Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has revealed he needs at least four new players in the summer, to ensure a legitimate challenge for a top four finish next season. The Reds are sixth in the Premier League this term, level on points with local rivals Everton but seven behind Chelsea in fourth.
"There is no doubt there is a natural rebuilding that will come with the likes of Jamie Carragher going. I am happy with the squad if I can then put another three or four quality players to it. It is quality we are after, not quantity," the Northern Irishman explained, "January was a productive window for us and hopefully if we do the similar in the summer then it's going to be a real good place for us."
Rodgers also acknowledged there may be some who could leave Anfield in the summer, to get regular first team football elsewhere. The Liverpool boss signed two players in the mid-season window - striker Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea and midfielder Philippe Coutinho from Inter Milan. And both players have revitalised the Anfield club and its fortunes.
The Daily Mail reports centre-back Ashley Williams and Dutch defender Stefan De Vrij could continue the Liverpool revolution for next season, while Newcastle United's Hatem Ben Arfa, Blackpool's Thomas Ince and Paris St Germain's Kevin Gameiro have also been considered.
The latter, a 25-year-old striker, has already confirmed he would be willing to move to the Merseyside club. In addition, the Premier League club were heavily linked with Ince, an academy graduate now with the Championship club all through January. And De Vrij and Williams, the latter from Rodgers' former club, Swansea City, are believed to be ideal replacements for the 35-year-old Jamie Carragher, who retires in the summer.
The manager believes greater squad depth and strength is one solution to the inconsistency that has plagued his club's season so far. Liverpool have often flattered to deceive this campaign and alternate excellent performances, like the defeats to West Brom (in the league) and Zenit St Petersburg (in the Europa League) that followed two excellent 2-2 draws away to Arsenal and Manchester City.
The ex-Swansea manager admitted, however, that he would be careful to ensure Liverpool would neither waste money nor lose key targets, like they lost American forward Clint Dempsey to Tottenham.
"Of course you have an ideal target, but we are getting to a situation now where, for me, you have to have three players and if one doesn't come off you have to be comfortable with the other two - If you get one of those you are happy," he stressed.