signings to help by providing some much-needed competition.
The Reds exceeded expectations in finishing second to Manchester City and even though their surprise bid for a first title in 24 years ended disappointingly, the main priority of securing Champions League football was achieved.
However, Rodgers knows qualifying for Europe's elite club competition for the first time since 2009 is merely the first step, and he has to ensure they not only cement a regular place in the top four but continue to challenge for the title.
News that 31-goal striker Luis Suarez underwent arthroscopic surgery on a tear in the meniscus of his left knee on Thursday, sustained in training with Uruguay ahead of the World Cup, was not a great cause for concern at the club as the player is expected to return to fitness within three weeks.
But Rodgers does know his squad needs significant strengthening ahead of the new season and moves have already been made to address that with an early approach for Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana, with discussions continuing as the two clubs try to thrash out an acceptable fee.
"There is certainly no complacency," said Rodgers of their unexpected second-place finish.
"You can't take your eye off the ball and this is an ever-evolving league which gets better every season.
"We need to draw on the positives of this season, of which there are many, and we need to add players who can improve us as that is key.
"You have to retain your hunger so you bring in players with that profile as well as the tactical and technical intelligence.
"We had a three-hour recruitment meeting (last week) and as much as we have had a good season we want to go one better next year."
Rodgers believes the players who went through the experience of a title challenge will be stronger mentally next season.
"I think every title run-in will always have the pressures that come with it and we have shown we can cope with it, winning 12 out of 14 games which is a monumental effort," he told LFCTV GO.
"We picked up 37 points from 42, a remarkable number of points.
"We took it as a compliment as staff and players that we were being talked about as title winners.
"We had obviously excited people by our football. That showed the significant progress we were making."
While Lallana is the player Rodgers has made his number one priority there are a number of other targets Liverpool have expressed an interest in, including Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Emre Can and Sevilla left-back Alberto Moreno.
However, contrary to reports, Press Association Sport understands Barcelona forward Pedro is not being considered as a potential signing.
While agreeing a fee for Lallana may take some time, there are other complications associated with their interest in Can as former club Bayern Munich had a buy-back clause inserted into the deal which took the midfielder to Leverkusen last summer which they can utilise in 2015.
"We know there is interest but have nothing official," Leverkusen's sporting director Rudi Voller told Bild of Liverpool's monitoring of the player.
"It is clear that Emre now has a clause in the contract - a decision is still pending.
"The business would be lucrative but that is not the sticking point.
"We are of the opinion that Emre would still do well another year with us.
"Roger Schmidt (Leverkusen's coach) has already spoken with him, he is really into the player, and I am convinced that Can would be even better with Roger.
"Of course I spoke with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Bayern Munich chairman) on the subject.
"They think that for Emre's development another season with Leverkusen would be just right."
The agent of Fabio Borini, who had an impressive season on loan at Sunderland, does not expect the striker to leave Anfield this summer despite interest from the Black Cats and abroad.
"I know for certain there is interest not just from them (Sunderland) but there have been approaches from several countries, including Italy," Marco De Marchi told Calciomercato.it.
"I have not spoken to Brendan Rodgers yet but the player is tied to Liverpool for another two years and at the moment I don't see that he could leave.
"Anyone who wants Borini will have to talk to Liverpool but I know he would like to continue his Premier League adventure because it's a style of football that suits him perfectly."