Why Liverpool opt for potential over pedigree
Don't expect Reds to splash out cash from Suarez sale on blockbuster signings
Liverpool have lost their superstar but, instead of investing in a like-for-like replacement, they've opted to spread their resources across a range of new players.
Luis Suarez is gone. His goals are just memories.
And some Reds' fans are a little concerned. And they have every right to be concerned.
When Gareth Bale left Tottenham for Real Madrid last year, the proceeds were spent on seven new players.
At the time, one excitable observer commented that Spurs had "sold Elvis and signed The Beatles".
As it transpired, they didn't even get "One Direction".
Roberto Soldado barely scored, Erik Lamela barely played and only Christian Eriksen ever displayed the kind of form that justified the investment.
Now Liverpool supporters fear that they may be going the same way with the signings of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Emre Can and Lazar Markovic.
But there are reasons for the strategy, and they're not without merit.
While it is frustrating to see Chelsea splashing out on proven quality like Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, the London side are in a very different position.
Chelsea are already geared up for the challenge of a war on two fronts, at home and in Europe. They just need to be tweaked.
Liverpool are in transition. They need to be rapidly expanded.
It's one thing to lead a thin squad into a title race unhindered by overseas travel, but it's entirely another to use that same squad for two or three games a week all season while racking up the air miles.
Liverpool's priority was always going to be boosting numbers and quality.
The Reds' owners, the Fenway Sports Group, are also followers of the "moneyball" principle that preaches investment into under-developed young players to squeeze maximum value from the transfer market.
No matter how much money they received for Suarez, they were always going to be ideologically opposed to the idea of hurling enormous sums out for established footballers at the peak of their careers.
Signing players over the age of 27 on four-year contracts gives limited resale value.
With someone like Lambert, who turns 33 next February, it's less of a concern because the transfer fee is so low.
There is also the question of integration. Tottenham gave a flawless demonstration of the difficulties of blending seven new players from seven different backgrounds, all of them foreign, into an existing team.
Liverpool, by buying youngsters such as Markovic and Can, will hope to bypass those issues by allowing the players time to settle.
Instead of throwing them into the first team immediately, as Spurs did with Soldado and Co, Brendan Rodgers can hold them back and let them adjust to their new homes.
After all, Markovic and Can are still only 20.
Lallana, 26 years old and now an England squad regular, shouldn't have too many problems in settling into life at Melwood and so the £25 million ($53m) seems a safe investment.
Finally, there is the grand plan.
Rodgers is not interested in creating something flimsy and transient.
He wants young, malleable players that he can sculpt into shape.
He wants a progression of footballers, from youth to senior, who can all play intricate football at speed.
Markovic and Can have shown great potential, but Rodgers believes that he can make them even better.
This is dynastic management. At least, that's the ambition.
Liverpool's most pressing problem this season will not be their recruitment policy, it will be their expectations.
Rodgers' side came so close to the title last May and it is only natural for their supporters to want to take one step further this season.
But they are no longer a surprise package, they no longer have Suarez and they are no longer blessed with a light fixture list.
It is entirely possible that they will take a step backwards this season.
And, if that happens, everyone will need to keep his head.
REDS' NEW BUYS
Age: 20 Position: FW Previous club: Benfica Transfer fee: £20m ($43m)
Iain Macintosh's take: Quick forward who can play centrally or out wide. Made his debut for Serbia at the age of 18.
Age: 20 Position: MF Previous club: Bayer Leverkusen Transfer fee: £9.8m
Iain Macintosh's take: Gifted, technically excellent midfielder who has represented Germany at all youth levels.
Age: 26 Position: MF Previous club: Southampton Transfer fee: £25m
Iain Macintosh's take: Energetic and versatile midfielder who can play anywhere between the defence and the front line.
Age: 32 Position: FW Previous club: Southampton Transfer fee: £4m
Iain Macintosh's take: Powerful striker who offers a "Plan B". Started pre-season a week ahead of schedule.
I went to Partizan and won the title. I went to Benfica and won the title. Now I have joined Liverpool and want to win the title, 100 per cent.
— Liverpool’s latest signing, Serbian winger Lazar Markovic
Rolls-Reus for Pool?
CAN YOU HEAR ME? Marco Reus is said to be keen on a move away from Borussia Dortmund
Is he the marquee signing Liverpool are looking for?
According to reports in the UK, the Reds are considering a £44 million ($93.6m) bid for Borussia Dortmund star Marco Reus.
Reus, 25, missed out on Germany's World Cup-winning campaign after getting injured in one of the warm-up games but is expected to return to full fitness very soon.
The German midfielder is said to be keen on a move away from Dortmund and thought he was heading to Barcelona this summer.
However, the Catalan club preferred to splash £75m on Luis Suarez instead, leaving Reus waiting in the lurch.
Reus would not be a like-for-like replacement for Suarez but it seems like he would complement Daniel Sturridge and his flexibility to play centrally or out wide would suit Liverpool's free-flowing formation.
He has scored 42 goals in 90 games for Dortmund over the last two seasons, has experience of playing in the Champions League and his dynamic play would fit in with the likes of Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho at Anfield.
Liverpool are also linked to Swansea striker Wilfried Bony, but Swans chairman Huw Jenkins wants more than his £19m valuation.
Brendan Rodgers sees the Ivory Coast hitman as the ideal striker to fill Suarez's boots, but he faces a huge fight with his old club.
Hard-bargaining Jenkins is fuming that Bony's advisers have been working on the transfer - and is in no mood to give in.
Kop sources reveal that Rodgers is pushing hard for prolific Bony but there were already dissenting voices about the price.
Liverpool will not go higher and are looking at alternatives like Southampton's Jay Rodriguez.
Meanwhile, Sturridge believes that Suarez's exit will pave the way for the next Anfield "star" to emerge.
Despite questions about how Liverpool plan to replace a player who scored 31 goals in 33 Premier League games last season, Sturridge is confident that Rodgers' side will cope.
"People have to step up," Sturridge told Jamaica's Nationwide Radio. "When stars leave, a new star can be born, as they say.
"There are a lot of players that can take that mantle, but it is a team game, regardless of whether there are star players within that team. It's not about one person, it's about the team."
- Wire Services.