Liverpool F.C. manager Brendan Rodgers is hoping that qualifying for the UEFA Champions League will help the club attract world-class talent from abroad.
The Merseysiders (17-5-5), six points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur and 11 points ahead of current champions Manchester United, are the odds-0n favourites to claim the final Champions League place.
Liverpool were unable to lure any top recruits to Anfield last summer and failed to secure the signing of Ukraine international winger Yevhen Konoplyanka from FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk on deadline day last month.
Securing a place in next season’s Champions League would certainly help boost the Reds’ chances of bringing in top-class players in the summer.
For this season, Rodgers believes it is ‘vitally important’ to qualify for Europe’s top club football competition next term, with Liverpool backed by the bookmakers at 1/6 to achieve the aforementioned goal.
“I think it’s vitally important [we qualify]. For us to go to that next level that’s where we need to be,” said Rodgers.
“I took over the team in eighth and that’s what we have been building towards over the last 18 months.
“If we can get into the elite competition, it attracts a different type of player as well. I think it’s very important and hopefully it will be this year.”
Liverpool have been absolutely brilliant in front of goal this term. In fact, no Premier League side has scored more goals than the Reds, 70, in 2013/14.
“I would have confidence in saying that we are at Champions League level. Our performances and results have shown that,” added Rodgers.
“I think we have shown in our performance level that we are as good as any of the English sides in the Champions League this season.
“We just need to do it over the next 12 games and prove it on the field. If we do that, it will take us to that level.
“It is a competition that this club has a wonderful history in. It’s a level that we want to get back to.”
Liverpool certainly deserve to be on Europe’s biggest stage next season but even a top-four finish would not guarantee that.
If Liverpool finished fourth and Manchester United finished below their Merseyside rivals but won the Champions League, United would steal the Reds’ place in next year’s competition, much like Chelsea did to Tottenham two seasons ago.
Birmingham City sign Jordan Ibe on loan
Birmingham City have completed the signing of Liverpool winger Jordan Ibe on loan for the rest of the season, according to The Mirror.
The England youth international, 18, will wear the No. 8 shirt for the Blues.
Ibe, who joined Liverpool from Wycombe Wanderers in 2011, last played for Liverpool in the 5-1 rout of Arsenal at Anfield on 8 February.