Football: Liverpool can still compete with United says Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers (above) insists Liverpool can still compete with Manchester United in the transfer market despite their contrasting results in the last window. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Brendan Rodgers (above) insists Liverpool can still compete with Manchester United in the transfer market despite their contrasting results in the last window. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Brendan Rodgers insists Liverpool can still compete with Manchester United in the transfer market despite their contrasting results in the last window.

Reds boss Rodgers has watched the majority of his pre-season recruits struggle to adapt to life at Anfield, while United manager Louis van Gaal has largely been successful with his transfer dealings since arriving at Old Trafford in July.

With the two bitter rivals meeting at Old Trafford on Sunday, Rodgers was peppered with questions about his failings in the transfer market at his pre-match press conference on Friday.

United brought in Angel Di Maria for nearly £59.7 million (S$123 million), Radamel Falcao on loan on reported wages of £265,000-a-week with a £43.5million option to buy at the end of the season, Ander Herrera for £29 million and Luke Shaw for £27 million and also added Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind at a combined £30 million.

In stark contrast, Rodgers targeted Alexis Sanchez as his big-money signing to replace the departed Luis Suarez but lost out to Arsenal and ultimately spent £120 million on eight acquisitions including Southampton trio Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren.

But while United's key players have started to kick into gear, putting together a five-match winning run that has carried them seven points above the Merseysiders, none of Liverpool's arrivals have come close to making such an impact.

Asked whether United's transfer capabilities were now considerably outstripping Liverpool's Rodgers replied: "Not really, no.

"For us at Liverpool we don't compare to anyone, we look to ourselves and all you can do is make sure you remain solid inside of your work.

"There will always be things written on the outside and spoken about by people paid and unpaid to be critics but you can't really affect that.

"They (United) have some outstanding players. They had a good squad before that but they have brought in some very good players and got a very experienced manager leading them.

"But my focus is only on the players we were able to get and to work with them."

Questioned about whether, in hindsight, it would have been better to add some top quality rather than just padding out the squad with potential stars of the future Rodgers added: "That is what the club tried to do. It wasn't for the want of trying that the club looked to do that but we end up with the squad we have and we will improve those players with the staff like we have done over the last couple of years.

"We believe there is talent which has come into here that will grow over the next number of years to show they are top-class talents. Consequently the team will improve."