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Five players for Liverpool to target in summer spending spree

Liverpool, odds-on 1/6 favourites with Coral to end a 24-year wait for a top-flight title, will give boss Brendan Rodgers substantial summer transfer funds to land top targets, now the club have qualified for the Champions League.

On the cusp of a first-ever Premier League title, Reds managing director Ian Ayre is prepared to invest heavily to ensure the Anfield outfit builds on that success. “It will cost what it costs when we decide who the manager wants to buy,” he said.

Rodgers has something of a mixed record with signings. The likes of Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho have been revelations under his aegis, but a number of other names have failed to settle or make an impression on Merseyside.

Coral looks at five players that could now be attracted to Liverpool, by the promise of Europe’s elite club competition and a potential Premier League title defence.

Ashley Cole
What better way to strengthen the problem position of left back than by signing a player who has won Premier League titles with both Arsenal and Chelsea, not to mention European competitions at the Blues?

Jose Mourinho has used England centurion Cole, 33, sparingly in recent months, but his outing in the Champions League semi-final first leg against Atletico Madrid showed that his powers have not diminished yet.

Cole is out of contract at Stamford Bridge this summer, and there looks little chance of a last minute deal, to keep him on, being tabled by Chelsea. Offering him a two-year deal would be a short-term solution that Rodgers should consider.

Kyriakos Papadopoulos
Schalke’s Greek centre half is stepping up his recovery from a nightmare knee injury and Liverpool were certainly interested in him last summer. Rodgers may go to the well again.

Defence is certainly an area at Anfield in need of strengthening – a point illustrated by the fact the Reds’ most recent opponents Norwich have kept more Premier League clean sheets than them.

If Rodgers want to transfer Liverpool from European absentees to a major force in elite continental competition, then he must add talent like Papadopoulos to the heart of his rear-guard.

Ross Barkley
One player Reds fans are surely eyeing enviously from across Stanley Park is this Everton star. Barkley, who was thrust into the limelight by Roberto Martinez, has flourished in advanced midfield role.

What level of European football next season will be the reward for his guile and endeavour during the current campaign though? The Toffees trail Arsenal in the race for fourth place, despite defeating the Gunners and Manchester United at Goodison Park.

A Europa League adventure is definitely on the card for Barkley if he stays at Everton, but Liverpool can offer him Champions League action instead. Should Rodgers land him, he would create healthy competition in midfield.

Yevhen Konoplyanka
It seems a moot point now, but the only failing at Anfield this season has been in the transfer market. Chelsea reportedly beat Rodgers’ Reds to Willian and Mohamed Salah, but the same hardly looks likely to occur again this summer.

Liverpool will not be discouraged by how fellow Ukrainians Andriy Shevchenko and Andriy Voronin have flopped in the Premier League as they pursue that country’s latest star Konoplyanka.

Announcing himself at elite level by scoring a Wembley screamer on international duty during World Cup qualifying, the Reds saw a last ditch bid to buy him in January fall through. Rodgers should renew efforts to land this winger who, like Coutinho and Raheem Sterling, can also be dangerous in central areas.

Mattia Destro
Liverpool would look even stronger if they had some backup to their SAS strike partnership of Sturridge and Luis Suarez. Destro is delivering at current club Roma, firing his side back into the Champions League for next term.

Italian footballers have hardly been successful at Anfield in recent years. Midfielder Alberto Aquilani flopped because of homesickness, while Rodgers sent faithful retainer Fabio Borini for a season of development on loan at struggling Sunderland.

The Reds are due to buy an Azzurri international that will bolster their attacking options. Rodgers will be competing on more fronts in 2014/15, so a larger squad of credible candidates is essential. Liverpool are 5/1 for next season’s Premier League title.