Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has revealed that he hopes to add at least one more player to his squad before the close of the January transfer window.
So far this month, the Reds have only been able to sign former Chelsea forward Daniel Sturridge. But Rodgers believes that Sunday’s FA Cup fourth round defeat to League 1 side Oldham illustrates the lack of strength in depth in his squad.
“It was another marker in the fact that we want to develop and improve the group, and that's something that I'm sure we'll do over the coming windows,” he said, according to Liverpool’s official Web site.
"There's no number on it but we'll see what we can do before Thursday. If we don't get everything done that we would want—which we won't do, that's the reality—I have always said that it's going to take a few windows for us to get the squad competitive.
"If we can add another player, if not more, then great. If not, we'll look in the summer to keep the building process going."
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One player who is widely expected to join the club in the coming days is Internazionale’s Philippe Coutinho. Rodgers confirmed there had been negotiations, but that no deal had yet been struck.
"There has been talk between the clubs but that is about it,” he explained. “There's nothing to report."
Inter president Massimo Moratti suggested that a transfer would be good for all concerned.
“The deal for Coutinho to Liverpool is an opportunity both for Inter and for the player,” he told Sky Italia.
"We could be happy with the economic proposal and Coutinho could find the space he hasn't here. And then we'll have the opportunity to reinforce the team."
A deal for Coutinho could well put an end to Liverpool’s interest in Tom Ince. The Blackpool winger was thought to have been close to a return to Anfield earlier in January, but the two clubs were unable to agree a fee.
The 20-year-old has since reportedly attracted the interest of Swansea. The Daily Mirror now reports that Reading are planning an £8 million bid for the player who left Liverpool for just £250,000 in the summer of 2011.
With Rodgers’s realization that he will not get all his business done in January, the Liverpool boss may already be making plans for the summer. According to the Daily Mirror, Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke may feature prominently in Rodgers’s ideas.
The tabloid’s story claims that Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool are all planning a move for the 22-year-old at the end of the season. Benteke has scored 11 goals in 25 games for Villa since his £7.5 million move from Genk last summer.
There may yet be some movement out of the club this month.
Sebastian Coates enjoyed, or perhaps endured, a rare start for Liverpool against Oldham, but Rodgers has again reiterated his view that the Uruguayan defender may be best served by a loan move.
“We haven't had any approaches,” he said. “There's obviously lots of speculation and lots of rumors but so far we haven't had anything through from any club.
"I have said in the last couple of weeks that he is a player who I believe needs games and needs to go and play but obviously, I need to protect the club as well in relation to the size of the group.”