BRENDAN RODGERS is on a mission to convince owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) that his Liverpool squad needs an injection of experience before the transfer window shuts.
The Reds boss says his current crop are too 'quiet' and believes the arrival of at least one established senior professional would help to energise the team in the second half of the season.
Rodgers’s moves in the transfer market so far have been restricted by the fact that FSG want to invest in youth to build for the long-term.
However, over the past week skipper Steven Gerrard and striker Luis Suarez have both questioned the club’s policy of signing players under the age of 24.
“I’ve seen many signings throughout the world who have gone to clubs at the age of 28, 29 or even older and done fantastic jobs. Gary McAllister when he came here, for one,” said Gerrard.
Suarez added: “My mentality is that with young players, you win games. With experienced players, you win championships.”
Rodgers agrees and believes there has to be a degree of flexibility in Liverpool’s transfer strategy. Earlier this week managing director Ian Ayre told the ECHO that the policy wasn’t 'set in stone' and exceptions could be made.
Rodgers, who has Inter’s 28-year-old midfielder Wesley Sneijder on his list of targets, will put that to the test over the next fortnight.
“Steven and Luis are right,” he said. “You need to have balance in your group and experience is important.
“If you ask any manager, they are always looking for a young player they can develop and improve but there are certain times that you need that experience.
“Look at Robin van Persie at Manchester United as an example. You bring him in at 29 and there’s absolutely no question that he re-invigorates the likes of Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes.
“You don’t just bring in an experienced player for him, it’s what that can do to others.
“If we bring in an experienced player here of the right quality there’s no question it would give Steven Gerrard a wee boost, the likes of (Luis) Suarez and (Daniel) Agger as well. The younger players will learn off that. That’s the importance of it.
“If you are going to be up there fighting for titles then you have to have that blend. You have to have that seniority and that certain type of character mixed in with young players. That’s something as a club we have to work towards.”
Last weekend’s defeat to Manchester United when Liverpool paid the price for such a tentative first-half performance reinforced Rodgers’ belief that more big personalities are needed.
“I’ve got to say it’s a quiet team,” he said.
“There are some terrific characters and some wonderful players in it but you can’t be too kind. Kindness can kill you.
“Sometimes you have to be able to not play well and still win. This season we’ve either been outstanding and won or been disappointing and drawn or lost.
“There are key moments in games where you have to show those qualities to organise. That’s very important if you are going to succeed.
“It’s about personalities and you can’t make people what they’re not. At the moment we work with the players we’ve got.”
The summer transfer window ended in acrimony after FSG failed to back Rodgers in his pursuit of Fulham’s Clint Dempsey and the squad was left desperately short of firepower. The manager remains hopeful that the end to the current window will be more productive.
Having off-loaded high-earners Nuri Sahin and Joe Cole so far this month, there is cash available to strengthen as he looks to add to the £12million signing of striker Daniel Sturridge.
“The squad is smaller now than it was at the start of January so there’s no doubt we need to improve the group,” he said.
“(With Sahin and Cole gone) that’s money that can be re-invested back into the team.
“We’re just trying to ensure the right players come in who are going to make us better. There’s a lot of work going on with our scouting department.
“We knew this period of the window wasn’t going to be so active anyway. It will go down to the last week and we will see what we can do in that period.”
Much will depend on whether Rodgers can convince FSG to buy experience. The boss will passionately argue his case but insists whatever is decided won’t hamper his relationship with the owners.
“FSG - John Henry, Tom Werner and Mike Gordon, who are the people I deal with most - have been brilliant and I have no complaints,” he added.
“They have been very supportive and they understand when I say what we need to improve.
“I can identify players to fit into our work here but it’s not my money. The owners have been here for a few years and put vast sums of money into the club. They are now looking to see if they are getting value.
“There’s no doubt the owners want to have a look at young players who can be here for the next eight or 10 years and develop.
“I’m here to manage the group and I will always do what I think is best for the team.
“It’s healthy not to always agree. We have disagreed before, it’s not a problem.
“I haven’t got to where I am at such a young age by saying yes all the time.
“I’ve always known what I wanted and what will help the club improve. I will certainly always say what I feel will benefit the club.
“Hopefully we can get the players in here to help us to take it forward. In the mean time I’ll work with the players we’ve got and we’ll continue to fight.”
Rodgers has no fresh injury concerns ahead of today’s home clash with Norwich City. Full-back Jose Enrique is still sidelined by a hamstring injury.